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Belief - The Key to Growth

Jun 28, 2008
These days I keep myself in fairly good shape. I'm not fanatical about fitness but I do have a regular exercise routine. One of the more enjoyable aspects of this is my twice-weekly football run-out.

I'm by no means an exceptional footballer, yet I hold my own at the level that I play. Some nights I play well, others not so well. The most important aspect for me is that I enjoy football and I have more consistency now than I had when I played ten years ago.

However, at school I was not so fit, not so good and my confidence was sadly lacking. Furthermore, my parents showed little more than a fleeting interest in my sporting development. Having to endure the weekly humiliation of having our games teacher pick out four players to select their teams, one at a time, was an ordeal. As someone with little athletic prowess and several extra pounds of weight, my main achievement would be to not be picked last.

Since our sports teacher heaped praise on the school-team players and virtually ignored the less athletically gifted - the gap between good and bad became ever bigger.

Only one of my classmates made the school football team and that was Doug Burton. Doug was an easy-going chap with a great sense of humour. He was also one of my best teachers at school.

At lunchtime we would go onto the playground for a game of football. This was usually with a tennis ball. Frequently, Doug would be one of the players who were delegated to choose a team. What made Doug stand out for me was that he always picked me first. I have no idea what made Doug do this - I wouldn't have. After all, I wasn't a great player, I wasn't fit and I was a laughing stock for many - but not for Doug.

The consequence was that I gave everything I had to repay the faith that Doug showed in me. I didn't have the skill to dazzle but I did have the determination to compensate when I played for Doug.

Over time my football improved. At the school football tournament our team of supposed no-hopers had taken a few losses along the way and by the time we played our final game we had nothing left to play for but pride. The game saw us against the unbeaten favourites - also the class of our sports teacher. This team had six school team players in it and were expected to run riot against us.

That day Doug pulled us aside and gave a team talk from the divine. We went out and, in front of many spectators, humiliated the favourites. In fact, such was the degree of our superiority on that day that they lost the tournament - on goal difference.

We may not have won the tournament that day but we determined who did. I had the game of my life. One year later I had shed all of my excess weight and set up my own football team - I have never looked back since.

The turning point for me was that someone believed in me - even when I didn't. The effect that this had on me cannot be underestimated. What Doug taught me at school, when most kids were focusing on my excess weight, is that there is no substitute for belief. When you believe in someone you will always get the best out of them.

No teacher in any other subject taught me anything more relevant than this lesson that came from Doug. What he gave me at school cannot be bought and it's rarely taught. He gave me a gift for life and I hope that in writing this I can give something back. Thank you Doug.
About the Author
Adam Shaw is a traveller, writer and Health Consultant. He has spent most of his life developing skills in working with energy, people and dynamic, personal insight techniques. He now runs insight workshops to teach this knowledge to others. http://www.advancedserendipity.com
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