The 5 Characters That Succeed And Don’t Succeed In Sports (& Life)

People who know me well know that I am very fascinated with sports. I love playing even in my busy schedule and I always take time to play cricket and other sports with the local kids around. Cricket is a sport I loved playing growing up for hours and hours, and I especially love the technical part of the game. I believe sport is a fairly close representation of life with a lot of similar elements such as luck, knowledge, execution, technique, hard-work, natural talent, courage, and adaptability playing their parts in success and failure.  Therefore, I especially love taking life lessons from the sporting world.

In this post, we would particularly learn the common character traits that succeed a lot in sports and how we can apply those same learnings in our regular lives.

I’ve been watching cricket since almost the nineties and I can proudly say that I know the game fairly well technically to understand the game beyond the obvious. So, basis a lot of observation, in no specific order, I’ve found that there are five main types of players who succeed in cricket a lot (and probably in life too), and they are:

  1. The Technically Strong (Sachin Tendulkar, Shane Warne, Wasim Akram)
  2. The Extra Hard-working – Players who work within their limitations (Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Joe Root)
  3. The Mentally Strong & Sorted (Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Sangakkara)
  4. The Courageous & Bold (Ben Stokes, Yuvraj Singh, Andrew Flintoff)
  5. The Adaptable (Shahid Afridi, Jacque Kallis, Stuart Broad)

When you look at the above list, the one common thing that they all have is they produce consistent results and they all work hard. But, in order to produce consistent results, they each rely on their core trait – the technically strong rely on their technique, some players rely on working hard within their limitations, the others rely on mental strength, and some others rely on courage and adaptability. Almost all of them will be working very hard, but the core trait is what they really rely on from deep inside. There will be overlaps among personality types, for example, the ‘courageous and bold’ will also be mentally strong and the ‘technically strong’ will also be working very hard. Similarly, the ‘Extra Hard-working’ will be adaptable too. It is not about the commonality, it is about that unique close dependable virtue in you that defines the ‘core’ you. We should all identify that core trait in us and use it to our strength in life.

The personality types that usually make to the team but don’t make the above list of successful players are:

  1. The Temporary Innovator – players who are being talked about for their novelty or quick success for a while but then dwindle out.
  2. The Quick Talent – these are players who show a high technical prowess when they start as a player but lose out at the big stage.
  3. The Bad Selection – these are players who shouldn’t have been selected in the first place, but they got selected because of the bad selection process. They come in, they don’t perform well and they go out fairly quickly and never come back.
  4. The Inconsistent & Feeble – these are players who play well once in a while but their inconsistency will eventually be penalized.
  5. The Indisciplined – the player who had it in him, but just couldn’t hold it together because of his lack of discipline.

The common thing among all of the above personality types that don’t make the list is inconsistent results. So, results always matter a lot. When players don’t deliver results, the usual thing to do is to inspect the technique and whether the circumstances in which they couldn’t deliver the result was extra-ordinary or something usual. Because when a player has a good technique they will eventually deliver results. But, even if a player with a good technique is not delivering results then the player will be removed from the team. Similarly, in life, we tend to judge the situation in which the person couldn’t deliver the results – is it an extreme situation or something usual where the person should have delivered?

Three Life Lessons

  1. Gain critical knowledge and understand the critical level of performance in your domain. In most sports, experts and ex-players almost unanimously agree to what is a tough ball or a tough shot to play. The judgment of whether a  situation is very tough or it is something that the player should’ve delivered in is very unanimous among people who know the game well. Similarly, in regular lives too, almost all fields have a similar way of judgment. People who work in a field, experts, and colleagues have a similar knowledge where they all agree if the situation is challenging or not in order to rate a particular performance. We should always understand what is this critical level of performance and always ensure that the performance is minimum at that critical level consistently.
  2. Deliver Results Consistently (Move Forward Consistently). Results matter a lot more than intention and circumstances. Intentions matter, but even with a strong technique and intention if a person cannot get results, it is difficult for things to continue. Intention and circumstances can be taken into consideration for a lack of performance, but not for a long time. Results are so important because results are the closest quantification to moving forward. Results are the closest proof to our commitment. When there are no results, there is no moving forward. The pressure of not moving forward will eventually catchup.
  3. Hard-work is a given, understand your core-trait. All the above five successful sportsmen characters work very hard, but at the same time, they all are aware of their core-trait that builds their energy from inside. One should be aware of their own core-trait and work around it and build on it.

Hope this is useful.

Thank you.