Military Success Tips from a Soccer Legend: Pele

In case you don’t know, I am a subscriber to Success magazine.  In fact, it’s the only magazine I read. I love the magazine because of all the great inspirational articles and success tips.  In one of their past issues (July 2011), there was an interview with soccer legend Edson Arantes do Nascimento. If you’ve never heard his name before, he has a nickname too, “PELE.” In fact, he’s quite perhaps the greatest athlete in the history of the world.

I read his interview and picked up a few key points that really got me thinking. Listed below, you will see my top five key points from the article. Below each quote, I will provide my two cents.

1. “Preparation doesn’t start a day or week before the game or event.”

My Take: If you want to succeed you must prepare. You must work hard and work smart. You must practice over and over until you become proficient. You must keep practicing until you become excellent.

2. “Love what you do… That passion will give you strength, discipline, the desire to work hard and the humility to understand you can always improve.”

My Take: If you really want to succeed at something, follow your heart.  Find something you are passionate about and focus your time, money and energy pursuing your passion.

3. “You cannot win a tournament without a good strategy, discipline and perseverance.”

My Take: Winning is a science. It doesn’t just happen by accident. You must have a game-plan and then you must take action. When you face challenges, you must keep going until you reach your goal.

4. “To achieve success, you need determination, hard work, respect for your mates and your adversaries, and most of all a love for what you’re doing. Not only in football, but for everything in life.”

My Take: Nothing good in life comes easy. You must work hard. Study your enemy or competition and learn from them.

5. “Know that you will fail along the way toward achieving your goal. Keep going anyway.”

My Take: Never give up and never surrender. The difference between success and failure is quite small. Successful people keep going. It’s always the darkest hour, right before victory.

Regardless of what you do for a profession these principles apply to you. Whether you are a Soldier, an employee, or an entrepreneur, you should listen to this advice.  And it really boils down to this:

  • Love what you do.
  • Formulate a game-plan for success
  • Take action and work hard
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Never quit!

I hope that helps.  Have a great day!  And don’t forget to share your thoughts.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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3 thoughts on “Military Success Tips from a Soccer Legend: Pele”

  1. Pele defintely echoes fundamental principles of leadership, especially military leadership. Justin, as you emphasized, discipline and perseverence is critical. The steady drive that it takes to accomplish anything worthwhile is a hard pill for some to swallow, especially for those who have wallowed in the pool of instant gratification most of their lives. But if they would take the time to study even a few true leaders or anyone who has been successful in their endeavors, they will find that success took hard work over time. There is no magic to it, just good old-fashioned hard work and dedication.

  2. While I am not a soccer fan, by any means, I think Pele offers some great advice here, as you pointed out, Chuck. My personal favorite is “You cannot win a tournament without a good strategy, discipline and perseverance”. I think you hit the nail on the head and I think you can look at any famous leader in the Army and find a quote similar to that affect. I find myself that I have a little book and I write down 3, 6 and 1-year goals for each aspect of my life (i.e. Military Career, Civilian Career, Financial, Relationship, etc.) It may sounds dumb, but I spot check myself every 3 months or so to see if I am on track and I think this is a great way to get where you are going. It requires, like Pele said, perseverance and most importantly DISCIPLINE!

    1. Perseverance and discipline are my two favorite qualities for success, but they are a constant work in progress for me. It’s easy to drift from time to time and get off track. Sometimes it’s easy to quit when things aren’t working for you.

      My biggest struggle has always been food, believe it or not. I’ve tried every diet under the sun (embarrassed to say that), without much success. I’ve finally made the decision to give up a few foods that keep the weight on me. I’m doing good, but I have to work at it by the hour!

      Thanks for your comment.

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