Last weekend we witnessed the first ever NBA Basketball Game ever played on African soil. It was truly a privilege to watch these supreme athletes performing at the top of their game, in a sport in which some of the top players are paid over $100m a year.
The highlight for me personally was seeing two of the greatest basketball players of my own generation, and probably amongst the greatest in history take to the court!
__Hakim Olajuwon (age: 52), and Dikembe Mutombo (age: 49), both came on for a few minutes, and showed us what they could still do. I could see tears in the eyes of many older fans. It was truly awesome to be able to say, “I saw them play again.”
Later as I reflected about the game and what lessons I wanted to share with you, one word came back to me over and over again:
Whenever I am reflective I’m led to something the Tentmaker said:
__”In a race everyone runs, but only one person gets first prize. So run your race to win. To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from doing your best. An athlete goes to all this trouble just to win a blue ribbon or a silver cup, but we do it for a heavenly reward that never disappears.
So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I fight to win. I’m not just shadow-boxing or playing around. Like an athlete I punish my body, treating it roughly, training it to do what it should, not what it wants to. Otherwise I fear that after enlisting others for the race, I myself might be declared unfit and ordered to stand aside.”
__1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (Living Bible, The – TLB)
There is a discipline to go through, if you want to succeed even in business or a professional career. It’s not just about being talented or gifted. You have to be disciplined, with yourself, and your habits.
The athlete knows that he must subject himself to a strict training and dietary regime, to be successful.
There is a discipline for the kind of life you want to lead, even as an entrepreneur:
__You must be disciplined in how you spend and allocate your time.
__You must be disciplined in how you spend and allocate your money.
__You must be disciplined in how you prepare yourself every day. Don’t be careless or go into meetings unprepared.
__ You must be disciplined in how you present yourself to others, including those you work with every day.
__You must be disciplined about where you go. Always knowing why you are going, what you hope to accomplish, and how long you should be there.
__You must be serious, if you want others to take you seriously. And it all boils down to your personal discipline.
__ You must be disciplined in not only setting goals, and training for them, but also in how you evaluate your accomplishments with respect to those goals.
You must also choose your friends carefully; “If you walk with the wise, you will be wise.”
In relationships it is best to be either raising others, or being raised yourself through others. Horizontal relationships where you are simply looking for companionship, do not necessarily benefit you; keep them to an absolute minimum, and manage all your relationships with discipline and respect.
Discipline is a companion to the quality consistency that I have spoken about before. Without these two, you have an uphill task to accomplish anything of significance no matter what your passion is.
In a few days we shall resume the last three #AfricanLionessRoar series.
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa