philosophy, thoughts, & all things soccer

...for the love of the game

The Cognitive Approach

 June 2018


The Cognitive Approach

As its name implies the cognitive approach deals with mental processes like memory and problem solving. By emphasizing mental processes, it places itself in opposition to behaviorism, which largely ignores mental processes.

According to Dr. Caroline Leaf “our brain does not control us; we control our brain through our thinking and choosing”. There are many ways people learn, the most important of it all is through teaching.

Soccer/ football has invested heavily in talent and physical capabilities but neglected the brain development process as an important attribute for the long term stability of the game.

The time has come for us to be proactive as coaches in how to train our players’ brain to succeed. “The brain processes raw data to extract information about the structure of the environment” (Dr. Jocelyn Faubert). So as coaches we must create reality based training methods using age appropriate standards to be displayed in games. As a former soccer player/footballer and present coach, I believe coaches compromise the correct methodology to satisfy the parents’ perceptions which enhances their business, but neglect discipline, focus and structure to set our athletes on a successful, holistic pathway.

Many Drills But Not Game Appropriate

Often times the mannequins, the re-bounders and organized cones, seems very attractive and professional, this is good for presentation but too many times the stimulus, objectives and goals are not game related. The practice sessions must be a rehearsal for the games, for individual progression, unit application and the entire team system of play, to be implemented in a high speed and an intense environment. The brain is set up so we can make choices and find solutions. It is important coaches and leaders create situational learning for the athletes to become more independent thinkers and solution finders. Athletes must understand even though our environment and culture plays a major role in our predisposition, it is our choices that would determine our level of success. We must not fall victims to our biology or our geographical location, but rather think bigger and work harder to achieve life goals.

I challenge every coach to be more innovative with your certified knowledge, create reality based sessions that encourages creativity and independent thinkers. Understanding this fact, what you think of most; is what you often times would do.


Be intentional about success.

The people's Perceived Mind

 March 2018


THE PEOPLE’S PERCEIVED MIND

An examination of the history of football/soccer will reveal that success was not solely dependent on economic stability, intellectual superiority and development academies, but also on hard work, passion, discipline and dedication to the game. Let’s consider the case of Brazil, a country that did not play a European team until they played Mother-well of Scotland on the 24th of June 1928. Brazil smashed Mother-well 5-0, but it was no real test to define who they really were as a football nation.

The Brazilian national team struggled on the world stage, failing to get past the second round in the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay. Their performance in Italy four years later, saw them performing even worse, exiting in the first round with a loss to Spain. Brazil managed to reach the semi-final of the world cup in France in 1938.

In 1950, Brazil failed to defeat Uruguay and become world cup champions, despite having an advantage. Unlike other World Cups, the 1950 winner was determined by a final group stage, with the final four teams playing in round-robin format, instead of a knockout stage. Brazil had one point ahead of Uruguay going into the match. Uruguay needed to win but all Brazil needed was to at least hold Uruguay to a draw. They didn’t.

This near victory forced the re-thinking of strategies and approaches. Vicente Foal had a hard decision to make. He established high standards for discipline and stringent requirements on players to delivered. This was the beginning of the end of bad habits, a change in priorities and a new way of thinking about and playing football that has since earned them multiple football/soccer world cup trophies.

The present state of the game worldwide has engendered certain notions about what success looks like, dresses like, what colleges it attends and personal connections it possesses. This, unfortunately, has led to a hierarchical framework based on those attributes, as opposed to one influenced by the levels at which one’s talent and skill develops. While we have a responsibility to set high standards for our appearance, pursue higher learning and connect with like-minded people, there are other intangibles like vision, talent, passion, purpose and dedication that are essential to fashioning a successful performance environment. They are many who are blessed with the ability to attempt the phenomenal but are held back because they are not qualified based on current standards and precepts of who or what the successful coach/player should be. In other words, if they rank or are perceived to be low on the hierarchy based on the criteria of a college education, connections and/or appearance, those intangible qualities to which we earlier referred are ignored or considered inconsequential.

We have a system that caters more to perception than to reality. In most clubs there are three to four teams for every age group. The teams are ranked based on skill development. The perception is that the coach of the highest ranked team is the best coach. This is not necessarily so. Many also believe that the player playing at a developmental academy is on the pathway to the elite level and the player playing at the community club has limited or no chance of reaching the elite level. For e.g., a player’s pathway to college coupled with the program he/she plays in or what team he/she plays on is the ultimate criterion for ascension to the elite level.

They are 440,322 participants playing soccer at US high schools. Of this, 24,803 make it to the NCAA level. The NCAA is further subdivided into Divisions 1, 2 and 3. The percentage from high school to NCAA is 5.6. One point three percent of high school players make it to Division 1, 1.5% to Division 2 and 2.8 to Division 3. This leads me to conclude that despite all the resources readily available and the many development academies around, players are struggling because they lack a well-structured soccer training program at high school. This in turn affects what happens at the NCAA level, influences the professional game and ultimately the national team. This became glaringly obvious based on the latest debacle of USMNT not making the 2018 world cup finals in Russia.

The misconception has set unrealistic expectations and disillusion in the mind of both players and parents. They don’t understand the criteria and pathways that lead to long term development. Sadly, most soccer programs have lost the will to see players fulfill ambition and childhood dreams. Instead, they use their influence to pander to big business while creating less elite players, actions that will not sustain the game in long term.

Now more than ever we need to put the game in the right hands. We need coaches who are totally dedicated to not just the development of soccer but also the holistic development of the athlete as an integral stakeholder. We need coaches who will teach the game based on the criteria of excellence at all levels in order to encourage long term stability of soccer. The time has come for the soccer heads to look deeply at all levels of soccer -from grassroots to elite - and make sure well qualified coaches are working in the correct environment based on their ability - not where they came from, what schools they attended and who they connected to, but rather use their vision, passion, knowledge of the game and ability to lead as the main criteria for the job placement. The responsibility rests with the leaders of the game to ensure that coaches and players are matched with teams/positions best suited to their talent, skills and skill sets. Failure to do so limits success in the sport. For instance, putting an elite goalkeeper to play right full-back might result in his being able to do it but not being his most effective.

Finally, Soccer is a beautiful game that brings together people from different walks of life and cultures to a common place. We can all learn from this dynamic and be ready to accept change.

To whom much is given much is expected.

They are competitive too soon

January 2018

They are competitive too soon

 In the world of soccer, our young players are competitive too soon. these players are observed as starting at a greater disadvantage because they are not privy to proper developmental standards of the game. This is directly linked to elite clubs currently focusing on getting the most talented players to win and not upholding their responsibility to nurture and inspire our young athletes for the future. The necessity to focus on developmental standards for the age groups, reality base and well-structured training in a friendly environment with familiar faces to encourage creativity. this have produced more world class players in Europe and South America as opposed to winning now or driving three hours away to play on an academy team.

The community clubs have neglected their responsibility to develop the game in our young athletes. They have forgotten the shaping of a country’s culture begins with teaching. They have instead lowered the standards and catered to parents’ unrealistic and competitive drive. This approach has robbed our young players with potential by creating teams to define who is better than the other; developing arrogance and self-destruction from an early age. The young players should be allowed to stay within an environment that enhance their growth and not feel pressured by the culture of the game to do too much too soon.

The time is now to change the course of action and ask many tough questions: Why are the parents more competitive than the young players who aren’t mentally or physically ready? Do they think paying guarantees success… well ask professional teams who are spending millions and fans spending thousands and still lack success needed. What is in place for an 8, 9, 10, 11 years old young players with talent? Most parents and some clubs don’t understand it may not carry any weight at 17 and 18 years. How are the 8 to 11 age groups players selected? What are the criteria and standards? Are they picking players because they can kick the ball hard, better physical capabilities than others or technique! Who are selecting these players and are they qualified or have experience in player or child development? How do they determined which environment is best suited? These are some of the many factors that force young players away from the game, stifle the growth of soccer and the development of world class players.

The coaches must educate themselves in order to give good guidance and direction; the responsibility is placed on their shoulders to produce champions not only on soccer fields but in life. The ability of coaches to see potential and not merely talent to develop what the world would appreciate, must now be their motivation. While the coaches are a vital part of development, it’s incumbent on club administrators to foster this environment and give optimal support and respect to the process.

