“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” These words were spoken by Pele, arguably the greatest footballer of all time. Pele grew up in poverty in Sao Paulo in Brazil but his natural footballing talent brought him to the attention of local clubs. By the age of 15 he had signed for top Brazilian side Santos and within a year had established himself as a first team regular. In 1958, aged 17, he was chosen for the Brazilian World Cup squad to play in Sweden. During the tournament he scored 6 times, including twice in the final, as Brazil went on to win the trophy. He was part of the Brazilian team which went on to win the World Cup again in 1962 and 1970, playing a starring role throughout, and went on to play for his country 92 times, scoring 77 goals. His club record was equally impressive, playing for Santos 638 times and scoring 619 goals before he eventually finished his playing career with the New York Cosmos.
It is a staggering record yet it is interesting that a player such as Pele should make a statement like this about hard work. On the surface he had it all - tremendous skill, athleticism, vision, balance, temperament, control - everything that a top player needs. What Pele realized, however, was that no matter how great a player he was and what talents he had been blessed with, he still needed to work hard to be the best that he could be. This is the same for life. We may be blessed with numerous talents but unless we work hard and use them then they will be wasted. Anyone who wants to achieve something must work hard, whether it be in sport, business or any other aspect of life.
Think of the most successful person you know. How do you think he or she reached the position they are in? Whether that person is a sports star, musician, chess grandmaster, businessman, scientist or whatever else you may think of, they will only have reached that position after many years of hard work. Scientific research has shown that even the most accomplished person requires at least 10 years minimum of solid deliberate practice at whatever they do to become ‘world-class’. (Source: CNN Money website: What it takes to be great) Does that sound daunting? Probably - but every journey starts with a single step and we can only focus on one day at a time. So whatever it is you want to excel in, whether it be football, cricket or anything else, focus on what you need to do to improve. Whatever areas you are strong in, keep practicing and get even better. Whatever areas you are weak in, keep practicing so that they no longer are your weak areas. The more you practice the better you will get and after a few weeks you will see great improvements. After a few months or years have passed you will not be able to recognize your performance! The great inventor Thomas Edison said “The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” It is a lesson worth remembering.