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Spain’s display against Chile means that their only chance of making it to this year’s World Cup final is by doing so on an Xbox, but they’re not the only reigning champions to suffer an early exit. Italy didn’t make it out of their group in 2010 and in 2002 France also failed to progress.
The champions curse extends beyond football; think of smartphone giants Blackberry, or former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe.
Take head of these two mantras to make sure you don’t join the fallen club.
Adapt or Die
One of the reasons behind Spain’s domination of world football was their ability to play ‘tiki-taka’ football. A style also favoured by Spanish powerhouse club Barcelona.
But there were signs that the style was not as effective as it had once been. Barcelona are no longer the force they once were and Spain failed to win last year’s Confederations Cup. Perhaps they should have changed their personnel or perhaps they should have changed their style.
Breaking up a proven winning strategy may seem counter intuitive, but it may be best for long term success. Ask Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. After building a successful company, he made radical changes, such as closing stores and getting rid of expensive coffee machines to make sure the coffee giants would survive the recession.
Changing a winning recipe can extend beyond the boardroom. If a workout has brought you success but you feel bored by it, why not try taking your exercise outside. Women seek novelty in the bedroom. Try spicing things up once in a while.
Stay Hungry and Seek A New Challenge
“Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure,” – former Intel CEO Andrew Grove.
Once you’ve reached the peak of your powers in any field, you need to reassess. Figure out if what drove you to be successful is still a strong motivator and if not, figure out what is.
If Spain won this World Cup, they would have been the first team since 1962 to win two in a row.
Warren Buffet has become one of the richest men in the world, but money is no longer what drives him. Nowadays he spends a lot of time giving it away.
“I know people who have a lot of money,” he says, “and they get testimonial dinners and hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them. When you get to my age, you’ll measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you, actually do love you. That’s the ultimate test of how you’ve lived your life.”