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Discover how emulating the Aussie way of playing cricket can lead to success in any profession or field of work. Learn about their sense of urgency, self-discipline, and focus on achieving outstanding results. Find out how mental toughness, teamwork, and the "flow" experience contribute to their success. Apply these principles to excel in your own career and life.
The Aussie way of playing cricket ought to be emulated by all of us, whatever our profession or field
of work – to ‘just think and do it’ like they do.
What makes Australia a champion side in modern cricket? Answer: the team’s sense of urgency, a method of getting it right, and getting it done. What also drives cricketers from Down Under is self-discipline; forget about ‘sledging’ for a moment. Self-discipline brings out something special in all of us. It allows us to have fun and get more out of not just cricket, but also life, job, career, or any given workplace situation. This works on a simple premise. The self-disciplined cricketer, or worker, experiences intense pride as their evolution and hard work become the flagship for oneself and the team as one unit. In other words, it forms the foundational principle for the higher purposes of one’s life and/or career, business, and professional success.
The Quest for Excellence
Playing the willow sport has brought the Australians, and continues to bring them, happy returns – including a joyful fare at the stakes and excellence in word and deed. The way this has come about is something that all of us would do well to learn and apply in our area of activity – in academics, relationships, profession, job, or career. Aussie cricketers, if you take an in-depth view, integrate wholesome thoughts on the purpose of achieving the ‘flow’ experience, or what is called ‘being-in-the-zone’ in athletics. Their intensity is strong and purposeful. They are clear about their perceptions – a wonderful by-product, again, of a disciplined game plan.
Some of their more notable qualities are:
A sense of mission. Australian cricketers have a sense of mission. Not that they haven’t had their ups and downs, won and lost test matches, test series, one-day matches, and T20 matches or tournaments. But the big point is that they have worked hard for a broader purpose. In the process, they have motivated themselves and others – primarily because for them work is fun, and vice versa.
Concern about results and process. Players from Down Under are in the habit of doing their best; they just want to achieve outstanding results. They set high goals, and they are consistent in their resolve.
Mental and physical calmness. One may think this is a big joke – in view of their past, also recent, disgraceful behaviour, throwing decorum to the wind, aside from ‘sandpaper-gate’ and other scandals. Not at all. It is not that the Aussies aren’t volatile; they certainly are. Forget gamesmanship, or sledging, again, for a minute, because we need to grudgingly accept the fact that the Aussies have often displayed their mental and physical
intensity by way of their focused approach to their effort on the cricket field. They are firm on the task; at the same time, they are at ease. Also, once out there in the middle, they don’t care for distractions.
Optimal concentration. Thanks to their mental and physical ‘poise,’ the Aussies have developed the ability to do what is necessary to achieve peak performance. In other words, to focus intensely.
Sensory insight. Their drive for mental and physical fitness and balance has sure gone a long way. It has assisted them to perform at their peak – more so, by sensing and responding to needs, not just wants, especially when the requirement is urgent or when there is a sudden call for a change of strategy.
Result-oriented approach. The Aussies have produced significant results, because they have based their vision on a meaningful enterprise – to win.
Correcting the course when needed. The Aussies have made it their preserve to either stick to a course or modify it on the spur-of-the-moment. They also practice ‘self-leadership’ – achieving results without forceful ‘coaxing’ from their coach or manager.
The ‘Flow’ Experience – Attentive & Vibrant
The Australian players, as touched upon earlier, often achieve the flow experience, which we will now examine in detail. It means just this: when you are in the zone, you are achieving peak performance, primarily because your level of concentration is so total, complete. You feel alive, animated, and fully attentive to what you are doing.
Some of the common features of the flow experience are:
- High challenge
- Clear goals
- Focus on psychic energy and attention
- Continuous feedback
Paradoxically, there’s also a loss of self-consciousness. You are not really concerned with yourself at that moment. You just belong to it. You are fully involved and committed to your work. This is another reason why most Aussie players who experience the flow feeling are often self-motivated, irrespective of one’s status, prestige, pay-packet, or perks associated with their job.
The importance of being ‘with’ the flow cannot be over-emphasised. A person who is experiencing the flow feeling doesn’t stop and think as to what is happening. In this case, every Aussie player accepts that their precise actions are taking place naturally. It’s like that typical feeling you get while reading a book. You are totally absorbed. You don’t even realize that you are turning the pages of the volume in hand, or flipping them, because your fingers do the job for you.
The flow experience, of course, is not ‘easy-come, easy-go.’ Hence, most Aussie players have incorporated a few essential guidelines, which all of us could follow with good effect. Here goes:
- Firstly, they have set an overall goal, as maybe realistically feasible, including many sub-goals.
- Secondly, they have found the means of evaluating progress in terms of the goals chosen, and in tune with what they are doing.
- Thirdly, they have always focused on the ‘flow’ feeling and developed the necessary skills to capitalize on the opportunities available.
Mental Toughness & Teamwork
You will realize that Team Australia has a well-moulded, finely tuned, and well-synthesized, framework – a team that thinks as one. This is its greatest strength – one that you would also necessarily relate to individual, or personal, and team, success at the workplace. This is more than just mental toughness, rather, it is the ability to call upon one’s talents and skills on demand in any situation.
The point is, the Aussies are a tough bunch. They are resilient and self-disciplined. They can stand up to every possible competitive pressure. In psychological terms, mental toughness involves a functional state of awakening that allows the mind and body to reach their full potential – what is often referred to as the ideal performance state. When you reach this state, you feel relaxed, energised, alert, and also confident. You attain a high level of concentration, no less, and do your best in any given task at the workplace.
How have the Aussies developed mental toughness to stay on track? When they put up a good show, which they often do, they carefully monitor their progress, and attend to weaknesses through video aids and ‘teaching’ programmes – not always in the ‘meeting room,’ but on the field of play. This is a simple premise. It is also profound. This applies to all of us, whatever our profession, or field of work – to ‘just think and do it’ like the Aussies do.
This enhances our own belief and conviction in our own strength of mind and also ‘jazzes-up’ our life and purpose at the workplace. This is simply because a strong motive is proof enough of what we are capable of doing and achieving. It leads to augmented self-confidence which, doubtless, gives us the power to transform otherwise ordinary experiences into moments of happiness and enjoyment.
The inference is obvious. The purpose of doing our job well enables us to achieve goals. It helps us stretch our capabilities and, in so doing, propels our team’s overall success and growth.
- The article was originally published in Career Ahead April 2022 issue.