Success can be found in the Little Commitments

Robertson Park trees

Robertson Park trees

“I wonder how they sleep at night?” I pondered. As I entered the beautiful Robertson Park in North Perth, where the ancient trees have watched serenely over several generations of less becalmed humans, I smiled at the bright blue skies of another dreamy, Western Australian Spring day. I was greeted by a discarded plastic bottle and a piece of paper rubbish, yet only several metres in front of me, I noticed a rubbish bin.

Realising that the poor litterbugs responsible must have been so worn out by their amble through the park that they hadn’t been able to muster up the last morsels of inner strength to crawl those extra few paces to toss their droppings in the receptacle provided, I decided to rescue their spiritual souls from the crippling guilt they were no doubt feeling and to do the job for them.

I was reminded of an old Buddhist friend of mine who had made it a daily ritual to pick up at least two pieces of rubbish and dispose of them. We cannot control the actions of the rest of the world’s population, but we CAN each do our part.

As I recommenced my daily ritual of going for a walk, to ensure at least a modicum of exercise to break up my sadly sedentary routine, I reflected on how small, regular commitments are in fact the key to success.

Success has a multitude of definitions to suit each individual, yet one concept links those definitions – that is the concept that success involves the fulfilment of our own unique values.

If you value money, then the attainment of wealth may satisfy your requirement; if you value cars, then owning that red Ferrari may allow you to be the king of the road; if you value family, then having them close may be the key; travel may tick your box – you get the idea.

If other people value different things to you, as many surely will, then that is their gig. ‘Judge not, lest you be judged’ or to use another cliché, ‘Live and let live’.

A Black Swan family at Hyde Park

A Black Swan family at Hyde Park

In saying that, I couldn’t help ponder at why someone would drop rubbish in such a beautiful park when there was a bin only a few steps away, but there you go – one of my values is about respecting the beauty of the environment where I have chosen to reside and which I share with my neighbours. I was brought up to believe that it’s courteous and respectful to go and put your rubbish in the bin. Perhaps these people had no such guidance from their families. In Australia we are very fortunate that it’s one of our national values to keep the place clean. Not everyone complies of course, but I have been shocked when I visited places like Bali or English train stations – the contrast is staggering!

Here’s a thought for you to consider, however: if you were to adopt a daily routine of picking up just two pieces of rubbish each day and putting them in a bin, the ripple effect could be huge.

Imagine therefore, if you could make a small commitment to two little actions each day or even to two little actions relating to a particular goal or idea each week, the change you could effect over a long period would literally blow your mind.

For example, reading two chapters of a book each day might average out to reading a book each fortnight, or 26 books over a year. I read somewhere that the average Australian reads one book per year after leaving high school. If that were true, then in theory you might be gaining knowledge at a rate that is 26 times faster than the average Joe!

Hyde Park, Perth

Hyde Park, Perth

If you walked two laps of the park each day that would be 730 laps each year. If you called two extra people each day that would be 730 contacts you might never have made. If you made eye contact and consciously smiled at two extra people each day, you would begin a wave of joy. If you committed two acts of kindness per day, you could help a community.

Success is not so much the mountain to climb that we might think. Rather, it is a collection of small, daily decisions that we make and act upon to support our core values, for in doing so we become a person whom we and other observers will value.

Until next time, remember to seize the day 🙂

Tony Inman

Business and Life Coach at Club Red Inspiration

The Passion of Sport

Tony at Old Trafford 2002

Tony at Old Trafford 2002 (Another ‘bucket list’ item)

In the wake of Manchester United’s victory over rivals Manchester City last night, my jubilant facebook posts caught the attention of one of my Aussie friends, Zena.

She asked me about the history of this rivalry between the two Manchester clubs.

I’m a great believer in the importance of following your passions and living your dreams, so for me, sporting contests are where we see some of the greatest human moments, where people strive to be the best they possibly can at what they love doing.

