Jun 21, 2014 1 Min Read

Sport transcends physical fitness and mental alertness. While playing sport is good exercise, it is the life lessons that probably matters most.

Here are some takeaway lessons from sports. To help us remember, let us take a look at the acronym SPORT:


There is strong evidence that sports helps good character-building such as self-discipline. Self-discipline is an important key to success in life.

Milkha Singh, famously known as the Flying Sikh, trained himself to run five hours daily on different terrain to hone his craft. He made an impression in the 1960 Rome Olympics 400m final by finishing fourth.

“You have to be disciplined if you want to be world class.”  Milkha Singh


Nawal El Moutawakel spent her childhood running through the streets of Casablanca in Morocco. Her triumphant win in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics 400m hurdles event earned her the first gold medal for Morocco. She became the first Muslim woman to achieve the feat.

Similarly, we need to persevere in the face of life’s adversities, get over the hurdles and keep running again.


Jeremy Lin was often subject to racial abuse from the media and opposing fans when he played in the NBA. He chose not to react but focused on improving his skills.

His “Linsanity” success story eventually silenced his critics. Jack and Suzy Welch of General Electric fame wrote that Lin’s rise was a lesson to business leaders not to let bureaucracy stifle talent.


Regarded as the best football player of all time, Pele is widely respected by many, fans and critics alike.

Off the pitch, the Brazilian native is always upbeat. J.B. Pinheiro, former Brazilian ambassador to the United Nations, commented that Pele “did more to promote world friendship and fraternity than any other ambassador anywhere.”


Sports involves intense teamwork. In a game, players should have clear understanding of everyone’s roles before they can tactically play as a team. Ultimately, it is the team’s success that matters, not individual glory.

Through great teamwork, Bayern Munich recently won the Laureus World Team of the Year 2014, after becoming the first football club to complete the treble of UEFA Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup.

With SPORT (self-discipline, perseverance, optimism, respect and teamwork), we can definitely achieve more in life and see transformation in organisations. So, why not take these lessons to heart and apply them at work and at play?

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Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 21 June 2014

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Lay Hsuan was part of the content curation team for, playing the role of a content gatekeeper as well as ensuring the integrity of stories that came in. She was an occasional writer for the team and was previously the caretaker for Leaderonomics social media channels. She is still happiest when you leave comments on the website, or subscribe to Leader's Digest, or share Leaderonomics content on social media.

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