Just as in business, success in sports comes to those who are passionate; people who just “have it in their genes”. It is passion which allows one to refuse to surrender to the destructive power of emotions and yet at the same time gain strength from those same emotions. It is passion which reduces the fear of taking responsibility for making the wrong decision. On the field, the mat, the courts, just like on the market, success often is dependent on fractions of seconds and In such a short time moderated experienced instinct, which is something that can’t be learned, is the most important factor.
The New Year’s celebrations are behind us, and along with that passing we again reflect on how fast the time has gone by. Used to the fast-paced life we take a moment to pause and come to terms with the fact that another year has in fact gone by, and we have new challenges and changes coming our way. These changes are not painful, only our resistance to change is painful; a resistance which is the result of fear. But bravery is not the lack of fear but the ability to move past it. Driven by our reflections we seek new ways to improve ourselves, and in turn these give birth to New Year’s resolutions. We either take up these resolutions ourselves, or they are taken up by those closest to us; our friends and acquaintances. During conversations, it is not uncommon for the topics of a: new diet, exercise, new personal trainers, workout routines, new possibilities and opportunities, and the need to help others, to come up. On this occasion, we involuntarily pay attention to how others deal with the passage of time in a professional capacity, such as athletes. Every victory gained by a professional athlete in each sport is, in fact, a victory over themselves, and a result of extremely hard work in some very defined conditions. To keep these conditions constant, a huge amount of money is devoted to the practice of a given sport. So huge in fact, that malicious individuals routinely ask: is it still a sport or has this become a business? But is this difference really so important? Maybe only for those who see both activities only on the surface.
Just as in business, success in sports comes to those who are passionate; people who just “have it in their genes”. It is passion which allows one to refuse to surrender to the destructive power of emotions and yet at the same time gain strength from those same emotions. It is passion which reduces the fear of taking responsibility for making the wrong decision. On the field, the mat, the courts, just like on the market, success often is dependent on fractions of seconds. and In such a short time moderated experienced instinct, which is something that can’t be learned, is the most important factor. This of course is not the only factor which brings sport and business closer together. Athletes are aware of the variability of chance; that their passion cannot last forever.
So, at what moment do they start to concentrate on business, and is business ever just making money for an enthusiast?
Passion and ambition don’t just appear out of thin air. Just as with bravery and the mature handling of a victory, the ability to manage time, plan ahead, and accomplish goals, are the results of knowing human nature. Most of all knowing your own, but also that of the other competitors – equally knowing your own and those of the opposing team. Training allows us to not only learn about ourselves, but also about life itself. When we know the rules of the game, then our own personal victories and failures do not matter as much. This is the source of empathy; a great gift which is sometimes di cult to bare because an awareness of the surrounding world and its unending problems comes with greater sensitivity. This gift though, has an interesting quality from society’s perspective, in that it brings people together and builds an air of authority. Professional athletes know they can use their image to help others better than anyone else, and therefore once they achieve a certain level in the business end of things which is meant to secure their future.
They are quite willing to engage in charity events. The world is full of charity organisations which have the support of various sports stars. It is assumed that most are based in the United States. Every successful athlete starts a charity organisation or donates to a foundation of some sort. It is that way for years now, and that is why human consciousness is dominated by the prevalent view that everyone who has achieved success should help those less fortunate, and if they themselves have been through tough times it should be an even greater motivator for them to help those in need. Analysing the contribution of athletes to various charities, one can even risk assuming that some first must concentrate on sports to be businessmen, which will, in turn, help them understand certain things more clearly. Corporate social responsibility, by definition, is to conduct business in such a manner which considers both social interests and environmental protection. If we consider the fact that money contributed to charitable causes is tax deductible, we can see that the government is doing its own part in supporting these causes by helping those who are best suited for the role contribute. By interacting daily with the market, we impact the lives of every individual, always feeling a part of society from which we reap our benefits and with which we wish to share that which we value: organisational culture, commitment, knowledge, and experience. Do we believe that by working together with open minds and pure hearts we can accomplish more? No, we simply know this. This is why charity work is never a refined marketing strategy.
The donor does not only give assets, but also positive emotions and plenty of motivation. People share with one another regardless of if they are rich businessmen or not; they share because they feel a need to, even though sometimes they lack the resources for it.
Experience gained from working in the market, much like that gained during workouts requiring specific conditions in regards to their sport help in understanding that helping others is a series of actions which should be managed in a pre-planned business-like manner. Charity work cannot simply depend on impulsive moments of the heart. If we are creating an ecosystem for small businesses or a well- defined economic reality, we rely on specific rules and the use of financial instruments in accordance with time tested practices, as we cannot act otherwise if we wish to generate a noticeable social benefit. Helping means investing in the world and should not be mistaken for giving handouts or making yourself feel good. This is clearly seen in the fact that when there is a surplus, it is invested more sensibly. A well-organised charitable organisation is another one of life’s challenges, which should be approached in a professional manner. It is simply one of the more important projects, where talent and vision translate into measurable effects, and allow us to realize needs from the highest level of human hierarchy: respect, dignity, and self-fulfilment.
Various forms of media coverage, medals of recognition, and certificates recognising the help provided are just the tip of the iceberg, which always hides its largest portion from view. What can be seen is the fact that we think and act globally, and that we are aware of the consequences of the social inequality and disparity which exists in the world. Speaking of consequences, I am not thinking of social, political, or business implications, but rather those of humanity. Just like the well-seasoned team player on a sports team, we know that at no time are we separate from the surrounding world. As Einstein said, ”Those who have the priveldge to know have the duty to act.” Therefore, it is up to us to eliminate the various social and economic inequalities in the world. We can and should allow ourselves to do this, considering that the word “philanthropy” is roughly reminiscent of the term “fair play” and is just as much a valued norm. ■