He needs no introduction.
Cristiano Ronaldo is undoubtedly one of the most beloved athletes in the world, maybe even one of the most beloved people.
He is respected by anyone who gets the chance to be around him. He is routinely applauded by opposing fans (that’s right, opposing) for the otherworldly performances he puts in on the pitch.
I wouldn’t doubt at this point in time, that millions of kids around the globe have slept in a bedroom that sports a poster of this man on their wall. Yes, I was one of those kids.
I could list all of his accomplishments and accolades, but we’d be sitting here all day.
Apart from winning almost everything football has to offer, he is a single father, the hardest-working athlete, and now is the all-time leading goalscorer in professional football history. He also just turned 36 (same birthday as mine) but moves like he’s 20.
How is that for qualifying him to give advice?
Sorry, I had to give you an introduction anyway.
. . .
I recently dug up an old interview Cristiano did with ESPN, in light of being inspired by him lately, and what I heard was surprising.
Normally, when a large publication like ESPN is interviewing athletes, we know that the questions won’t be too spicy and the answers will be plain and vague for the most part. Nothing offensive or earth-shattering here.
To my surprise though, Cristiano was very enthusiastic about his answers and gave some very simple, but impactful lessons to the interviewer’s questions.
When asked, “What other player or players make you the best you?”, he responded with,
“The best players always follow the best players.”
One thing I’ve always loved about Cristiano is that he is well aware that he is the best, and he will tell you.
It never feels arrogant though, it just feels confident. That’s exactly what you want from a person of his standing.
He knows he is elite. It’s why his teams rely on him. It’s why his teammates feed him the ball in big matches or in the dying minutes of the game when a goal is needed. He is the decisive person that everyone looks to.
This answer he gave is very telling of how greatness like this is formed.
The very best players across all sports (as he alluded to in the interview), look to each other for motivation and for that extra push. He knows he is great, but he also knows there are other players who are right on his tail and would love to be him.
“You cannot rest or sleep because the other one can pass you.”
— Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano fully accepts the nature of his sport, and life in general. It’s competitive, very competitive. He even notes that it is “healthy”.
But in his head, he is the best. So what does he have to do? He has to stay on his game all the time and never become complacent. He is always looking for the competitive edge.
“It’s my motivation to be better than them, year after year.” — Cristiano Ronaldo
Not only does he accept the competitive nature of the game, but he thrives off it. If his fuel source is to compete with all the top players, year after year, all with the intent of proving that he is in fact better than them, who would want to compete with him?
. . .
The takeaway is that, if you want to be great, look no further than the example Cristiano Ronaldo sets.
When he was 11 years old, he decided he was going to work harder than everyone else to guarantee that he would be the best.
He is fully aware that at the top end of any game, it’s cutthroat. There is a line of people waiting for you to go down so they can take your position.
He won’t let them have it though. Neither should you.
At 36 years old, he still doesn’t even give them a chance. This is a mentality of greatness. The job is never done. You always need to reaffirm yourself with work.
Accept the competitive nature of the world and work with it, not against it.
Derive motivation from the fact that they want to get the better of you. Don’t let them have it.
But at the same time, learn something from them. The best players follow the best players for a reason.
They are learning from each other and taking note of where new bars are being set. That’s how they know it’s time for them to start pushing harder again.
This post was previously published on Change Becomes You.
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Photo credit: Pixabay