Archive for July, 2015

Sportsmanship creates an aura of invincibility around those who practise it .

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by Rob Opie No Comments




The moment’s that challenge us most – define us : Lewis Pugh 



There is something special about sport. It consumes our human emotions. It speeds up winning and losing – the successes are instant, the failures dramatic. Sportsmanship and Gamesmanship transparent for all to see.

Sport is a microcosm of life.

And most of all it inspires hope in humanity –  and the human collective.

On and off the field of play, the frenetic and accelerating pace of our social media-driven era, places our sporting champions live on center stage – none more so than at 2015 J- Bay  Surf Pro , where two of the world’s top surfers, Mick Fanning and Julian Wilson were locked in a world title battle .

But, none of that mattered, when a great white shark attacked Mick Fanning during the high profile event final, which was streamed live to millions of viewers around the world .

The extra ordinary courage and camaraderie of the pair has been applauded around the world as a show of true sportsmanship – Julian Wilson paddling frantically towards his world title competitor, fellow Australian countryman and friend – to help save him from the jaws of a great white.

I felt like I couldn’t get there quick enough. I thought he was gone, he’s gone under ‘. Julian Wilson

And later when asked in a World Surf League interview if the world title still ‘meant anything’?

No, not at all. I’m just happy that he’s alive – he’s here ’

After the traumatic experience, the World Surf League cancelled the rest of the event, with Wilson and Fanning both agreeing to take second place in the competition.
For Mick Fanning, who has already won three World Titles , and ironically holds the nick name ‘ White Lightening ‘ , his showdown with a great white has further built his legend – and has shown how true sportsmanship counts in real life situations .

The 34 year old Fanning is known for his modesty and understatement. He has overcome numerous obstacles to reach the peak of his sport, having come back from serious injury, and the death of his brother in a car accident.
This time around it was his courage, his bravery and the collective support of a fellow competitor and rescue teams, which saw him through physically unscathed , yet mentally shaken.

I just can’t believe it. I’m just tripping. To walk away from that, I’m just so stoked : Mick Fanning

Sportsmanship creates an aura of invincibility around those who practice it. Defining moments – moments of great courage – make Great Champions .

And great sporting champions like Fanning and Wilson have shown the world how unimportant the ever increasing modern trend towards ‘Gamesmanship’ can prove to be – in sport and life itself.

Winning and Losing – pale into insignificance in real life situations.

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Mavericks with Mentors

Posted on: July 14th, 2015 by Rob Opie No Comments

 Nothing great is ever achieved alone   


Whether it’s in business, sport or life, it’s tough at the top – tough to get there and even tougher to stay there. It’s here that mentorship plays a key role.

On recently claiming his third Wimbledon title, Novak Djokovic had this to say:

I’m 28, I feel good. I don’t feel old. I going to try and push my own limits and see how far I can go.”

Djokovic went on to pay special tribute to the support he had received from his coach and mentor Boris Becker, himself a three-time winner at Wimbledon.

In the tough times, Boris was there, as was the entire team – encouraging me to keep going, supporting me. That’s a unity that keeps us together and allows us to experience these beautiful moments.”

The player’s box at Wimbledon reveals how carefully the champions pick their inner circles of trust – their mentors. In Roger Federer’s box sits coach and mentor Stefan Edberg. When the going gets tough, the champions come back to the fire, not for coaching, but for mentorship.

And it showed even more this past weekend, when Roger Federer was able to reverse the Wimbledon result, in Cincinnati, with what appears to be an ad- hoc battle plan of power tennis.

Jim Rohn famously said:

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

It’s no secret that the people around you can either make you or break you.

In golf it’s no different. Tiger Woods seems to be a big fan of going it alone on the road called “The School of Hard Knocks,” whereas Rory McIlroy prefers the far easier road of modeling the success of successful people.

It’s called taking heed of “The Great Champions “.

He’s recently forged a close mentorship bond with Jack Nicklaus, and even bought a house close to Mr. & Mrs. Nicklaus. Mentorship is an immensely powerful tool, especially when you’re the World Number One! It’s a win-win scenario for Jack too. It’s called passing the torch, as there is something special in knowing that someone great is using one’s ideas, one’s thinking, one’s wisdom – to become greater – and to go on to become genius .

Mentors are the ones who guard the fine lines of life – the fine lines between focus and obsession– between sportsmanship and gamesmanship– between attitude and arrogance – between pedestal and pit – between hungry and greedy – between winning against the odds and winning at all cost– between rut and grave – between genius and madman – between human greatness and human implosion.

Jason Day on winning the US PGA at Whistling Straits had this to say:

If I didn’t drive it as long and as straight as I did this week – there’s no chance I would have won it by hitting it just average.

The Great Champions like to push the human limits.

At heart, they’re all Mavericks, with Mentors.


Take Heed, Grow, Collaborate, Innovate, Mentor, Lead, Inspire   


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Fortune favours the brave

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by Rob Opie No Comments

Be Brave. Be Bold. Be First

Next week all golfing eyes will be on St Andrews as Jordan Spieth continues in his quest to become the first ever player to capture a Golfing Grand Slam.


Judging by his spectacular performance at Chambers Bay, it’s certainly within his own ‘realm of possibility’.

I’m just really fortunate to be on this side of it Jordan Spieth on winning the US Open at Chambers Bay.

Spieth seems to have all the aces up his sleeve, or should we rather say the full bag of C’s – ‘The Stuff of Champions’.

Let’s take a brief look – as they all apply in real life as well.


At 21 years of age Spieth has it – and more . He says he was fortunate at Chambers Bay – with Dustin Johnson missing two ‘clutch putts’ on the  72nd . But , moments earlier Spieth had birdied the very same hole.


Chambers Bay is not a place for the feint hearted. At well over 7000 meters long, it was described by many as ‘basically un-playable’. Whilst many golfers spent their time criticizing and complaining about the course, Spieth went about his business with a different mindset – with a game plan to conquer – not fight the course .


There is a funny thing about great champions. The greater they become – the more humble they become. At 21 ,Spieth seems humble beyond his years. Those close to him speak with great admiration and affection for the Texan who’s inspired by a very close bond with his younger autistic sister.

His feet firmly on the ground – drawing strength from adversity .


Spieth may not be the longest driver on tour, but his all round game is setting him up to soon be the World Number One. Capability is about creating – and then coming from a position of strength.

In Spieth’s case like with most of us , talent and technology can only take one so far , and then it comes down to practice, preparation and planning – both physical and mental.


Golf is a game of consistency. Spieth is fast closing in on injured Rory Mcllroy’s World Number One ranking, being one of only six players to ever win the Masters and US Open in the same year.


And add certainty and control to consistency. They’re something which champion golfers thrive on. But, they also know that every tournament, every course, every hole, every shot is different. They grasp the notion of ‘control the controllables’.

There’s always an element of luck in golf.

Maybe philosopher Lucius Seneca captured it best:

 Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity 


Champion golfers also grasp the fine line between the mental states of concentration and awareness. It keeps them fresh for when they have to ‘step up to the plate’. Spieth certainly did that at Chambers Bay – stepping up to birdie the 72nd.

Knowing when to concentrate, and when not to, preserves one’s finite energy levels .

Don’t hurry, don’t worry. Enjoy the roses along the way . Walter Hagen



Lewis Pugh , the human polar bear , was once given this  powerful advice ;


If you’re going to swim the English channel – you must leave your doubt on the beach in Dover ‘

Champions zone in on ‘the one thing. Spieth has a golfing Grand Slam in his sights.


Champions love challenge – they regard challenge as a building block . Never allowing challenge to become constraint.


Champions clean out their inner minds –  their fear , their doubt, their worry –  to open up for the creative flow of their genius.

Enabling them to create those ‘magic moments ‘ ……those magic shots.


Conquering a monster course like Chambers Bay is never easy. It will be the same at the home of golf: St Andrews.

It takes Faith, Confidence and Belief ( F.C.B ) – the hallmark of every great champion.

Spieth now finds himself on another continent  in  unfamiliar  surroundings . Can he lift the Claret jug and continue his epic journey to a first ever Grand Slam , or will someone take it away from him.

It’s unlikely, as this young star is cool, calm ,collected  – and composed .

It’s the stuff of champions.

With Rory now injured ,  he has a great chance , but then again golf is a funny game .

Rob Opie can be contacted at . For more insight , innovation and inspiration please visit


Posted on: July 2nd, 2015 by Rob Opie No Comments

The idea in life is not to become the richest man in the cemetery    

There exists a fine line between human greatness and human implosion. Often, the loss of one’s health is the price that is paid when one pushes the human limits too far.

So, here’s some of the most valuable insight and inspiration on health and life – which I have uncovered to date.

Surprisingly, it did not come from the medical fraternity. It came from a sporting legend – one of Great Britain’s greatest ever middle distance athletes:

We all have a finite amount of energy. Whether you use physical or mental energy it all comes from the same source .Wherever you focus your energy you’re either filling or depleting the same well ‘: Sir Sebastian Coe

It follows that it’s our job to make sure that one’s ‘human energy well’ never runs dry. Here’s how.

The human well, wellness, or wellbeing has three buckets, each one of equal importance – namely physical, chemical and emotional buckets. Physical, is what we do with our bodies. Chemical is what we put in our mouths, and emotional is what we put in our ‘hearts and heads ‘.

Thankfully the genius of modern medical science has made us all pretty adept at how to fill our ‘human energy well’ from the physical and chemical buckets. We know how much sleep and rest we need. We know how much exercise we need. We know which foods agree with us, and those which do not.

And Prof Tim Noakes seems to keep us all ‘on our toes’ with the latest on nutritional thinking.

Our bodies even have wonderful feedback mechanisms to help keep us balanced in the physical and chemical realms of life and health. But, it’s never that straight-forward in the emotional realm.

Surprising very few people grasp how our emotions can turn toxic. Negative emotions harboured long term can kill .Often this is where human implosion happens. Unwittingly or habitually, we continue to drain the human energy well from the emotional bucket, creating an ongoing ‘state of imbalance’.

