10 Key Lessons On Winning We Can Learn From The Proteas’ Loss To NZ

How To Become Wealthy

It is quite ironical that I would want you to draw lessons on winning from a devastating loss such as the one experienced by South Africa against New Zealand.

When the Proteas lost to the Black Caps in the semi-final of the 2015 Cricket World Cup, I felt shattered.

As that ball crossed the boundary for a six, I immediately switched the television off when I saw AB de Villiers bow down in dismay.

Ironically, the winning runs were scored by Grant Elliot, someone who had grown up in South Africa.

As an ultra-marathon athlete who has the run the Comrades Marathon 3 times, I can empathize with the pain that comes with ‘not making it’. I’ve seen too many athletes get cut off after the 12 hour mark of “The Ultimate Human Race”.

The months of training, the hours spent on the road on race day – only to get cut off by a couple of seconds is shattering. In fact, it is so painful, the official who has to sound the gun at the 12 hour mark doesn’t face the athletes. He has to have his back facing towards the athletes so he can sound the gun without experiencing too much emotion.

But I truly believe that ‘losing’ and ‘failing’ is a necessary part of any winning journey. However, going through that loss and failure is important. It is not automatic though. It requires a particular response and attitude.

I’ve listed 10 things we can learn from the Proteas’ loss to the Black Caps. Through these lessons, I’m pretty sure it can help you overcome loss and failure and encourage you to bounce from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.

1. You need to have the required skill, knowledge and talent to win

You’ve heard the cliché: “you can achieve anything you wish in life”.

Every single year we see contestants come onto Idols and make clowns of themselves. Some do it intentionally and it provides a lovely touch of comedy to the entire auditions process. I mean, who doesn’t like the “Wooden Mic”.

Others, however, are horrible singers who think they can achieve anything they wish in life. In the process, they embarrass themselves. Sadly, when the judges give their auditions a “thumbs down”, they cry and become shattered. Often, I ask myself: “do these contestants not realize that they are horrible singers?”

The truth is this: “you can achieve anything you wish in life, provided it is in line with your skills, talents and knowledge”.

The Proteas that played in that semi-final were an incredibly talented and skillful bunch. Their coaching and technical stuff boasted an incredible wealth of knowledgeable and experience. In fact, many rated them as the best team at the World Cup.

Despite this, they loss.

To win in life, you have to identify and harness your talent, skills and knowledge. When you do this, losing along the way, should never break you down completely. Instead, it should encourage you to always bounce back, stronger and wiser.

2. When you lose, absorb the attraction it draws

Losing, despite the skills, talent and knowledge you have, often makes you the centre of attraction.

With technology so advanced, it took mere seconds for the cameras to zoom into some of the Proteas.

Likewise, in your life when you pursue your dreams, you often get friends, family and colleagues to rally behind you in moral support.

And then “boom”, you get hit by this loss. The camera zooms in and magnify the loss. A lot of the times you feel like the ground beneath you could open so you can disappear off the face of the earth.

The cameras zooming in on your loss comes with the territory of wanting to lead a winning lifestyle. Absorb that attention, take it in your stride and keep going!

3. Losing doesn’t make you a loser

The Proteas boasts players like AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir.

De Villiers, widely regarded as the best batsman in the world, was ranked first on the ICC ODI Batting statistics. As you can see below, two of South Africa’s batsmen were ranked first and third:


Likewise, the bowlers dominated the ICC rankings:


Given the above, there is absolutely no way you can define these world class players as “losers”. Losing can never define a winner. Losing is an event or a series of events. But, it should never define anyone’s final destination in life.

Take the losses in your stride, and keep your eyes focused on the bigger picture.

4. You need favour to win

In the post-match interview, AB de Villiers says the following: “You need a little luck. You need things to go for you.”

On a day when the rain started pouring when South Africa was on 218-3 after 38 overs, with AB on 65 from 45 balls and Faf du Plessis on 82 from 103 balls, South Africa definitely had the momentum at that time.

AB was at his usual destructive self. Considering that he holds the record for the fastest 50, 100 and 150 – it is anyone’s guess what could have transpired over the next 12 overs had it not rained.

But, it did rain.

Ultimately, South Africa’s innings was reduced to 43 overs. Of the remaining 5 overs (30 balls) when the Proteas returned to bat after the rain, AB faced less than 10 of those balls.

When New Zealand came out to bat, Dale Steyn who is regarded as the world’s best bowler, was hit for over 8 runs per over in his opening bowling spell, as Brendon McCallum registered 56 from 23 balls. The team missed two crucial run outs, one of which was missed by AB himself. 9 times out of 10, AB would have effected a run out.

I can go on listing a number of things that just didn’t go the Proteas way on the day.

But, that’s just how the cookie crumbles for anyone who wants to be a winner. AB calls it “luck”. I, on the other hand, consider it “favour”.

