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“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  – Winston S. Churchill

I am a Kansas City Chiefs fan.  How come a Brazilian New Yorker is a KC Chiefs’ fan?  I will explain: The ex boyfriend was a hardcore Chiefs’ fan.   I learned the rules of American football by not missing any games while the relationship lasted.  I even spent one week in River Falls, WI to go to the Chiefs training camp.  I also love an underdog and they certainly fit that category.

After the breakup I regretfully threw out or gave away everything that had to do with Chiefs. I incorrectly thought that  now that I don’t have the boyfriend I had to also relinquish the team, along with the house and the dog.  Later I realized that I didn’t have to lose the team because I lost the boyfriend.  Last year the Chiefs hired  Cairo Santos, a Brazilian player as a kicker.  They are the first NFL team to hire a Brazilian player.  I saw that as a sign that the Chiefs were meant to be my team.

“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.”  – Tom Bodett

This season after losing 5 straight games they go on to win 11 straight and were in the Super bowl playoffs.  I was excited, happy and hopeful.  Then they met the reigning champions, the Patriots. The Chiefs stumbled and fell.  The score ended at 20 to 27.  It was a winnable game.  There were chances.  What happened?

There is no precise answer, no one knows;  but I realized that their loss could teach me a few things:

  • Take advantage of momentum. Momentum was on their side.  Sometimes things are going our way and instead of keep going we stop as we get very close to the goal.  We tire, we get lazy, we lose faith and we end up missing the moment.  When things are going your way, be grateful and keep going, work even harder and don’t stop until achieving your goal.
  • Believe in yourself and in your achievements. I felt the Chiefs felt they were already lucky enough to get as far as they got after a dismal start.  Do you ever feel like a fake?  Sometimes I do.  Especially when I get praises from people.  Sometimes I doubt if I deserve all the praise and all the blessings I have.  When we have that attitude, when we start thinking that whatever we have is because of luck and not our hard work then we become powerless.   Luck can give out at any second.  Take ownership of your hard work.  Praise yourself. Recognize how hard you have worked to be where you are.  Be willing to work even harder to get farther.  Believe that God rewards the ones willing to put in the work.
  • Take advantage of opportunities.  The Chiefs had plenty of chances to turn the game around, but somehow it didn’t happened. Will they have another chance?  I hope so, but who knows.   How many times do you look back and realize that you have missed opportunities.  Looking back you realize you were so close and yet you gave up.  Hindsight is 20/20 but my point here is the need to make sure that we become more aware of present and future opportunities.  Some opportunities won’t knock twice; when it knocks try to grab it before it is too late.
  • Don’t defeat yourself before you even begin. I think the Chiefs never believed they could win against the Patriots.  How many times have you given up on something before even trying? We often think something is too hard and we are not good enough.  And at those times that we decide to try anyway we don’t give our all because we don’t believe our all will be good enough, so we go in half-hearted.  When you decide to do something give it 100%. Belief in yourself, do not sabotage yourself with self doubt.  Believe that you can be victorious.  Visualize yourself being victorious.

“Not all dreamers are winners, but all winners are dreamers. Your dream is the key to your future. The Bible says that, “without a vision (dream), a people perish.” You need a dream, if you’re going to succeed in anything you do.” – Mark Gorman

  • Don’t accept less than what you deserve. The Chiefs had a great season and were very happy to get to the payoffs, but getting close is not good enough. Coming in second is not good enough.  Aim high, aim for the top and don’t settle for less than the stars.  What do you think are you deserving of? In life you will get what you work hard for and you will get what you think you deserve.  The Universe is conspiring to get you what you want, aim high and don’t settle for less.
  • Don’t let obstacles paralyze you. The Chiefs knew the Patriots were a superior team.  The Patriots were, after all, the reigning champs.  The Patriots got into their head.  Don’t let hardships, obstacles and curve balls stop you on your way to getting what you want.  When we start thinking that the opponent/ goal is too far, too great, too hard, and too unattainable then we already lost.   Don’t let the size of the goal defeat you.  Have courage and trust your abilities!
  • Don’t stop trying. Don’t stop fighting.  The Chiefs had been giving their all up to the playoffs. Even while missing key players they had been able to win against stronger teams.  Did they think it was already in the bag? Was it a case of over-confidence?  Don’t slow down assuming something is already yours.  Dream but make sure you act to make that dream come true.  Nothing substitute hard work!

“Not to give up under any circumstances should be the motto of our life: we shall try again and again, and we are bound to succeed. There will be obstacles, but we have to defy them. So do not give up, do not give up! Continue, continue! The goal is ahead of you. If you do not give up, you are bound to reach your destined goal.” – Sri Chinmoy