Pause: Train yourself to be as disciplined as a professional athlete.

Pause: Train yourself to be as disciplined as a professional athlete.

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.

Author:Strive Masiyiwa

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.

11 Replies to “Pause: Train yourself to be as disciplined as a professional athlete.”

  1. RUFARO Masundire writes:

    Thank you Sir for your motivation, am a long distance runner living with one kidney… I run to raise awareness for the growing need for kidney banks and other illnesses such as prostate cancer, you are among the few people that motivate me to want to wake up early morning and train and next year I look forward to running the comrades marathon marking the 14th year I have been living had the operation done this being 1 of 9

    My reply:
    You are truly amazing! It would be an honour to be one of your sponsors. You are a real inspiration. I hope others will do the same.
    ‪#‎AfricanLionRoar‬! …”all things are possible to him who believes

  2. Emekowa writes:

    I know, you want me to succeed. It’s written in every singular post, which you ever made. And, even if you’re to stop writing today. Even if, this becomes your very last words to me (though, I pray they aren’t), I will still say: You have made the mark. You have made me. I have no form of excuse whatsoever. If I choose not to discipline my over-all self, and do that which is needful, just as you’ve made me to understand. Then, I shall have NO excuse. I shall have NO escape. I shall perish in a life of failure, misery, and sleepless night. I shall act now. And, I shall act right. …Let there be Light!

    My reply:
    Reading something like this makes it all so worthwhile. You have strengthened and encouraged me also:
    “Iron sharpens iron”…
    Some of the comments this week have truly humbled me. You guys are really great.
    Thank you!

  3. George writes:

    Strive thanks but i want to say i didnot comment just for the sake of it but because i happened to have a chance to meet these two great athlets in Houston Texas in several occasions back in the eighties, At that time Akim (the dream) and Ralph Samson were playing for Houston Rockets and Mtumbo was with the Denver Nuggets, These two athletes are not just desciplined perse but are African sons who are humble, focused, down to earth, have a big heart and has made our continent proud, They are my heroes

    My reply:
    Last year I did an event with Hakim and Dikembe in New York, to raise awareness about the threat of the Ebola Pandemic. These guys are amazing Africans. I agree with you that their humility is overwhelming.

  4. Tiger Woods was the first athlete in history to accumulate a billion dollars from playing sport.
    __Can anyone give me the Forbes list of the 10 highest paid athletes of 2014?
    No prizes because getting such information takes only a few minutes using your Google browser, even though there are still some people who struggle to do something so simple.

  5. George Muls,

    I have been doing copy and paste to Microsoft word of all the Teachings you have given us through this platform, and i have been making a PDF book for myself. I can surely confirm that i read to get an uplifting of the spirit and i have been learning a lot more that i could pay for at a business school… The PDF soft copy is for me and for my yet to be children. Thanks Dad Strive Masiyiwa

    Dear George,
    You understand the importance of “substance over form”:
    Initially I wanted to write a book, bind it and get it published. Then I realized that more people read things on social media platforms. So I decided to write the “book” using this format. If you put together everything I have written since I started it would be several books, using the standard format of a paper book. The only difference is that I reach millions more people than using a traditional book format. I have also done it in an “open source format” allowing you to tailor make your own book to suit your own needs.
    After all what is a book? Moses wrote on tablets of stone, Paul wrote on scrolls of paper. Each time I sit down to write…they are pages of a modern book for today’s type of reader…and it’s free!

  6. Now that picture of Hakim (Nigeria) and Dikembe ( DRC) is a classic. The greatest basketball players to come out of Africa, yet.
    This is like Didier Drobga and George Weah coming out to play together in a game, twenty years after they retired!
    Keep that picture, it may be worth something one day!

    1. thank you very much Mr masiyiwa for such valuable information regarding training and discipline. i think the reason why most of the people nowadays are failing in business is because we do not discipline ourselves on, allocation of time and money as well. i have learnt a lot from this teaching. it will enable me not look for better relationships that challenges me. as you said horizontal relationship does not benefit much instead it makes me to relax.

      thank you so much
      god bless you and continue your teritory.

  7. You are such an inspiration big brother! I must admit that most of my sermon illustrations in business come from what you have shared and its really inspiring the youth in Namibia where I am serving God as a missionary. The youths and other congregational members may have never met you in person but your life has great impacted them. Last year I organized a business breakfast in Windhoek having been challenged by your testimony on how you established Econet in our Great Zimbabwe and it was a huge success.
    In as much as I minister to others making reference to your disciplined life style, you motivated me to study further in business and I got accepted for the MSc in Logistics and Supply Chain in the UK. Logistics was my initial field before I left for full time service and theological training.
    The Lord richly bless you elder brother!

  8. I am one of your key followers on Facebook but to be honest with you, I didn’t know who the real personality Strive Masiyiwa was; just that I just loved those inspiring words he shared on his timeline until I googled your name and then Google reveal more than I thought.

    The question I asked myself was this; how come this millionaire is different? You have really motivated me to take my site ( to the next level. Thanks a lot Mr. Strive Masiyiwa.

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