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What do you do when you want change?

Author: Mihai Dragoi

I know that when I was little, and even when I was older, I was very passionate about football. But when I say passionate I mean something like at least 3-4 hours of football a day and double that on Saturdays and Sundays (that's how I carried it until I finished high school, much to my parents' dismay...). I think my biggest frustration when I was 7-8. was that there weren't enough kids on my block who wanted to play soccer the way I wanted to. So I tried to change that, to find a way to play soccer more and better.

So I looked to the older boys. Who played football rarely but well. And who, for understandable reasons, didn't even want to hear it when I suggested, suggested, begged them to play with me. All the kids my age told me to sit on my bench. But I had been rejected and, as a result, I had raised the bar: I no longer just wanted to play football with them but I wanted to show them that I was very good and that they should even beat me when making teams. Ah, I forgot to tell you that I was also a bit scrawny, I got winded one or two times, I only liked to play in attack (as a lot of guys wanted - fierce competition)...

I spent many days, "on the sidelines", watching them, waiting for the big boys to notice me and put me in the game. It didn't happen. When you don't have any easy opportunities, but also don't actively do anything to convince others to change anything, you can't get where you want to be.

But an autumn day came, with a little rain. I came home from school with my backpack on my back, wondering if anyone else wanted to play football in that dreary weather. And they were playing...the big of them asked himself out...he had got dirty and was afraid his mother would see him like that.... They saw me and asked me if I didn't want to play. I was ecstatic. I put my backpack on the bar and walked onto the field with gusto. They laughed and told me that if I wanted to play I'd have to sit in, the biggest striker, sitting in goal!?...unacceptable!...I sat quietly in the goalkeeper's seat...waiting for the slightest opportunity to show what I could do...I kicked a few hard balls... and then came my moment... I changed everything with an interception, 3 dribbles, a feint and a goal. Since then I've been playing football with the big boys...

It happened to me many times then to meet people who said they wanted to change things. But who did nothing for change ("I don't understand why my bosses don't promote me! I think I deserve it"). They weren't ready to sacrifice some of their "striker" comfort to really get what they wanted ("I'm a graduate. I can't accept an entry level position"). I told everyone about my football game. I told them about the fact that if you want to change something around you, you first have to change something in your approach, in your behavior, in your mind. I told them that if you want to change something you must never miss an opportunity, you must always be ready to show what you can do.

In the change that you want to produce, it never works to say to a former colleague - already classic - "can't we do it?".

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