What or who is the answer? Understanding that this is a subjective argument and respecting all views, I believe the 8 to 11 age group players should be challenged in an enriching environment. Coaches must display impeccable knowledge of the game, passion, good leadership skills, character and integrity at these age groups. Players’ age group standard must be the bases of training (i.e. encouraging players to be more creative than reactive, creating scenarios in practices that allow knowledge and technique to be applied from cues, encourage bravery and teach principals in defense and attack in its simplest form to name a few). Young players should have a minimum of three days per week practice, play fewer tournaments that does little or in some regards nothing to soccer development. The clubs should provide extra training for players who may need it with whoever coach they feel comfortable with. I firmly believe it’s important to connect the Rec-Program to the travel program by hiring a technical director to implement knowledge base soccer programs and provide coaching education to coaches at the Rec level.

They are players, coaches, administrators and parents who love the game regardless of the pressure that comes with it. Consequently, we must display integrity and leadership in spite of the challenges we face on a daily basis because we hold the future of our young players in our hands.

Pay to play soccer

The term” Pay to play” refers to an arrangement in which a charge must be paid to play the sport. It is also invariably used to refer to a variety of situations in which money is exchanged for services.

One possible advantage in regards to development as a player is the motivation to succeed when the cost encumbered to play is considered by the player.

Certainly one of the negative effects as it relates to development as a player in any sport is the high cost and the inability of many parents to pay. This approach has robbed many athletes of the opportunity to play. On the other hand, anyone whose parents are financially well off are given the opportunity to play despite their lack of talent or ability to play the sport. In this way, the game has become highly commercialized. The game no longer focuses on maximizing talent and driving purposeful living but has prioritized financial gains ahead of life goals or achievements.

Paying to Play Soccer

November 2017


Pay to play soccer

The term” Pay to play” refers to an arrangement in which a charge must be paid to play the sport. It is also invariably used to refer to a variety of situations in which money is exchanged for services.

One possible advantage in regards to development as a player is the motivation to succeed when the cost encumbered to play is considered by the player.

Certainly one of the negative effects as it relates to development as a player in any sport is the high cost and the inability of many parents to pay. This approach has robbed many athletes of the opportunity to play. On the other hand, anyone whose parents are financially well off are given the opportunity to play despite their lack of talent or ability to play the sport. In this way, the game has become highly commercialized. The game no longer focuses on maximizing talent and driving purposeful living but has prioritized financial gains ahead of life goals or achievements.


A possible solution lies in the Federation and all its affiliates putting systems in place to create more rational thinking people in relation to the game. I believe we can enforce this solution by clearly defining what elite is, by setting clear development criteria (i.e. players‘ age group standards, coaches must have a “B” license to coach, facilities that fit professional standards and financial proof that you can provide social, psychological, physical, technical/tactical support) to create international and professional players.

We must not neglect the grassroots or community club approach, but we need structure and realistic expectations from all stake holders. To do that, we must educate coaches, parents and players on why they are there and how they can get to the level they desire. This must not be treated as an employer to customer model; you just can’t get what you want because you pay but understanding the process of development within the sport.

We understand that social media has changed the dynamics to instant gratification. Everyone needs everything now whether in sports or their daily lives. The lack of patience has taken away their long term commitment and replaced it with pride and arrogance. The sad part is, most players and parents have no understanding of why they go to programs, what is the program offering, is the environment conducive for the players’ development, and does it provide the path way to reach his/ her goals.

In conclusion, paying to play is not an issue because it has proven to work, and would continue to work if all stake holders (i.e. administrators, directors, coaches, players and parents) play a major role in creating an environment for teaching and learning through respect, discipline and patience.

