You are currently viewing Success Lessons From The 2007 Rugby Union World Cup – Part 1

Success Lessons From The 2007 Rugby Union World Cup – Part 1

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There are few if any new success lessons. But we may well need reminding of the ones we already know. A good way to remind ourselves is to see these success laws applied in different environments. One exciting environment is sport.

Like most sports, rugby teaches useful success and goal achieving lessons which apply both to rugby and to life in general. Both men and women now play rugby and the popularity of the game is increasing world wide.

The rugby union world cup started in France, the host country, with a shock result on Friday Sept 7th 2007.

France, one of the favourites to win the world cup, were beaten, on their home ground, by Argentina. Argentina scored the only try of the match. My step brother, who always has something witty to say, commented:

“Don’t score a try for me, Argentina!”

It was the first try of the world cup.

If France get through their first phase games by coming only second in their group, they will have to face the powerful All Blacks in the quarter finals and might be out of the competition well before the final.

France probably lost against Argentina because they were trying too hard in front of a critical Parisian crowd and made too many mistakes.

Nervousness and lack of confidence often lead to mistakes. The referee also came in for some blame from the losing side as one might expect!

Any one who wants to achieve success needs to show confidence or at least pretend to be confident even when under the gaze of a critical audience. They also need to stop blaming others and to take responsibility for their own progress.

The English World Champions played the USA on Saturday 8th September at Lens in France.

Clive Ashton and ‘raging bull’ Phil Vickery, the captain, laid a wreath at British war graves on the way there. This would give the team a sense of perspective.

Most of our goals are not matters of life or death and should not be taken too seriously at the expense of higher values.

Ashton gave his team a pep talk telling them to expect to win the world cup and not just to be content with coming third even if their fans thought that was a good result.

“The only expectation I can have when we come to a world cup tournament is to win it. What’s the point in wanting to finish bl***** third because the rest of the country think that’s pretty good from where England are. Who gives a monkey’s!”

Jim Rosenthal, the commentator, asked him if he really believed England could win the cup again:

“I do believe it but it’s even more important though that the players believe it. I don’t cross that white line; I don’t go onto the field. They do and they’ve got to take that belief with them into the tournament.

“My sense is that they are starting now to operate in that way. The players have worked exceptionally hard and we are now prepared to give everything we’ve got for our country and this tournament.”

Again and again in every sport and human activity the importance of belief and the expectation of victory is stressed. Without some belief, we won’t start any project and won’t try to win any game.

Denis Waitley has described belief as an ignition switch:

“If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won’t, you most assuredly won’t. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.”

Belief can come through taking small steps and succeeding and then moving on to bigger things. It can also come through affirmations. Claude M. Bristol (1891-1951) the author of ‘The Magic Of Believing’ wrote:

“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”

Jim asked Martin Johnson, England’s world cup winning captain: ” Do you deep down believe England can go all the way again?

“We don’t really know till they play a game. If they win that South Africa game confidence will build up. They have to play and prove it to themselves that they are playing at a higher level.

“We can win against South Africa and then we can go on from there. I wouldn’t worry right now about retaining this trophy. I’d worry about Saturday and then the following Friday.”

Martin’s belief is pragmatic and based on previous results. It is probably more reliable than belief based mainly on pride and the desire to win. One of the England coaches said later that the only way to gain confidence is to win.

Jonny Wilkinson, another English legend, was interviewed before the team left for France. He was asked what tips he had for kids:

Working as a team has value both for sport and life as well.

Try and improve daily even if it is not in rugby

Write down your goals. There is much evidence that actually writing out your goals daily even if they are the same goals makes it more likely that they will be achieved.

Get excited about the things you can do well. Excitement and enthusiasm get things done.

Have high expectations but realise that others may have the same expectations as you.

Jonny was asked what his expectations for the tournament were:

“We can beat any one if we play at our best but we know that there at least ten other teams that can say the same thing.”

England did win against the USA but not easily. The American team put up a tough fight as you would expect. The final score was UK 28 USA 10.

England were criticised for a lack lustre performance. Some of the English team ignored the criticism by not reading the papers; others used the criticism as motivation and couldn’t wait to ram the words down the throats of their critics.

It is usually far more effective to encourage rather than to criticize.

Jason Robinson, another English legend, commented:

“Encouragement is like oxygen to the soul. Unfortunately, too many people are looking to us to fail. We are not here to get second place.”

England had the points but the USA had the pride. The England team were disappointed. The coach told them they had won but had things to work on.

Martin Johnson believed that England had made far too many mistakes.

The former cup winning South African commentator, Francois Pienaar, said:

“England should be fitter and stronger and show more urgency. Execution should have been better. If South Africa should play like that tomorrow, I should be very disappointed.

“Where’s that urgency around the rucks and the mauls. When there is an opportunity did they take it? It comes down to the urgency again.”

After only a few games of the world cup several success lessons emerge:

Nervousness and lack of confidence in front of a critical audience can lead to mistakes both in sport and in ordinary life. It is important to be confident or, at least, to pretend to be confident!
Stop blaming other people, like referees, and take responsibility for your own progress.

Many goals are not matters of life or death and should not be taken too seriously at the expense of higher values.

Have high expectations whatever other people think. Don’t accept the limitations that they place on you.
Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad and into action.

The repetition of affirmations can lead to belief. Once belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.

Successful results lead to greater confidence. Some argue that the only way to gain confidence is to win.

Write down your goals. There is much evidence that actually writing out your goals daily even if they are the same goals makes it more likely that they will be achieved.

Use criticism to motivate yourself to try harder

Encourage yourself and others since encouragement is like oxygen to the soul.

Show more urgency if you want to succeed. Don’t hang around waiting for something to happen or for someone else to make it happen. Take speedy action yourself to make things happen.

Mike Litman has noticed that successful people act from a sense of urgency:

“There’s an URGENCY to accomplish tasks. There’s an URGENCY to live their dreams. There’s an URGENCY to get things done. They’re ATTACKING vs. WAITING. Big difference. Huge difference. None of us are going to live ’till 150 years old.”

We all need to get moving now before we no longer can. We need to act today rather than tomorrow! This key success principle is summed up by the well known words: Carpe Diem! Seize the Day!

There are very few new success principles; we just need to keep reminding ourselves of what they are.

Above all, we need to do what the principles suggest every single day.

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Source by John Watson

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