You simply need favour each day of your life, and especially on big days. Most importantly, you need to acknowledge that “favour” controls the things that you have no control over.

5. Despite the emotional trauma of a loss, life has to continue

“We left it out on the field tonight. That’s all I can ask of the guys. It’s obviously painful. It’s hurting quite a bit. We’re gutted”. These were the words of AB de Villiers in describing the overall emotions of the team.

This followed a scene that included Morne Morkel and Faf du Plessis weeping in Wayne Parnell’s and Hashim Amla’s arms respectively. Even Hashim, Mr. ice-cool himself and the ever resolute, consistent and emotionless strong foundation of the SA batting line up, shed some tears as well.

Losing is emotional and can be a traumatic experience.

Despite this, life continues.

The Proteas could not insist on staying in New Zealand. They had to catch the soonest flight back to South Africa because life has to continue after a loss.

Likewise, if you want to have a winning attitude, you can’t get stuck in events that disappoint you. You’ve got to get the nearest flight out of these situations and events so you can recover and face the battles and victories that lie ahead.

6. There is ALWAYS another chance for you to win

“The sun will come up again tomorrow like our coach said numerous times in the tournament”, AB de Villiers said. How true that analysis was from Russel Domingo, the Proteas coach.

The sun will come up again. There will be a tomorrow. Sadly, when you get stuck in your emotional trauma and disappointing losses, you are likely to miss the rise of the sun and the coming of your tomorrow.

It is important to know that there will always be another chance for you to win.

7. In your loss, you need to count your blessings

Despite the painful loss, the Proteas came back home with a number of blessings to count.

They have beautiful wives and families to be grateful for. They have passionate followers and supporters who still regard them highly. They have incredible careers, such as the IPL and Ram Slam T20, that pay they handsomely.

The team as a whole has a great future ahead. The likes of Wayne Parnell, Quinton de Kock, David Miller and Rilee Rossouw are all younger than 25 of years of age. South Africa can build on this foundation.

Both in their personal and collective capacities, the Proteas are a blessed team.

8. You will be given all sorts of negative labels

For many years, the Proteas have been labelled “chokers”.

Yes, the World Cup is the most prestigious award you can get in any team sporting discipline. But, I certainly don’t subscribe to the school of thought that labels the Proteas as “chokers”.

As you can see below, they were ranked 3rd when they entered into the World Cup:


You can’t get to the 3rd spot as a “choker”.

Yes, you need to set high standards for yourself. Likewise, the Proteas set incredibly high standards for themselves. This comment from AB is testament of that fact: “We play this game to win games of cricket, to take glory home and make a difference to the nation…”

We all want to win. We all want to live a blessed, successful and abundant lifestyle. This pursuit comes with nay-sayers and ‘fans’ who are fickle – happy to call you the “best” today and more than comfortable to call you a “choker” tomorrow.

Forget the labels and focus on the big picture.

9. You don’t always have to be the best to win

If you look at the ICC Top 10 rankings above, you will notice that New Zealand:

  • Was ranked 4th (below South Africa)
  • Had one bowler (Daniel Vetorri – ranked 9th) as opposed to South Africa’s three bowlers who all ranked above Vetorri
  • Had one batsman (Kane Williamson – ranked 7th) as opposed to South Africa’s two batsmen who both ranked above Williamson

You need to constantly expect to receive favour that will elevate you beyond your skills, talent and knowledge. I’ve already acknowledged how important skills, talent and knowledge are, but for you to achieve immaculate results you need favour and that doesn’t mean you have to be the best.

10. You need to have a “Big Picture” mentality

What on earth is this “big picture” that I keep referring to?

Ultimately, the greatest thing anyone who considers themselves a winner can do is aspire to “make a difference in their nation”.

It is the crux of a fulfilling life. It is the essence that gets you over the downs and losses of life. It is the most effective way to lead yourself and others. One of the 4 Key Reasons That Inspired This Blog is that I have made sharing wealth my life purpose.

How appropriate it was for AB to highlight that they wanted to win the World Cup so they could take the glory home and make a difference to their nation.

Personally, I think their efforts in that match were good enough to make a difference to many a fan’s life, regardless of the loss they suffered.

My encouragement to you is this: in anything you do, seek to make a difference the lives of other people.

You might very well turn out to be the best in your line of work or mission. But, as the loss of Proteas proved, being the best doesn’t always make you immune to shattering and emotional moments in your life.

I hope you’ve enjoyed and found value in this post. If you did, I’d appreciate it if you shared it with anyone you feel will benefit from it.

God Bless!



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Leave A Reply (6 comments so far)

  1. Noxolo
    3 years ago

    Blessed completely. Thank you

    • Peteni
      3 years ago

      Hi Noxolo,

      I’m happy you found value in the post.


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