Professional Maintenance

September 2017

Professional Maintenance

A profession is consistent and fulfills all the requirements needed to do a job. While this is a general fact it is especially true as regards soccer as a profession. One must take into full consideration both the technical and tactical aspects. The tactical aspects pertain to the understanding of the principles of defending, attacking and transition.. Many players are very fortunate to have attained a professional status as a soccer player on a professional team but it requires much to be able to maintain this status as well as to develop it. In this regard, inculcating the correct attitude is pivotal to maintenance. The soccer player must hold foremost in his mind that his job or position is always at risk and be reminded constantly that he/she is as good as his/ her last trophy. Therefore it is critical to always maintain a positive attitude which would allow one to adapt to every change/situation. Such changes include: change of a coach or management, change of environment and change system of play. As a professional one needs to be ready to embrace these changes. Equally important is the need to be teachable and remain open to criticism whilst embracing these changes since this would facilitate relevancy in the game in such a way that the player evolves even as the game itself evolves. A soccer player needs to work very hard going after/pursuing his/her goals when in reality he/she really doesn’t want to, doing that extra mile as it relates to sacrifice. 




This is especially important to remaining at the top level. As a professional soccer player, one needs to make enormous sacrifice and exercise much commitment. In the passage of this sacrifice one may have to even procrastinate sleep , experience the first pains from working hard and refusing to stop, giving hours to study an opponent’s strategies and do whatever one needs to do to enhance one’s game and remain at the ‘elite level’ for a

longer period.


 Even though I believe that raw talent has a place in the game it must be emphasized that a player should and must not solely depend upon it. In my opinion when this is done

the career of such a player always comes to a premature end. So it is very necessary to make sacrifices and to invest in nurturing and maximizing one’s potential as a soccer

player. With regard to the importance of skill, this relates more to one’s ability to process and be deliberative in decision making on the field rather than relying on one’s

instincts. Ultimately the player has to assess situations at a very high speed in order to play at and to maintain that professionally status. This is one way in which one can

easily distinguish between a player who will remain at the professional level and one who will have a short lived career at that level.


I firmly believe that in order for a player to continue to perform and maintain his/her status as a professional soccer player he/she must have that love and passion for the career since these would enable him/her to give of himself/herself as regards the necessary sacrifices needed to achieve his/her goals. If I were asked, what the secret is to reaching and maintaining oneself at the ‘elite level’ I would say there really isn’t any secret. It is all about hard work and dedication to one’s craft. And even though hard work is key

to maintenance one must not neglect working smartly. Just as important is getting adequate rest and proper nutrition. It is important to equate what one is trying to achieve with the work that one puts in. Based upon my own experience there are moments when one as a player work and pushes oneself so hard and in those moments it is tempting to relent and abandon the effort. But I firmly believe that getting pass or overcoming those periods is

intrinsic to building one’s character as well as the sense that one can achieve anything. Also key to becoming a professional soccer player, is the knowledge and understanding of one’s strengths and weaknesses. The player must understand that while there are coaches who are there to identify those strengths and weaknesses, that ultimately he/she has a responsibility to know these and to understand how to maximize strengths whilst minimizing

weaknesses so as to create a balance. Balance is critical to maintain oneself at the top level since the lack thereof can result in other players or teams exploiting or taking full

advantage of one’s deficiencies. In speaking of balance we must take into consideration both ‘defense’ and ‘attack’ and also the ability to execute the ‘transition’.


Even as I repeat that it is very important to be cognizant of one’s areas of strengths I can’t help emphasizing that one must also be able to face one’s deficiencies, be willing to accept criticism and be open to being taught so that he/she would ultimately be able to develop and maintain his/her professional status at that optimal level. Finally, as a professional soccer player, one needs to always be in tune with his/ her ‘why’ or his/ her purpose. Professional maintenance at that optimal level requires the ability to answer the question “Why am I doing something?” I think being clear about one’s “why” helps one to remain

ambitious and enthusiastic about his/her future rather than becoming stuck in the idea of what he/she as a soccer player would have done. As I inferred earlier, it is all has to

do with what one does now and what he/she does now is in preparation for his/her future so yes answering the question “why” is critical to professional maintenance. This said,

remember above all that input equals output. Even though this statement can be applied to other areas it is specifically true in relation to professional maintenance as a soccer

player at an optimal level.

 

philosophy, thoughts, & all things soccer

...for the love of the game

Challenges to Your Purpose

May 2017

“Your gifts will make room for you and bring you before great men.”

