4 Lessons Malaysians can take away from the 2014 Thomas Cup

The Thomas Cup finals last night left many of us with lack of sleep and fingernails to chew on. The Malaysian and Japanese teams did a good job creating spikes in our heart rates like never before.

And why not? Itís been over two decades since we last saw the Cup, and that could have been our moment to grab it. Alas, after a close fight, the Japanese came out victorious.

Well done, Japan, well done.

Although the Cup is not in our hands now, one would have to admit that Malaysia put up a great fight for it, meanwhile, uniting all of us back home.

In the midst of all the tough competition from Malaysia, though, there are some unmistakable virtues that one can take away from such an event, to apply it into our daily life and careers.

Here are some of them:

1. Support your peers. It makes a bigger impact than you might know.

We witnessed Datuk Lee Chong Weiís victory at the start of the match off last night. Winning two games straight in a row, he went, he fought, and he conquered.

And then he stayed behind with the rest of the energetic supporters, including the Sports and Youth Minister himself, to cheer on for Malaysia during the other matches. This is not even mentioning the stream of support pouring in from Malaysians all over social media.

In life, you never know how your simple words and gestures of support can impact others. Having someone prep talk you when you feel like youíre out of the game and believe in you when you have lost faith in yourself can have a massive impact on the next step that you make.

So, be supportive to your colleagues, peers, and team mates when you have the opportunity. It might just help them heaps to get through that daunting task thatís awaiting them.

2. Know thy enemy before heading into battle.

As Ďmamakí joint spectators, it is all too easy to sit back in our plastic chairs and cheer/cuss at the projector screen.

Unless youíve had a taste of training for a competitive sport before, the rest of us wouldnít be able to imagine the amount of preparation, training, and analysing that was done before heading out to the court.

Not only do they build their physical strength, technique, and mental stamina, but studying their opponentís behaviour and tactical habits are also aspects that are heavily emphasised. So, if youíre going for the kill, be it in business, sports, or politics of any kind, first, respect your opponent / competitor.

Never underestimate their strengths, and understand that overlooking a tiny detail can be detrimental to your preparation efforts.

Know thy enemy, and strategise an effective plan that both plays on your strengths and their weaker points. And whether you emerge victorious or otherwise, always, always be a good sport.

3. Always have a future plan in store.

It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the present, so much so that we tend to overlook the needs of the future.

As much as weíve built our confidence and pride on Datuk Lee Chong Weiís amazing skills and manoeuvres, our star athlete can only continue playing competitively for so much longer.

Hence, more Malaysian badminton players are being groomed to be our next representatives, and if all goes well, our next winners. A few months back there was even an ad going round to recruit children into the sport, with the main aim of training them up to be future sportsmen of the country.

So, be it in everyday life or your career, always make sure that you have some sort of plan in store for the future. Companies and organizations should make an effort to step back and evaluate their succession planning of their company.

Have they groomed enough of their employees to be able to graduate to more managerial roles? Are they only counting on the current HODs and managers while overlooking the leadership potential in more junior employees? Will they be excessively vulnerable if someone from top management resigns suddenly?

These are among some questions that should be evaluated by Human Resources regularly.

4. Sometimes, things donít turn out they way you want them to.

And itís totally okay. Sometimes, you want something so bad that it hurts. Last night, it was the Thomas Cup (and a public holiday, letís face it). But not everything can be in our control.

Our national players trained hard and fought hard for it, but nevertheless, the close match eventually tipped over to the Japanese side. While we were sitting at home, not daring to breath while each smash comes and goes, we can only try to picture the emotions that the players themselves were going through.

In the end, we may not have come out victorious with the Cup, but our team put their 200% into it, and gave the Japanese a tough competition.

The important point is that we donít give up hope. Thereís always a next time, and the time after that. What counts is that our players gave their all, and made us proud to be Malaysians.

To all our players in the Malaysian national team, thank you for bringing your best into the games last night. Cup or no Cup, there are no words to explain the pride and joy it brings us to see our national team putting up a worthy fight for the trophy.

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