5 Life lessons from Sporting Icons to Success

What does it take to reach the top? How can we learn from those who have achieved the pinnacle? And perhaps most importantly, what happens if we translate those lessons into our own lives to empower and drive ourselves forward?

Below are 5 key lessons, taken from the sporting elite that we can all bring into our daily routine so as to ensure, no matter what we find ourselves doing, we not only get by, but we thrive, prosper and succeed.

1 – Pride as a barrier

Adam Gilchrist – “a wise man learns by his mistakes; a fool, his successes”

If something goes wrong, or the outcome isn’t what we hoped or intended, do we shrug it off and pretend nothing happened or do we review and reflect on how we could’ve done something different?

Too often, pride has held back those who were destined for greatness by blocking their ability to identify their mistakes. Reading the above quote, we can begin to understand that only by acknowledging our weaknesses, rather than our strengths can we grow and develop.

Pride in achievement is a valuable trait, but do not allow yourself to become blinded by self belief that you lose humility to improve. 

2 – Never stop learning

Cristiano Ronaldo – “if you think you’re perfect already, then you never will be”

When you reach the top, does that guarantee you’ll stay there forever? Of course not, even for those who have achieved so much, there’s always something new to learn or a skill to maintain.

Complacency has time and again been the cause of an unfortunate decline in performance as those who feel they’ve achieved the “summit” take their foot off the pedal instead of striving to learn and improve each and every day.

In Japan, there is a famous term known as “kaizen”, which means every business, every day tries to find a way to improve.

How do you think improving one thing every day would affect your life?

3 – Nothing happens overnight

Lionel Messi – “it took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success”

When Lionel Messi first pulled on that Barcelona shirt and introduced himself to the world, he was lauded as a sensation, someone who had appeared from nowhere ready to take the league by storm.

However, this wasn’t an overnight miracle, it was the culmination of his entire life leading up to this point.

Success requires patience, and significantly, perseverance. So next time, in pursuit of your dreams or your passion, remember every minute, every hour, every day you commit to improving will take you one step closer to achieving your goals.

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.

4 – Maintain a positive mindset

Vince Lombardi – “winners never quit and quitters never win”

Sometimes it feels easier to quit, right? Things aren’t going your way and it feels like the world is conspiring against you.

These times, more than any other, are those when you must steel yourself, face them head on and persevere until you overcome them. Not only will you be even closer to reaching the top, but the satisfaction you feel upon overcoming your challenges will outweigh the struggle a hundred times over.

It can be hard to keep the positive mindset but your mental ability, to believe in yourself and your cause is the greatest trait you can have in combating any scenario that comes your way.

If you believe, you can do.

5 – Commit to success

Michael Jordan – “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed”

Make success your mantra, no matter what life throws at you, embrace it, learn from it, utilise the experience and grow as an individual.

Turn failure into a lesson, celebrate success and never stop striving to improve; only then can you reach your own summit.

So there we have it, 5 simple lessons to take away and apply to everyday life. Every individual quoted has proven their success, providing us with an empowering framework of how we can emulate them so that whatever walk of life we find ourselves in, we learn, we improve and we succeed.


Jacob Goodwin, UK

Currently volunteering here at Youth Legend as part of a career break, back home I used to work in Software Sales.My passion lies not only in sport, especially football and my beloved Doncaster Rovers, but also in hiking, music and craft beer

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