I watched a game of football on Tuesday 21 January. It was between my beloved Chelsea Football Club, and London rivals, supported by many people I love, Arsenal. Why those people that matter to me go against me to support another team, especially Arsenal, I will never know. But it is what it is, and we are where we are.
The game ended 2-2. Chelsea played with one man more for a huge part of the game. They scored first, got pegged back, then scored again, and were pegged back yet again. It showed spirit and guile from the Arsenal team; battling a team away from home with 10 men and salvaging a draw.
Great spirit, you’d say.
Arsenal is a massive club in English football. They have won many titles in the last 25 years. They are a top six team in England. Today they occupy 10th place in the log.
Many praised the spirit the players displayed. I admired it too. But….was that feat worthy of the weight of the accolades they got? Former players, commentators, pundits all made it seem like Arsenal not only won the game, but perhaps won a major title. It was a draw.
Talk now centred on ‘this is what we need’, ‘this team has spirit’, ‘greatness is on its way back’.
I don’t doubt this. And I don’t question the belief these folks have in their team.
But I ask – should we settle for second best in life? Should we over-celebrate one minor achievement to a point of giving false confidence that we are the real deal?
In life, we must aspire to the highest possible. And until we get there, we must play down the minor steps we take on the way until we achieve our goals. We can be buoyed by our minor exploits, but we must keep our eye on the big prize. We want greatness. Nothing else will do.
In a game we start on even footing, our aim must be to win. Every one of life’s challenges must be seen as a football game that starts on even footing. Our aim to succeed is likened to the desire to win the match. If we stumble along the way and manage to get half of what we aimed to achieve, we take stock and we do not over-elaborate our 50% achievement. If we can have done better, we need to focus on what we did that could have been better.
There is a lot of good in us as people. But we have to embrace goodness, positivity and a determination to be as near to perfect as can be.