Graeme Smith versus The Gambia


Congratulations to Graeme Smith, who takes the field today, earning his 100th Test as Protea Captain.

Some of us may recall how he took the reins from Shaun Pollock as a 22 year-old, and had to fight to be seen as credible. He earned his stripes as a fearless and courageous captain, never allowing other teams to dominate. Working with Shane Warne in the IPL seemed to take the edge off the negative aspects of his intensity, and brought even more discipline to his fighting leadership.

It is difficult to imagine how Graeme would have grown to be the icon of wilful perseverance, had he not been exposed to hardship. He lost the ODI and T20 captaincy, and his position as opening batsman was in doubt a year ago. Yet he has worked on his game, confounding critics by adding new (off-side) strengths to his armoury of weapons. Excellent! A true example of the growth mindset, first researched by Carol Dweck.

In contrast, we see The Gambia shortening the civil service work week to four days (http://bbc.in/XrpOSs). While rest and “tending to one’s fields” are admirable and necessary, this will not encourage wealth creation for their nation. Wealth seems to follow those who workharderthan most, not less. Not that it means we need to be cubicle slaves (thanks, Tom Peters) or even at the office, but we certainly need to use our free time to advance ourselves. We need our Saturdays to be used for research, reading, learning, growing, writing, training or marketing our unique contribution. Then we may stand out from the crowd, rather than be commoditised, as many have been.

Thank-you, Graeme, for showing us how to lift our heads out of our work and be more than average.

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