It took me a while of being on LinkedIn before I realised it wasn’t just Corporate Johnny’s talking about out-executing their peers by running things up the flagpole and big-picturing out of the box ideas about not being able to teach ambition to people. I have found some amazing people on LinkedIn who are committed to some amazing causes with some brilliant ideas on a lot of the things I am passionate about. Today’s post is inspired by one such conversation, so thanks, Danny for your post and making me think about this.
Danny’s question surrounded youth sport, and how a kid can be let go by one academy one day only to find himself picked up by a higher level academy the next week. Did one of these academies get it wrong? Did the one that let the kid go make an error they will regret? Did the team that signed him find a gold nugget that needs polishing, or will they pour resources into a player who isn’t going to make the grade? He used the phrase “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” When I was a kid my Grandad, knowing I loved books, rescued a book from the garbage which I am guessing was written around 1890 and wrote almost the same words inside it before he gave it to me. I still have that book, it’s called “History of England” and it sits on my bookshelf to this day. I am a bit of a bibliophile, I love books, especially old ones. The value I have on that book is beyond what most people could offer for it, yet to someone else it was literally garbage. Value is relative.
I started to think about purpose and value. In sport it is easy to put a value on someone, Lionel Messi is worth a trillibilligazillion of any currency. Or is he? How would he fare in a team who went route one, straight from defence, over the midfield and to the giant striker who may or may not score? I’m sure he’d do OK, he’s Lionel Messi, he won’t suck. However, to get the best out of him you’d need to adjust your system, this means change. You’d need different players who could support him. You’d maybe need a new coach who could get the best out of him. You’d have a lot of work and new methods to make the investment worthwhile. Even Lionel Messi doesn’t have the same value to every team. Value, I believe, is tied to purpose. The kid who was released from the smaller academy may be more than good enough for them from a skill perspective, but maybe he just doesn’t fit their need at the time. They need someone who has leadership skills and can help develop team mates, he is an amazing individual player who needs to develop his team work. The bigger academy are great at building team work, they need a kid with confidence who will take players on. He has that in abundance.
Now, we’re not all scouts and coaches, and most of us will never have to judge the potential of a kid and tell them they’re not what we are looking for. It’s hard enough interviewing people for a “normal” job and making that decision for someone’s life, making it for a kid who may have their identity tied up in this (as well as their parents living vicariously through them) must be exceptionally difficult. However, we all do have decisions to make in life. We have to weigh up the value and potential of one decision or direction over another. We have to determine whether we want quick, less impactful results today, or whether to take a risk for bigger rewards down the road. We have to judge what we know to be true today against what may be true tomorrow.
If we are going to be authentic in this world and make good decisions we need to look beyond the style of things and get into the substance. I have found that most people who are concerned with style and image spend longer managing the smoke and mirror illusion of what they want people to perceive than it would take to actually be what they want people to perceive. A Pot Noodle, regardless of whether it comes in a Harrod’s display case or off the shelf at a local shop is still a Pot Noodle. We need to start valuing the right things for the right reasons. Just because something is of value to my neighbour, it doesn’t mean it has value to me or that I should feel compelled to see value in it. We have to examine what has real value to us. and not get caught up in the vanity of this world. A few decades ago someone threw away a book. They have probably forgotten all about it, but I treasure it. It was a gift from someone I love, who knew I loved books.
Some people are troubled by how much money they can make. They have ulcers, chest pains, and are disconnected from their family just to make a bit more money. My great-grandad heard the challenge “Where will you spend eternity?”, and gave up all his riches and status. Instead of living the high-life he chose to travel the world wearing a robe as a preacher instead of wearing the best clothing money can buy as a travelling artist. He had an experience that made him consider the value of life over things. One man’s trash may be another man’s treasure, but this works both ways. One man’s treasure is another man’s trash. If the whole monetary system collapsed today it wouldn’t be the man with gold and money in the bank who had the treasure, it would be the guy with tins of beans and Pot Noodles in the cupboard and all the gold in the world wouldn’t part him from them.
If you’ve read my previous articles you will know I like to leave on three points. However, today I would say there is one thing I would say is important to consider, whether it is choosing to sign or release a player, which job to accept, or whether you invest in gold or Pot Noodles: What will be the ongoing ripples from this decision?