Career Guide

Reason to believe

How watching Ola Bola left me with a heart full of hope

To be honest, I initially thought watching Ola Bola was going to be a waste of my time and money, no thanks to my prejudice against Malaysian movies; although, something tells me Iím not the only one who thinks that way.

But, the movie proved me wrong.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and took away four inspiring lessons. Warning, spoilers alert!

1 Be Visionary

Harry Mountain, the new coach, was portrayed as a visionary leader in the movie. He had a clear purpose, which was to lead the team to victory.

He was eager to accomplish it, and he did whatever it took to achieve the end goal. He even came up with a new formation for the team. Despite doubts from the public and his team, he believed in his strategies.

The first step to accomplishing something is to have a vision, as it helps to set a direction. It is only after having a direction that we can work our way towards it.

As quoted by Paul Arden, the former creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi: ďYour vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have. Without having a goal, itís difficult to score.Ē

2 Hold On To Your Dreams

In the movie, both Chow Kwok Keong and Muthu Kumar were told to give up on their dreams to play in the national football team, and to get a proper job to support their families financially.

Chowís sister has always been unhappy with her brotherís burning passion for football. She kept insisting that he quit football and secure a full-time job. On the other hand, Muthuís father was disappointed in him pursuing football instead of helping him in the estate.

Yet, both characters held on to their dreams tightly and successfully achieved it.

Would you give up on your dreams?

Whenever we quit on something, we lose possibilities and opportunities to see our dreams come true. Although the process of achieving our dreams is often long and tough, the worst regret in life is when we give up on our dreams too soon. Our failures may be painful for a season, but our regrets will probably haunt us for the rest of our lives.

If you intend to quit, remember why you started dreaming in the first place. Keep reminding yourself that good things in life will not come easy. You will often find that there is more meaning and value to your success when you realise your dreams the hard way.

3 Keep Trying

Failing is painful. Itís even more so if you fail in front of everyone.

In the movie, the national football team experienced a streak of embarrassing losses, but they persevered and kept trying. Mountain learnt from those failures and came up with new strategies until the team started winning matches again.

We donít have to look at failures in a negative light. Rather, we should look to them as object lessons. Many of us are afraid of attempting new things because we are afraid of failure.

However, failure is often the key to great success. It is through failures that we learn the most and are aware of areas that we need to improve on continuously.

4 No Man Is An Island

I am no athlete but I am sure the only way to win football matches is by working together as a team. That wasnít the case for Ahmad Ali in the film.

He initially refused to work with his teammate, Eric Yong, as he disliked him and was doubtful of Yongís competency as a player. It was only after he started trusting his team members and working together as a team, that the team finally started winning matches.

All of us have someone we donít quite get along with in life due to personal differences and personality clashes. It can be quite difficult when you have to work with such people.

Like it or not, team dynamics can affect the outcome of your work. If you want to see great results, you just need to put aside personal differences, respect each other, and work together towards a common goal.


This movie is a brilliant film because it moves us to appreciate and celebrate the beauty of our rich diversity. It has some powerful lessons we can learn from, especially in such challenging times.

To those who have not seen it, I highly recommend that you do. Trust me, you will not regret it. Youíll leave the theatre believing again.

John hopes your love for Malaysia will be refuelled after watching this film that tugs at the heartstrings of many. Share with him your favourite scene from the movie by e-mailing him at Article first published on