On the day of the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil my three sons set the alarm at 4.45 am so they could watch the game from our home in Australia. They woke me soon after. ‘You can't miss this one, Mum!' they announced ripping the covers off my bed. As we sat around in our pyjamas, cups of tea in hand, we were all gunning for Argentina and waiting for Lionel Messi, their star player, to have his much anticipated ‘Maradona moment'.
Alas, it never came. When Germany finally scored the one and only game-winning goal with a few minutes to play of the extended time, we had to reach for the tissues. And yes, it has to be said, ‘I cried for Argentina'. While I'm not a particularly big soccer fan most of the time, I've grown to love the World Cup. The spectacle, the emotion, the anticipation, the elation of victory and the disappointing taste of defeat. There's plenty of it all.
Many times over the preceding month the commentators had expounded on whether a team was playing to win or playing not to lose. It struck me how well these two approaches describe the mindset many people bring to their career, business and life.
When you're playing not to lose, your focus isn't on what you could gain but on protecting what you already have. Your energies are channelled into shoring up the status quo and guarding against what you don't want to happen — whether that's a competitor ...