What we can learn from the West Indies Cricket Team

A nail-biting last over towards a well-deserved win for the West Indies.

If you all caught yesterday’s T20 finals, you definitely witnessed something spectacular. Nobody expected the game to turn around that quickly with West Indies taking the trophy home.

By now, you also know the other side of the story. And you also know that this game was a lot more than cricket.

As I watched the game, I had no clue as to what the West Indians were going through. Most of us as cricket fans were aware that they had a tough journey, but we really couldn’t fathom how tough it was.

Darren Sammy, the captain, then took the mic and educated all of us. In his own words: “We started this journey … we all know we had … people were wondering whether we would play this tournament. We had a lot of issues, we felt disrespected by our board, Mark Nicholas described our team as a team with no brains. We had a new manager in this tournament in Rawl Lewis, he had never managed any team before. He came here, we were at a camp in Dubai, but we had no uniforms, no printed … he left Dubai, went to Kolkata, that’s where he started. The trouble he went to, to get us in this uniform …”

None of the other teams that reached the final stages faced any of these challenges. Yet, what we witnessed was a team that despite all the odds, found their way to the mantle. In theory, this doesn’t make sense.

When you have world-class players taking the stage, how is it possible that the one with the most difficulties and challenges won the tournament?

That’s an interesting question. It suddenly makes one wonder if it takes more than ‘talent’ to make it. This is not to say that the team is not talented; of course they are. But they’d already started on the backfoot long before the tournament, and yet we witnessed something else.

So that begs a different question…what if the difficulties they faced were actually a good thing? What if that was the trigger that brought the team together?

So many of us facing challenges get stuck in a rut and ask ourselves, ‘why me?’. We tend to fall in the victim mindset and feel  sorry for ourselves. And as life progresses, it seems like things aren’t getting better. If no one else around us is facing similar issues, we start feeling worse!

Let me give you a thought to chew on, though:

The problem isn’t the problem.

It’s not the difficulty you should be concerned about, it’s you that you need work on. How do you look at the issues you are facing? Do you look at it as a challenge worth beating or something that could bog you down? All that matters in the difficulty you face is this: How do you look at it?

That is everything, and the West Indies showed us that.

They didn’t get bogged down. They looked at it as a game where they had a point to prove. They looked at it as something worth fighting for. And maybe, just maybe, they have another not-so-obvious secret. Have you ever noticed that they seem to have fun in everything they do? Did you notice them dancing through all their wins? They didn’t stop themselves from having fun. The challenges they faced had no relationship to them having a good time! In Darren Sammy’s words, “It’s the challenges that brought the team together.”

If you follow the game, Darren Sammy always has a smile on his face. DJ Bravo made a song called ‘Champion’ long before they were champions. Looking back, that wasn’t just a fun song. It was something they were clearly thinking about all the time.

Now, what about you? How do you look at your challenges? Are you excited about beating them? Are you having fun along the way, despite all the difficulties you might be facing?

It’s never the problems you come across. It’s just about you. How you think about the issues you face is all that counts.

While the media is focused on the hardships that Darren Sammy outlined, there’s something that many of us may have missed in the post-match interview. It’s such a simple statement, but one that is profound as we look at the win.

The interviewer’s question: “Did you ever stop believing that you were going to win?”

Sammy’s response?

“Not at all”.


 

By Nishith Shah

Nishith Shah is an NLP Trainer and the founder of Thought Labs. He creates innovative experiential NLP based programs to help individuals and organizations achieve breakthrough results.

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