In a skeptical world, miracles still do come true
There were two unlikely events happening in the world this week. Leicester City, who came into the 2015/16 season with 5000-to-1 odds of winning the English Premier League, did just that on Tuesday with two games in hand. Donald Trump, a New York real estate developer who has never held public office, never had a pollster and never had a scriptwriter, talked down his much more experienced rivals, and became the "presumptive" Republican candidate when his closest rival Ted Cruz capitulated on Wednesday. Who knows, perhaps there will be another unlikely outcome when Bukit Batok residents go to the polls this Saturday? Like them or hate them, the story of the Triumph of the Unlikelies shows that in a skeptical world, miracles still do come true. What do these Unlikelies have in common that we can learn from and make our miracle come true? We uncover four....
(1) Unwavering focus
Each of them went into their task with unwavering focus. Sure, nobody starts something with the hopes of losing it, and this can be said of both Trump and Leicester City FC, but each played to win with every outing. There was unwavering focus on what had to be done, and what will be done. Will there be doubts? Sure! But being unwavering is crucial to making the dream come true.
(2) A key tactic
Both parties had a key tactic and this made all the difference. For Leicester City, it was "clean sheets", for Trump it was to "appeal to the unemployed and anxiously employed". Claudio Ranieri, Leicester City coach would always exhort his players before each match, "Come on boys, clean sheet today." For Trump, Carrier was his focus, especially in manufacturing-heavy Indiana, where he railed against them for plans to move their operations to Mexico. Trump said that he would "tax the hell out of Carrier" if they decide to go to Mexico, galvanising the electorate and sealing a resounding victory in a must-win state for Cruz. Trump's constant focus on people and jobs, helped him gain the votes that he needed, and Ranieri's focus on clean sheets allowed him to keep their march to the title intact. If you want your miracle, you need to have your key tactic.
(3) Never-say-die attitude
Both parties have a never-say-die attitude. One of Trump's books, "Never Give Up", serves as a recipe for his success in the primaries. Perhaps it was his massive ego that carries him through without getting fazed by criticism, or his penchant for making up stories, which, in Trump's own words, are called "truthful hyperbole"; but whatever the reason, these keep him energised in a never-say-die aura. This aura protects him against being pulled down, and helps him bounce back over and over again. The same can be said of Leicester City. Their 2-1 defeat to Arsenal in February was meant to spell the end of the dream and punters were predicting that Arsenal would now go on to win the Championship. But that didn't happen. Leicester's ability to bounce back from defeat - their never-say-die attitude - paid dividends. Case in point - Leicester's April home game against West Ham. After squandering a one-goal lead, they ended up 2-1 down with 10 men in the dying minutes. They continued their relentless efforts against the Hammers and was awarded a last-minute penalty, from which they scored. 2-2! It felt like a win! This is the Champion's mettle, and that is what they now are. Each of us needs to nurture our never-say-die attitude, to build momentum towards the end goal we started out with.
It can be said that Ted Cruz read the signs wrongly. While he did not ignore the economy, Cruz focused more on social issues while Trump went on the jobs path. Yet, time and time again, exit polls showed that Republicans were concerned about the state of the economy and for not having a "solution" or at least raising the economic state loud enough, Cruz had only himself to blame for it. Perhaps he was trying to out-flank Trump by casting other focuses in the campaign, but that didn't go well with voters (his other gaffs like calling the basketball hoop a ring in Indiana showed him in extreme poor light, which Trump capitalised upon!). So Trump lucked out. But so did Leicester. The two London clubs - Arsenal and Tottenham - were hot on their heels and could pass them by with their record signings and firepower. But each of them failed, none worse than the spectacular Arsenal implosion, that helped Leicester remain at the top. They were certainly lucky, but it was what they did with their luck that mattered. And the two Unlikelies capitalised on them! So luck is one thing, but how we deal with luck is another. Ultimately, each of us will have our lucky break, but how we react to them, and how we maximise them, will depend on us.
I can't say that I am a fan of both Donald Trump and Leicester City FC, but my thoughts don't matter here. Their results speak for themselves, and the Unlikelies won. They displayed classic traits which we can learn from, and hopefully emulate, in our path to enjoying our miracle ending. Maybe another unlikely will win at Bukit Batok this Saturday?