10 seconds left on the clock. It’s 34–34. This last play could make or break it, but here we go…
On a lazy Sunday afternoon, I watched a live rugby game on TV. I’m no jock, but it fascinated me; I’ve never seen a sport where the players were so hot on not giving up, sharing the load, trusting their teammates and persevering. Each new play carried with it the excitement of the next game-changing event. It reminded me of what psychologist B.F. Skinner said:
“A failure is not always a mistake. It may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.”
As new foliage begins to sprout from nowhere and the skies start to yield more sun, spring feels like an opportunity to start again. Just like in the last few seconds of a Rugby match, it’s never too late to turn the game around. No matter how many times we fail, a new play, a new game, a new season will come again—and that’s how we eventually win. So as I watched that game on TV, though seemingly aloof, my mind was racing to figure out what it was about rugby that I could apply to my life, to step up my game wherever I go. Here’s what I discovered:
The Few that Persevere are the Winners
I had a door-to-door sales gig in college. It was a daily ordeal, cold-calling people and getting awkward stares. Though I met some awesome people, rejection after rejection got to me after a while. In those moments when I just wanted to drop my suncatchers and go for a coffee, I tried to reinvigorate myself and keep going. The next sale was just around the corner, I told myself.
It turns out everyone experiences this phenomenon in some way. Research shows that 8% of salespeople make 80% of the sales solely because of their tenacity. When everyone else quits after a certain number of rejections, the few who are willing to keep going eventually break through and reap the benefits.
What “sale” is right around the corner for you? Think of every attempt you make not as a string of failures but a step closer to the win!
Why Do You Want to Win?
Doesn’t our motivation soar when we feel that what we’re doing is actually important? Father Moon teaches that love is the most powerful motivation of all. In door-to-door sales, I found that I could keep going if my motivation was to give. Father Moon explained this when he said:
“The most important thing to remember is that what counts is your motive… to see something from God’s motive… the unselfish motive, is good. Whether it is eating, sleeping, working, earning, doing or speaking, in everything, what counts is your motive.”
Try to get to the bottom of why you do what you do. Look at your to-do list, particularly items you’ve been putting off. Even if it’s as simple as doing the laundry, try to internalize your reason for doing it, and see how that changes your productivity.
Even if You Don’t Win, Keep Going
Mohammad, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. were well known for their perseverance and conviction. What’s more, they never wanted their efforts and ideals to simply end with them; they wanted to pass on their mission so it could be completed. I take that to mean that no matter what stage in life I’m at, it’s never too late to achieve something—dreams can continue to grow, and if I can’t finish it, I can pass it on.
The Bible recognizes us as connected in this way. Biblical figures like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus tirelessly worked toward bringing humanity back to God, and if they couldn’t fulfill their part, they passed the baton on to the next person God had prepared. To me, that shows how God has always believed it’s never too late to change something even as big as the world.
If life were a giant game of rugby, we’d have the choice to watch the game, or change the game. What’s your choice?