Congratulations to Germany – they clearly played better than the other teams this World Cup, and their dominance will be discussed for a long time to come. One of the things that will clearly be a talking point for quite a while is their dramatic win over Brazil.
I was in a meeting for the first 35 minutes of that game and was stunned when I finally had the chance to check up on the score. It was stunning because Brazil has been known as the undisputed king of soccer for years, and they ended up suffering the worst defeat possible – in their own home no less. What was once the best and highest scoring soccer team in the world has now been officially eclipsed by Germany.
This loss made me reflect a lot, because I see this exact same thing happen to companies all the time – they become the best, then underestimate the competition, eventually losing to them. As an entrepreneur, it’s important that you keep working hard, even if you’re the “king” of your industry. Here are a few lessons that I think entrepreneurs can learn from Brazil’s loss to Germany.
Overconfidence Can Ruin You – A lot of soccer fans were hoping that Brazil could take pride in winning the World Cup in its home continent. Despite the support of their fans, in all the games Brazil played in they either barely won, got lucky with their win – or both. As an athlete or entrepreneur, overconfidence will hurt you. Overconfidence leads you to under estimate the efforts you need to put in to achieve greatness, meaning that someone else who knows the value of hard work will eventually usurp you.
The Unexpected Can Strike Anytime – Change is the only constant. While Brazil’s defeat could be attributed to the loss of their two key players before the game, it was really their inability to adapt to change. Sometimes you won’t have the resources available to appropriately deal with change, but those are the instances where you experience the most growth and reach new limits. Accept the situation you have been presented with and use your creativity to find a new solution.
If You’re Going To Lose, Do So With Dignity – One thing I have to commend Brazil on is keeping classy while they were trailing far behind. Too often you’ll see a team go out of their way to injure players to make sure that they have a rough time in their next game. But hacking and slashing your opponents in order to jeopardize their chances is undignified. If you’re lagging behind your competition with no realistic chance of pulling through, take the fall from grace with class.
As much as we want to thoroughly enjoy our triumphs, it is important to stay humble. Doing so will allow us to accept the challenges when they are thrown at us and make us more willing to put in a fair effort to overcome them.