Proverbs 18:16

 

The moment we take our first breath our destiny is activated. We only need to make the correct choices in our journey to reach the promised destination. When the goal is achieved, many may ask the bold questions, “how did you do it…what did you do to get there.” However, you might not always get the friendly approach when those seemingly harmless questions mask feelings of “you don’t deserve to be there” or “you shouldn’t be able to do that”. Some people actually have the audacity to declare out loud that you’re not supposed to be that successful or given the respect for notable achievements because of their perceived notion of what success looks like. Unfortunately many times in society the perception of success is based on your inheritance, credentials, or physical appearance. Greatness is oftentimes defined by physical possessions; not the ability to influence or inspire change in those who may consciously or unconsciously need it. But destiny cares not about riches or lineage, and neither does one’s intended purpose. Purpose is unique to the individual and transcends class and culture. The journey may not always be easy, but it does not change the destination. Thus, purpose can thrive even with challenges. Crops don’t grow if they’re not cultivated, and so it is with our purpose – honing itself as it is seasoned with experience. So you don’t have to change your purpose because it’s not trending or because you face negativity. The reason there’s only one you and one me is because we have a specific dynamic…and sometimes that singular thing can change the world. Even if that can’t easily be seen on the superficial surface, it makes it no less true. Embracing this view as you strive toward your goals will definitely incite challenges from others who don’t understand it. But what you have to remember is that this is your purpose, not anybody else’s. So you can’t allow things people don’t understand in your journey to dictate your mood or your determination. Let your heart and spirit guide your path. Be motivated in achieving your intended purpose and just keep pushing forward. Purpose has changed water into wine and fed a crowd with 2 fish and 5 loaves. Though it was intended for good it brought envy and enemies at the time, yet it still influences us in the 21st century. So the goal was achieved, even with all the unsupportive onlookers on the sidelines. Remember, wherever you go and whatever you do: your purpose can be challenged, but not changed.


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Transitioning​ from Amateur to Pro

July 2017

A professional soccer player by definition is an individual qualified to perform the necessary criteria on and off the field on a consistent basis. The required areas are technical and tactical, which include physical, psychological, and social aspects of both performance and sportsmanship. On the other hand, an amateur doesn't possess the above mentioned qualities to complete these tasks on a consistent basis. That's not to say they do not possess any of these skills, but it's not at the level needed for them to be considered a seasoned professional. For example: a varsity or collegiate player is not a professional athlete, but the expectation might be the same to win in an academic arena just as it is to win at professional club levels. So it's definitely important to not only understand the difference between an amateur and a professional athlete, but to discern the various levels within each distinction. Each carries its own weight. And in those weights one must understand the quality of play, quality of players and coaching, and the environment within the classifications of amateur and professional. This understanding plays a vital role in further comprehending the demands placed on athletes at each level as well. This can be especially helpful when an athlete begins to think about transitioning​ between the two roles. A player thinking about pursuing a career in professional soccer (or any professional sport) must first demonstrate passion and love for the sport. Added to that, a high level of discipline and consistency to develop skill must be a major priority. This entails technical efficiency, effectiveness, and the ability to demonstrate principals in attack and defense at high levels of speed. Specifically in soccer, there needs to be a commitment early on with clearly defined goals and a willingness to understand the dynamic of the game. Something to note in regard to player development is that most soccer players identify with clubs rather than the level of coaching and methodology used to ensure that the process of development is effective. This has been a huge pitfall for many young players starting out. If you're 14/15 years old and don't display at a high level of competence in technique to skill (the how+where+when principals), the chances of reaching an elite level is highly unimaginable - but not impossible. That is because soccer, as with anything else, demands of the participant that the time be put in to the practice. It's key for every young player to understand early on that hard work is the main requirement. Talent has its place, but no amount of raw talent is going to beat blood and sweat. With the added edge of good training, this can ensure a truly amazing soccer player. Because soccer is a thinking game, it's also important to be able to learn the benefit of working smart instead of only hard. The game is already hard, so it only becomes doubly so if a footballer can't think. Now that only happens with knowledge and understanding of the game, comprehending it's ebb and flow. This is where seeking excellent training backed by proven methodology becomes crucial to the player's development. However, before any of these things are considered, a professional evaluation is highly recommended. Any soccer player considering going past recreational play should consider being evaluated properly. This feedback should give you a sense of where you are, where you need to be, and how you will get there. Don't invest money in a dream that has no realistic or attainable goal. Know where you stand in terms of skill and ability. The road to hell is not paved with good intentions, but rather with unrealistic expectations. If you are an athlete and reading this blog but have not had a technical evaluation by a certified professional coach...go get evaluated correctly, since you're already late. Nobody ever made pro by magic. It always comes from discipline and dedication. Get evaluated, then get serious. This is the key for transitioning from amateur to professional in the soccer world. 

