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The #1 Takeaway From the USA-Iran Soccer Game

The USA-Iran soccer game, played on Tuesday November 29th, was a big deal.

Not only would the winner move on in the world cup tournament, held only once every four years, but the game also carried immense political pressure.

It was the most watched soccer game in the history of U.S. soccer, with 15.6 million domestic viewers.

Despite the political tension, despite the competitiveness of the game, despite the ambition and hopes to move on in the tournament, there was one lesson learned about kindness and love following the game that was bigger than all of it – it should be the #1 takeaway for us all.

What Happened After the Game

Following the 0-1 loss to the USA, a handful of Iranian players were completely beside themselves. They were overcome with disappointment and completely distraught. They felt they had let their country, their people, and their teammates down.

A number of US players saw this, and instead of joining their team to celebrate, they quickly moved to comfort, console, put their arms around, embrace, and support their fellow sportsmen. They talked with them as fellow players and fellow humans. Included here are a few images that capture this moment.

When asked about this, here’s what player Timothy Weah said:

“I think it’s more than just football. I think the United States and Iran have had so many issues politically and I just wanted to show that we are all human beings and we all love each other. I just wanted to spread peace and love and show him we come from different backgrounds, we grew up differently, but he is still my family, he is still my brother and I love him the same way as the guys I grew up with.”

I Greet This Day with Love

Following the 0-1 loss to the USA, a handful of Iranian players were completely beside themselves. They were overcome with disappointment and completely distraught. They felt they had let their country, their people, and their teammates down.

Study Two

“I will greet this day with love in my heart. For this is the greatest secret of success in all ventures. Muscle can split a shield and even destroy life but only the unseen power of love can open the hearts of people and until I master this art I will remain no more than a peddler in the marketplace. I will make love my greatest weapon and none on whom I call can defend against its force. My reasoning they may counter; my speech they may distrust; my apparel they may disapprove; my face they may reject; and even my bargains may cause them suspicion; yet my love will melt all hearts liken to the sun whose rays soften the coldest clay.”

“But how will I react to the actions of others? With love. For just as love is my weapon to open the hearts of people, love is also my shield to repulse the arrows of hate and the spears of anger. Adversity and discouragement will beat against my new shield and become as the softest of rains.”

“Henceforth will I love all humankind. From this moment all hate is let from my veins for I have not time to hate, only time to love. From this moment I take the first step required to become a man among men. . . . If I have no other qualities I can succeed with love alone.  Without it I will fail though I possess all the knowledge and skills of the world. I will greet this day with love, and I will succeed.”

As a Leader, Choose to Love

Let us not shy away from the use of this word – love – towards family, friends, and all humanity. Let it define your actions, let it define your speech, let it define your character.

Consider the transformational leaders whose examples transcended their time: Walt Disney, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Florence Nightingale, Mahatma Gandhi, et al. All developed genuine and deep love for humankind.

So … when someone offends you, forgive them. When someone provokes you, respond with kindness. When someone speaks ill of you or others, choose to respond with character and civility. When others show anger and hate, show calm and understanding. Never allow gossip and criticism to find your tongue. When someone performs well, be quick to give credit and praise. When someone goes the extra mile, recognize and honor their accomplishment. When someone does their very best, and falls short, celebrate and speak of the effort. Choose always to applaud. Find the qualities that you admire in those around you. Laud your enemies until they become friends and encourage your friends until they become brothers and sisters.

Learn to greet this day, and all people, with love in your heart, and you are truly and meaningfully on your way to becoming your best.

“I just wanted to show that we are all human beings and we all love each other.” – Timothy Weah

Want to see other articles and posts by Becoming Your Best? Go here.

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