Why is sports a billion-dollar business? Because die hard fans are always willing to be consumed by the excitement of competition.
Fans identify themselves with their heroes, who open up their minds to a wealth of possibilities: upping the ante, breaking records, celebrating the triumph of the human spirit, and empathizing with the drama of the comeback.
Amateur psychologists try to learn the secrets of success of sports heroes and apply them to their field of expertise.
The best metaphor for business is sports. There are winners, losers, in-betweeners, and fence-sitters or spectators.
Compare the stories of sports icons (Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Manny Pacquiao) to business icons (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jamie Dimon). They have parallel stories of overcoming humble beginnings or setbacks in life. This simply makes their triumphs so much sweeter.
Entrepreneurs use sports not only to relieve stress but also as a training tool to make them better managers. Athletes have the potential to excel in business and investing simply because they have the DNA of competition, desiring to win, the passion to be the best, and the discipline to finish the race. These are also the hallmarks of a successful entrepreneur.
The only difference is the battlefield of sports is physical. In business and investing, the battlefield is the mind. An athlete only needs to transfer his success skill set of learning, absorbing, and applying from the field to the market. Both athlete and businessman need the same success criteria: common sense, commitment, courage.
It is always best to stick to what you do best. Stay within your circle of competence and try to suck it dry. Once the well runs dry, then it is time to explore something else where you can be good...and happy.
Picture the street-smart Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao. He is the best in his field but, this early, he is already aware that his limelight is dimming. He knows the shelf life of boxers lasts only until age 35 or maybe 38, the peak being 30.
This early he is reinventing himself by dabbling in the arena of politics, where he can parlay his popularity into formidable political capital. He is also basking in a different limelight of business ventures, show business, and lucrative product endorsements.
Whether the dirt of politics will diminish the sheen of this boxing icon is anyone’s guess. But the prospect of replacing the respect and adulation of boxing fans with that of devoted political constituents is too much for anyone to resist.
Print ed: 11/10