“Remember what you put in, is what you will get out.”


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philosophy, thoughts, & all things soccer

...for the love of the game

For Beginners

January 2017

Soccer should be a fun environment, but challenging at the same time. Most beginners are at their contemplation stage (i.e: there to discover the game or excited about possibilities) but not ready to commit. In my humble view, the goal should be to grasp their imagination with pictures that would ultimately provide confidence, belief, kindness, respect, and selflessness...to name a few.

Practice types should have a specific approach in the beginners phase:

physical, technical, and small - sided games.

1) physical - stability and motor skills to encourage coordination

2) technical - ball manipulation (i.e: consistent contact with ball and increase ball relationship) to enhance collaboration between the central nervous system & muscles

3) small-sided games - once it's not 11v11, it's considered a small-sided game

(e.g: 4v4, 6v6, 8v8, etc). We must consider appropriate size fields with boundaries and space. Time is also needed to accommodate an instinctive player.

Note: make sure to encourage and compliment, rather than "coach" at this level


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Advanced Players

February 2017

At this phase or stage a player needs to be consistent with their approach & application to soccer, both on and off the field. The goal should be clear, precise, and attainable. Also having a strong character (i.e: understanding who you are and maximizing that potential) should be the number one priority.

Practice Types:

1) be able to demonstrate the principal of attack and defense

2) understanding the four (4) moments of the game

3) must have a sound, well-developed technique

4) execute correct skill levels in tight situations or 1v1

5) situational judgement (i.e: ability to assess and process situations both accurately AND quickly), correct decision making skills

6) display the physical attributes to compete for full duration of the game


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Role Models & the Professional Athlete

March 2017

A professional by definition is someone qualified to do a specific job or activity. In sports this is demonstrated by someone who is extremely skilled, more than competent, and especially consistent in their chosen field. Hence, the professional athlete. Because the prowess required to become a professional in any sport is such a highly sought after skill, athletes tend to get a lot of attention. Some might even say more than necessary. Be that as it may, they're still in the spotlight and with this spotlight comes both good and bad. In this blog I'd like to explore what that looks like, touch on some of the things that athletes could be doing with the extraordinary platform they've been given, and invite commentary from all sides (athletes, fans, & everything in between) to weigh in with other perspectives. I realize that I might see things a certain way, being in the game so-to-speak. But maybe there's a really good argument for the opposing views. Either way, I'd like to hear all views out there. 

So here goes....    

In my humble opinion - having been a pro athlete and now coaching elite athletes - those with access to such a platform have a moral duty to guide those that see them in the spotlight. At a bare minimum they should behave, consciously and unconsciously, in a manner that always speaks to that moral obligation. There's no denying that the pro athlete is a celebrity on some level and we all know what this means in regard to attention (like media, cameras, reporters, nosey neighbours, and everybody in between). I mention all that without even getting to stalkers, haters, and much unwanted attention. That's such a hot topic it needs its own blog. So if we just focus on the possibly desired coverage that may arise from playing professional sports, that still leaves a lot of focus on the athlete in any given moment. Which means that naturally there will be on-lookers. Of course many of those will be adults who have their own minds and are simply fans of the sport, caring less about what the players are like as people. But that still leaves a large number of impressionable minds, many of them young, who will take their example from that pro athlete's actions both publicly and privately. These boys & girls, young men & women, and even some grown folk avidly look at this behaviour and many times take examples from it. They may use certain scenarios as inspiration or empowerment, sometimes fueling their own passion and hunger for success. Even more, those young hopefuls that want to follow in the same footsteps may see the athlete's behaviour as the thing they want to do in order to make it to the same place. Remember that the game only lasts but so long. The rest of the time the player is just a person out there in the world like everybody else. Except there are a whole bunch of people watching. So whether the professional sportsman intended to be a role model or not, the spotlight ensures that they become one de facto nonetheless. That simple truth is why professional athletes should give credence to the a moral obligation of their actions in and out of the game.