I love football – always have, always will. From kicking a ball against a wall as a kid to playing amateur league and veterans soccer, to watching my team at every opportunity. As I (partly) jokingly say, ‘Women have come and gone, but football will always be there for me.’

The following was my reponse:

Zena – you could say there are more than two Manchester teams if you include surrounding areas.

Football superseded religion in a way as it gave the everyday working man something exciting and entertaining to look forward to on the weekend. It gave rise to local heroes and it was the dream of every child kicking a ball against a wall in the back lane to play for his local team and emulate his heroes. It’s tribal and it’s very, very passionate, even with the influx of mega-rich mercenaries – professional players who will go where the money is despite having no geographical connection to the club where they ply their trade. You can’t blame them for that – it’s their career.

The old and great clubs are steeped in tradition, where fans can remember the feats of star players of a bygone era. For me it was players like Charlton, Best and Law. For my City friends it was Lee, Bell and Summerbee.

United formed originally under the name Newton Heath in 1878 and were mostly a team of railway workers. They changed their name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to Old Trafford, their current stadium in 1910.

City was founded by the Rector of St Mark’s Church in 1880 in industrial East Manchester to help reduce crime and for social and charitable support for the community, becoming first Ardwick AFC and eventually Manchester City in 1894.

The rivalry has always been there, though there was always a mutual respect, with City even allowing United to use their ground at Maine Road when Old Trafford was damaged by German bombs in World War 2, though they wouldn’t let them use the home dressing rooms!

United suffered one of the most disastrous setbacks to any sporting team ever when the plane carrying the team back from Munich crashed on take off in 1958, killing most of the team in one foul swoop. (Munich Air Disaster) United were the first English team to compete in Europe. On a wave of national sympathy, the club rebuilt the team with youngsters and refused to fold. Sir Matt Busby survived the crash (just) and though it took him ten years, he finally rebuilt the team, won the English title and took them back into Europe, winning the European Cup in 1968.

Young Tony in George Best shirt

Young Tony in George Best shirt

I watched that game on TV in Jersey as a 7 year old, with my heroes Best and Charlton both scoring. Interestingly, the other goal was scored by Brian Kidd who was later to be United’s Assistant Coach and is now City’s Assistant Coach. Denis Law also played for both teams and even Matt Busby was a City player before becoming United Manager.

Under the reign of Sir Alex Ferguson, arguably the best Manager of all team, United enjoyed a spell of dominance through the nineties, and on til last year, winning 12 EPL titles, while City endured traumatic decline and relgation to lower leagues. Their fans stayed loyal though and they bounced back to claim the Premier League title from United on goal difference only with the last kick of the season in a thrilling finale.

For many years, Liverpool were the dominant force in England. United knocked them off their perch, then faced a challenge from Arsenal. Then came the financially backed challenges to United as mega-rich billionaires made English soccer their plaything. United has seen off Chelsea, but now have to battle it out with Arab-owned City, while United has fallen into the hands of Americans. I’d love to see all of the clubs back to being owned by the people for the people, but I fear those days are long gone.

As a child, I remember there was magic and respect for all clubs and all players. The English Premier League is still the most exciting league in the world because you can never predict what is going to happen from week to week, but I fear that money has spoiled the sportsmanship and mutual respect that was always there.

On the other hand, the money has enabled sponsors to set up satellite TV so I can watch the games live wherever I happen to be in the world.

It’s a game with more passion than I can possibly explain. If you want to understand it, go to a match, preferably a derby game like City v United and see how it affects people in workplaces where the winners will give the losers stick about the result from one game to the next.

Go for a drink in the local pub and hear the fans singing the songs. It’s tradition, passion and a sense of connection with history. Like when JFK was shot or Diana died, people look back and remember where they were when United won the European Cup or when City pipped United at the post last season. It’s so much more than Eagles v Dockers.

Bill Shankly, Liverpool Manager summed it up, ‘Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.’