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The World Cup and Learning to Let Go for Happiness

Aug 17, 2007
The 18th World Cup was enjoyable. Behind the Olympics, the FIFA World Cup is the second most universal event. The world unites every four year when the Olympics air, while the world divides every four years when the soccer World Cup airs.

It's all about pride, glory, and bragging rights as nations compete in the most universal sport. It can be insulting when people from other countries brag about how their country's team defeated yours! Pride and a love for sport has sparked me to write this as I saw my beloved Australian Socceroos bow out of the World Cup after their best ever result.

Since the World Cup started in 1930 at Uruguay, Australia qualified for the event in 1974 where they lost every match remaining goalless the entire event. Early in 2006, Australia's streets were empty and there was silence through out the nation as they versed Uruguay for a place in the 2006 World Cup. We qualified for the second time in history after defeating Uruguay in a chair-gripping penalty shoot-out. The silence was shattered as every patriot, sport-loving Aussie, roared in happiness.

Tim Cahill broke Australia's goalless World Cup history when he scored a double against Japan to lead his country to their first victory in the event. On top of the world, the Socceroos versed Brazil and were defeated 0-2 in what well known sport commentators referred to as a match Australia outplayed the number one soccer nation. After drawing with Croatia and moving into the second round of the World Cup, Australia faced soccer giants Italy.

The second round match kicked off and remained goalless for 92 minutes. In the 92nd minute and 50th second, with 10 seconds remaining in the game, Italian Fabio Grosso dribbled the ball into the penalty box. Australian Lucas Neill went to the ground as he tried to tackle the Italian, but a second later Fabio tripped (or FELL!) over the Australian defender. The referee, who shall remain nameless to preserve what little safety he has left, awarded the free kick. Francesco Totti then made a lovely penalty shot to qualify Italy into the quarter-finals and to remove every Australian's dream of a World Cup quarter-final birth.

So why have I lectured you on a nation's soccer history you probably don't care at all about?

A few days after experiencing my nation's dramatic soccer loss, I felt hopeless, empty, with a tonne of frustration and anger. I take my international sporting events seriously.

I know I'm being overly expressive about it all, but there are vital life lessons that you need to learn. I was aware of these lessons before experiencing my 'soccer outburst' but everyone needs to be frequently reminded of them.

Life, or soccer in my case, gets the better of us most of the time. We let past experiences attach onto our backs and into our minds pulling our current actions and thoughts backwards. Our past experiences hold us back.

What I'm talking about is 'letting go' or 'moving on'.

It is often either a control issue: something bad happened that negatively affects your life and you desire to influence it. You live in a false sense of hope and control wishing or thinking you could have changed the problem.
It is problem focused: the problem persists in your mind causing lingering pain simply because you focus on the problem and it remains until you are able to let it go and move on.

My beloved Socceroos would have faced the control issue. In the last 10 seconds in what has taken over 76 years to happen, a harsh call was made and they were removed from the competition. 39 972 106 minutes had passed since the first World Cup and the last 10 seconds determined the end result. The last 10 seconds! I'd calculated the time since the first World Cup to the penalty shoot because this is essentially the opportunity the Socceroos have had for World Cup success.

Whether the call was right or not is beyond my point here. It is a harsh world. I couldn't agree more with "the worst thing, will happen at the worst time". The Socceroos, namely Lucas Neill, would be asking themselves "what if... what if this happened? What if another referee was in the game? What if I had done this?" I guarantee they would have been living in a false sense of control thinking about what they could have done to prevent the loss from occurring by not letting go of history. They are after all, only humans.

I on the other hand, was problem focused. The Socceroos had a superb World Cup and gained the respect as a soccer nation. But no! I complained and whinged for days, unable to move on. Argh! The game was 0-0 until the last 10 seconds! You can learn not only from my focus on the bad result, but also the pain I endured because I did not let go of the past.

Even if you think it's funny because I take the World Cup seriously, try and relate to how you dwell on bad results and don't let go of the past.

There's no way Australia is going into the quarter-finals so why have a little sulk about it? Remember the saying "there's no point crying over spilt milk"? I'm sure you would have heard of the saying before but we let our emotions overpower our logic, dominating our commonsense that history cannot be changed. Heck, I know this well and truly yet Australia bowing out of the World Cup infuriated me for days. We all need to be frequently reminded that history is exactly history. Nothing can be done about the past.

What you do need to take from the past is the lessons you learn. It would be foolish to make a mistake, endure the pain, and learn nothing from it to prevent the same problem from occurring again. I'm sure the Socceroos and all other soccer nations have learned from their World Cup experience.

What you don't need is to take the past with you by not letting go. An examples is not forgiving someone for the pain they've caused you. You are willing to cling onto the unhappiness and pain of a past problem by not forgiving the person that hurt you.

You live in truth and happiness by accepting what you can currently control through living in the present and letting go of the past. Nothing good happens with an unhealthy bondage to past negative events.

It's time to let go of the past that's been holding you back from living a full and happy life. Don't be afraid or lazy to comeback and read this as you're guaranteed to let your emotions dominate your logic and let the past control your happiness again and again. Let go of the past and live in happiness.

I'm now happy for Italy and congratulate them in qualifying for the quarter-finals. The worst possible call from an Aussie's point of view was made at the worst time. The Socceroos didn't make it and I accept that. Well done Italy.
About the Author
Joshua Uebergang is author of a free effective communication skills and self development newsletter that you can signup for now and receive a special bonus. For more happiness related information, visit the key to true happiness.
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