Radio Talk: Life Lessons from Cricket

Date of recording: 25 February 2011. Yuvavani, All India Radio, Thiruvananthapuram.
This Talk was delivered as a run up to Cricket World Cup 2011.

Cricket is a beautiful game. It not only entertains but educates as well. To a keen observer of the game, cricket teaches motivational secrets that can bring success in life. The basic lesson is that life is a game. It has laws and boundaries. We have to abide by the laws and play according to it. Yet winning remains a great art. Not all players win all the time. But then winning alone is not what matters most; but how one plays the game.

Therefore the question is with what attitude do you approach life? With that in mind let us look at some life lessons from the game of cricket:

First of all, cricket teaches us that mistakes are common in life. All this is part of the game. But the game goes on. So let us face the fact that mistakes are common in life. The key to success is not to lose heart when a mistake happens. Instead learn from it; make your skills sharper and try again with renewed spirit the next time.

Secondly, cricket teaches us that each individual is unique and important even in a team.
In the past there were all-rounders or match-winners who could change the game in their team’s favour very quickly. In modern cricket, such players are called game-changers.

What makes a player a game-changer? A player who knows his role well; one who knows what is expected of him at any given moment in the game and does exceeding well in bringing his role to perfection is one who is a game-changer. What is the lesson for you? Many young people think that they are not good enough. This is a mistaken thought. You are created unique. Celebrate your uniqueness and find out your role in life and then be the best in that role. Success will then coming knocking at your doorsteps.

Thirdly, cricket teaches us that success comes to those who enjoy the game. If you take a good look at the great names of world cricket, you’ll find that those names that are not forgotten by generations are those of cricketers who played with passion on their sleeves.Instead they loved the game, dedicated themselves to be masters of it and did hard work to bring their skills to perfection. They took to the field with sincerity of purpose, were focused and sweated it out.

Cricket also teaches us that life needs planning. The way a batsman paces an innings well is a sign of his class as well as the fact that he calculates his moment of acceleration with precision. All this requires great planning and preparation which includes studying the opposition. Each individual player’s strengths and weakness has to be analysed to have a great game plan. Likewise in life too there should be real planning. Nothing should be left to chance.

The next thought is that cricket teaches us that success in cricket as well as in life is a matter of perseverance. All great players have had their moments of failure. Note that all great players have something in common. They’re winners and they have the passion to win. They never quit. Criticism only fuels their resolve to do their best. We need to remember this quote now long associated with cricket: “Form is temporary; class is permanent.” The life lesson is that you need to weather stormy seasons and endure lean patches in life. You need to always hold on and never quit. Remember the words of Sir Winston Churchill who said, “Never! Never! Never! Never! give up.” Do not consider a game over till the last ball is bowled for as Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Victory belongs to the most persevering.”

Above all else, cricket teaches us that life is about entertainment. The goal of each player is to do well so as to entertain the audience. How is this done? Young friends, life is not just about existence. Instead it is about living life to the fullest. It is about utilizing your fullest potential not just to achieve fame or fortune but more to inspire others to do well. This is a great privilege and responsibility. You can inspire others by your great performances. As Helen Keller, who inspired many by her triumph over great odds in life, once wrote , “When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.”

Finally, cricket teaches us the art of finishing well. Finishing well is definitely a great art. For example, during the golden days of West Indian Cricket, there was a kind of habit with the West Indian batsmen to finish off every game with a six. Likewise each one of us should determine early in life to finish well. Otherwise you’ll be rattled at the crossroads of life when life takes unexpected twists and turns.

Let me sum up the main highlights once again:
Cricket is a beautiful game. It not only entertains but educates as well. Cricket teaches us that mistakes are common in life. It teaches us that each individual is unique and important even in a team and that success belongs to those who enjoy the game best. Further, cricket teaches us that life needs planning and preparation and shows us that perseverance is the key to leave a lasting legacy behind. Above all, cricket teaches us that life is about entertainment meaning that life is to be lived out to its fullest God-given potential so that you’ll inspire others with your performances. Beyond all this cricket teaches us the art of finishing well in life. To conclude, great cricket legends never die; they just fade away!

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