A tipping point is eventually reached and breached – and the human energy well runs dry. The body moves into ‘a state of dis/ease ’.

Here are a few valuable pointers to keep one’s human energy well filled to the brim – and you on the road of ease, as opposed to dis/ease.

To fill up the human energy well using the emotional bucket – one should focus one’s life on the Big Five ‘positive emotions’, namely

Unconditional Love, Gratitude, Acceptance, Forgiveness and Happiness/ Joy.

They Energize! They’re life’s greatest healers.

And, be sure to steer well clear of life’s Big Five ‘negative emotions’ – namely

Resentment, Guilt, Criticism, Hate and Futility/Self-pity.

They Drain! If held long term, they turn toxic – and become life’s greatest killers.

Ultimately, it’s a human choice as to how one manages one’s human energy well on the journey through life and health.

 Live. Love. Learn. Leverage. Laugh   


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GAME CHANGER NUMBER FIVE: ‘Conquer, do not fight ‘

Posted on: July 1st, 2015 by Rob Opie No Comments

 I came. I saw I conquered ‘ Julius Caesar 46 BC  

One thing is for sure – at some point in our lives we all have to face up to some form of adversity. Extreme challenge comes to all. Our mettle gets tested , and it’s at times like these that it’s best to ‘take heed’ of what the great champions of life and health know , do and do not do to overcome some of life’s greatest challenges.

Now that’s never easy when one is gripped by emotion, so here’s a game changer shared – one  which the great champions always choose first :

They choose to conquer, rather than to fight

Conquering entails coming from a position of strength.

Fighting means coming from a position of weakness.

And there’s a huge difference.

Everest stands 8848 meters tall. Above 8000 meters climbers enter what is termed ‘the death zone ‘– or ‘where helicopters do not fly’. This is because at 8000 meters and above, the air is too thin for helicopters to fly rescue missions. You’re on your own .And the great Everest explorers all know one thing– one cannot fight the mountain – one cannot bully Everest.

Tragically in the past 12 months alone , we have seen a number of incidents where Everest has taken the lives of those who have not ‘taken heed’ – as recreational climbers pile on the commercial pressure to be ‘on the mountain ‘.

Everest teaches us many life lessons – when to ‘be on the mountain’ and when to ‘be off the mountain’. Conquering Everest demands ‘taking heed’ – listening to the mountain – working with the mountain – never against it.

Sometimes one must make next happen. Sometimes one must let next happen. Choosing to ‘fight the mountain’ often ends in tragedy.

The very same applies in the cancer wards of Albert Luthuli hospital in Durban. One cannot bully or fight cancer. Cancer Champions, who go on to conquer cancer, choose not to fight the dis-ease .They ‘take heed’ of the universal message, which is cancer. They make the necessary lifestyle changes and bounce back to live fulfilled healthy lives. They choose to conquer ‘the mountain called cancer’.

Adversity demands something which the great champions refer to as a ‘Radical Tactical Shift’ – a R.T.S.

When something is not working – it’s wise to approach it differently, by working with the mountain, not against it.

Knowledge, hence greater levels of human awareness, becomes the crucial game changer to counter adversity!

Ones ships come in over a calm sea .   Florence Shovel Shinn

Stepping inside Great

Posted on: July 1st, 2015 by Rob Opie No Comments

Great is not something one is given in life. Great is something one must take in life’


At age 34, legendary All Black Richie McCaw is now the most capped rugby international of all time – and the 2015 Rugby World Cup will probably be his swansong.


I recently took some time out on one his visits to Durban, to find out what has taken this man to the very top of world rugby – and kept him there.

At 18, his uncle and mentor John ‘Bigsy’ McLay asked him what he wanted to be in life.

His answer: An All Black!

His uncle retorted:

Richie, you do not just want to be an All Black, YOU want to be a GREAT ALL BLACK. Write is down, sign it, and put it up!   

Richie could not bring himself to write it down in full – as he had not yet even made the national age group team – so he wrote it down on a McDonald’s napkin as G.A.B.

And signed it.

Back home , Richie pinned the napkin up high on his cupboard – where no one else could see it. It was his signed stairway to heaven – committed at eighteen with ‘Head and Heart’.


Talent and technology can only take one so far, and then it’s  all about what’s in your heart and in your head.  

Greg Norman          


Putting the prefix word ‘ Great ’ before whatever it is you want to be , or achieve in life – does something special.

It sets the stretch. It sets the commitment. It sets the tone (the way things get done).

And most importantly it puts ‘winning against the odds ‘before ‘winning at all cost’.

Human Greatness is far more than fleeting success. It’s longevity.

And it’s best captured by the three powerful S’s of Great:

  Sustained Success and Significance

Richie McCaw – with 16 years at the top of world rugby. An ordinary guy doing extra-ordinary things  – a shining example of stepping inside of great .

The thing that has made him a great player is his ability to want to get better – his game has evolved over time, hence why he is probably, if not the greatest we have had  All Black Coach Steven Hansen

The Great Champions make next happen.

In sport and in life – the Great Champions do more.


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