In my last post, I wrote about Evgeni Plushenko and his comeback. When his wife Yana Rudkovskaya was asked about his comeback plans, she gave a clear answer: “I understood that he really missed the life of a competitor”.
That’s something I read a lot in interviews with some of the biggest stars in sports. Competing with others seems to be the major motivation for nearly all of the extremely successful sportsmen and sportswomen. But it’s not a pure sports phenomenon.
A shiny character known for both his success in business and his passion for sports is Mark Cuban. Self-made billionaire and owner of NBA team Dallas Mavericks, he polarizes as he is never afraid to fight for his views.
In his blog “Blog Maverick“, Mark posted a remarkable entry about competing in business. It’s a showcase for his extreme passion, but it could also serve as an explanation for why a blog that links sports and business like the one you’re reading right now makes sense.
Quote: “But no matter how much I love to play the game or how involved and competitive I get during a Mavs game, it’s only a minor release. Real competition comes from the sport of business. (…) The sport of business isn’t divided into games. It’s not defined by practices. It doesn’t have set rules that everyone plays by (…) The sport of business is the ultimate competition. It’s 7×24×365xforever.”
I agree that the world of business is very challenging as the processes and rules are less defined than in most sports, which makes it more complex and probably more difficult to master. But no matter how complex and sometimes blurry it is: Like in sports, you always know if you win or lose. That’s where motivation comes from: Try to be better than others. Try to improve.
I admit that’s a lot of Alpha stuff, and it misses out on a factor that makes sports so great and that can make business great for all of us as well: Playfulness.
Playing is a way of trying new things. Of taking risks. Of being positive. Of being creative.
All of the above may result in differentiating you from your competition, in giving you a competitive edge, in winning.
Mark Cuban does exactly this, too. Being an angel investor he places bets on companies, concepts, ideas and the people behind. He knows that not all of them will become winners. But some may. And these will give him the thrill he talked about when calling business the ultimate competition.
Business is serious. But if you take it too serious, you have already lost your personal game, as at a certain points someone else will outplay you with creativity and chutzpa.
Do all you can to win, but also accept it when you lose. Learn from it. Get up and try again. Play again.