Have you ever played soccer with a Brazilian? On the soccer field, there are many styles that you come to recognize if you have played against enough international players. Germans have a different style than Mexicans. As most soccer players will tell you, the Brazilian style of soccer is something special. Their approach is also why they are seen every World Cup as the team to beat and why Brazilian players have such a legendary status beyond players from most other cultures (the biggest stars or your own team biases not withstanding). What is it that makes the Brazilians stand out?
The reason comes down to individuality. As a kid growing up playing soccer in America, the one thing I was often taught was to get rid of the ball. Holding onto the ball was the worst thing you could do, because eventually you would lose it and then your team would be in a bad situation. The Brazilians take the opposite approach. Kids grow up practicing all kinds of ways of improving their ball control so that they won’t lose the ball. Their mindset is not about passing before they lose the ball, it’s about getting good enough so that no one else can take the ball away from them.
Practicing to be the best is different from practiced to succeed. Success means you are ahead of the game … being the best means that you define the game. Business is the same as soccer in this sense. You will probably achieve what you have been training for if you are good. The real question is whether you are training with the right goal in mind.
Update: Here are a few videos of the Brazilian team in action, in case you’re not a soccer player and haven’t seen them in action: