Never give up, only smokers should. Let me make a public confession – I have always been a number one fan when it comes to schools sports.
At Turfloop, we owned a team called Left and Right; I led the songs. At Kenneth Masekela Senior Secondary, where there were better singers like Evelyn, Shuping and Josiah, I was in the background, loyally adding my first-part voice, singing and singing and singing.
A lot of people thought post-teenage hormones would cure that habit, and when that failed they thought adulthood would. That also failed, as I have found myself being the only fan who is vocally supporting my daughters’ school in a competition. I soon discovered that this embarrassed my daughters. But who cares, it is the duty of the parents to embarrass their children with good things.
One day, when my daughter’s school was 1-0 down in a hockey game and there were only a few seconds to go, I shouted my well-rehearsed line: “Don’t give up, only smokers should give up.” The girl just whacked the ball and equalised. Was it a miracle? Was it fate? I like to think it was my motivation. It was me being me – a fan. I wasn’t being original, I must say. I had seen that line in a Nike poster.
So many of us turn our backs on victory when it is just around the corner. We walk away from it because we are too worried about survival and fear of failure. We worry about what we have to lose instead of looking at what we have to gain.
Defeat is part of life. It is what night is to day, and like the dark of the night it tends to be scary, but one needs it for a new day to start. Somehow it is how we behave at night that determines how we perform the following day. Likewise, it is how we behave in defeat that determines how we will perform the next time an opportunity arises. If you have red eyes from too much drink and little sleep you are unlikely to win the following day. If you behave badly in defeat – breaking walls, burning bridges and creating new enemies – you are likely to stay there. In poker it is called a tilt.
It’s a state of mind that is characterised by confusion and ill emotions that come as a result of frustration. When someone is in a tilt, they choose suboptimal strategies, sometimes becoming overly aggressive.
If you find yourself being rude, shouting at your staff and customers, and even insulting yourself, be careful because you are slipping down the losing streak.
Catching yourself early is the first line of defence.
When business is bad, go back to the basics and do them right. Visit your four P’s.
Look at the product you are selling. Is it still relevant? Has it got the future and how can it be improved?
Look at the price of your product or service and if you are employed, ask what is the value of your labour is.
Increasingly, a new trend is sweeping the world, where companies ask their workers to take salary cuts or be retrenched, so act before that eventuality arrives. When times are bad promote, promote, promote. When that fails, move town.
Opportunities may lay beyond the hill. A tilt can make you hate your work, so take a break and put things in perspective and add a touch of humour.
Remember, if you quit it’s forever, and that can only be good if you’re a smoker.
* Muzi Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive, an advertising agency.* SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE UPDATE: Get Fin24's top morning business news and opinions in your inbox.