In theory a professional should be expounding the importance of discipline, hard work, dedication, respect for themselves and others, and composure during crisis and failure. As the saying goes: "to whom much is given, much is expected". While we must not condemn the attitude of any human without knowing their character or what they're motivated by, it doesn't mean we can't have constructive criticism. Every gift or talent is given by God to create a positive impression in the world. However, it does seem that on too many occasions the selfish actions demonstrated by some of today's pro athletes have taken away from the positive influence that could've been fostered and allowed the platform they might've used to be neglected. This amazing platform could be used for so many things like highlighting social ills or improving economic situations, but instead has given way to more self-promotion in many instances. In no way should anybody expect something as unrealistic as perfection. But that should not be an excuse to abuse the privilege of the status. What the world of professional sports now has is an epidemic of too many "superstars" and not enough "role models". Furthermore, we are encouraging the art of winning and gaining endorsements instead of fostering developing a sense of self. Yes athletes are supposed to win, but winning can't be clouded with vanity. It should be a lasting legacy. This is why it's even more important that professional athletes take their positions as role models seriously. Don't encourage young people to just mimic the professional. If they're going to be inspired to follow something, teach the importance of following purpose. Or help them to understand that their focus should be on God - a power much higher than a human being playing a sport...not what that person is wearing or how they're walking or what they're saying. Teach them to respect their limitations and appreciate their strengths. I urge pro athletes to use their platform wisely. Don't be just another superstar. Actually be a role model. 


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Purpose vs. Profession

April 2017

We have at our fingertips everything we could possibly ever need to achieve success. Many might disagree, but the truth is everything you need to reach the highest levels of success sits right within your reach. Now having the discipline or the drive to use those tools to actually get what you want…that’s something else. There’s also the thing nobody likes to think about when they’re seeking achievement. That ever-annoying intuition of whether what you’re trying to achieve is your actual purpose – because even though everything you might desire is attainable, not everything that’s available is there for your purpose.

Remember being 7 years old and thinking about what you wanted to be when you grew up? Well funny thing about that: I dreamed about being a professional footballer…and sure enough I became one. I used every single tool at my disposal and had the determination to achieve this goal. Football…soccer became my chosen profession. Certainly many people grow up and go on to medical school or open their own business and feel that they’ve found purpose in their profession. However, your profession is not necessarily your purpose. The ability to do something doesn’t mean that’s what you were meant to do. Your profession may be the job you do every day to pay the bills and you might even enjoy that job. It may bring you physical wealth and material things. But is it your God-given purpose, the thing you were destined to do, made for, the reason you exist. While one’s profession may fund survival, purpose fuels the soul. Your purpose is that gift you were given, unique only to you that is supposed to be your individual mark on the world.

Many people find that they struggle in their profession or in finding their way to a profession; sometimes feeling that they’re not trying hard enough or using everything they could, so it’s the reason they’re failing or falling short. Or some will blame it on their luck, not realising that luck is a fallacy and what most people mistake for luck is actually hard work meeting opportunity. Yet they won’t just admit it’s possible that the reason they’re struggling quite so hard is because that’s not what they’re supposed to be doing at all. Or worse, it’s something somebody else said would be the thing to do or some profession picked because it was thought to make loads of money. This leaves the individual constantly swimming against the tide toward something that they were never meant to do, then wondering why their endeavours are fruitless or unfulfilling. Nobody said you can’t have a job and a passion. You’re more than capable of both. But unless you feed your soul and engross yourself in your purpose you’ll never find true fulfilment, leaving you searching forever to fill that void. Your potential will never be truly realised if you don’t find that purpose you were made for. So rather than being profession-driven, challenge yourself to be purpose-driven instead. Seek the fulfilment you were meant for by finding and living in your purpose. 


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