How does sport shape our experiences?
For many of us, our parents probably encouraged us to play games and sports as often as we could and from a very young age. Yes, playing sports positively contributed to our fitness levels and physical strength, but it was also a way for us to learn life lessons on winning with humility, losing with dignity and persevering when things got tough. And it is true that even though playing games was great exercise, it was the life lessons behind those games that mattered most.
There is strong evidence that “sports strongly reinforce certain personal characteristics, things like respecting your opponent, responsibility, persistence and self-discipline,” says Angela Lumpkin, co-author of Sport Ethics: Applications for Fair Play (McGraw-Hill Humanities, 2002). And that’s true for athletes of any age.
At Auto & General, we have learned from experience that lessons can come from all aspects of life. Sport, in particular, has an incredible ability of humbling you while providing lessons on bravery, not giving up and sticking to the plan even when the finish line seems too far to reach. Here are some lessons we’ve learned from a couple of South African sporting personalities:
Baby Jake Matlala: The only South African to have won four boxing world titles
Jacob “Baby Jake” Matlala, an all-action boxing champion who overcame his height and reach disadvantage by crowding his opponents, throwing a relentless barrage of punches, believed that he got to the very top of his sporting career because his values never dropped. “I respect people; I honour people. Also it’s important to love myself and to respect myself too. That’s why I am accepted by all people, any nation and all colours because I have values and I respect myself”, Matlala stated in an interview in 2003.
“It’s very important to have values, not only for a sports career, but in life. They make you what you are so that people can respect you,” he says. “To me values and morals go together. You must have values and morals in life.”
Peter van Kets: Professional Endurance Adventurer, Conservationist and Keynote Speaker
It is not every day where you meet someone who passionately pursues their spirit for adventure as professionally as Peter van Kets has done. Extreme adventurer, entrepreneur, and author, van Kets takes the lessons he’s learned from his expeditions and relates them to the business environment through his motivational talks. His expedition stories are of survival, courage, perseverance, passion, loneliness, tenacity, amazing team work and the will to win.
According to van Kets’ experiences, the significant predictor to achieve and sustain success is perseverance. The principles he lives by include integrity, honesty and accountability. Watch his inspirational talk about what his experiences have taught him here.
By learning from these sporting personalities and how they used their experiences to shape their successful careers, we learn that being able to persevere is a direct predictor of success. It comes from being committed to your goal, and from believing in yourself and in your goal’s possibility. It borrows strength from resilience and optimism and brushes elbows with courage along the way.
At Auto & General, we are constantly striving for success, and we use our experiences in the industry to improve our products and service offerings. We have made use of the lessons learnt over the past 32 years to refine our vehicle and home insurance product offerings so that we can provide our clients with the best experiences possible. Visit our website today to find out what experience looks like to us.
Information obtained from:
Game life lessons we can learn from Sports Guillermo Florido
Baby Jake: SA's boxing giant
Peter van Kets - Professional Endurance Adventurer, Conservationist and Keynote Speaker