Choices Growth Learning Mindset Reflection

Why turning points matter

Life is 10% what happens and 90% how we react to it.

Tonight, Friday the ninth of December, the Netherlands plays Argentina in the World Cup.

You know me.

I sometimes link my insights to sports, yet I keep them relevant to personal, leadership, and team growth. 

A lot has been said about this World Cup in Qatar, and I’d like to add my perspective. 

It’s another example of multiple realities, and sometimes we need to deal with them simultaneously.

A quarter-final against Argentina at a World Cup matters for this who love sports.

Human rights in certain countries matter as well.

Whatever your opinion, it remains a matter of perspective and listening to arguments that differ from ours.

Seeing a different perspective is one of the reasons why I believe everybody should live in a foreign country at some point in their lives.

Just because you come to appreciate that some people may see things differently than we do.

We’re very quick to point our fingers at others who do things differently than we do.

What if we’ve never been part of such a culture?

It’s easy to judge from the sidelines. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t condemn what happens in some countries. 

But… we’re quick to judge others when we don’t have our own house precisely in order.

And if those pointing are people who have never left their comfort zone, I take their arguments a little less seriously.

Living abroad has been a turning point for me.

I lived and worked in five different countries, including the Netherlands. All of them were dramatically different from each other.

I’ve invested time in understanding the culture, language, rituals, and perspectives of countries I’ve lived in.

When you live in a foreign country, you make an effort to understand and speak the language.

I joke with my friends here in Prague who don’t speak a word of Czech after many years of living here. I laugh when they don’t even know how to ask for the bill.

The laugh is a bit cynical.

Speaking a foreign language is a matter of respect, but even more a matter of understanding what’s below the surface.

If you want to be successful, you must be willing to leave your comfort zone before life does it for you.

Our lives circle around such turning points.

We live life differently after a severe illness.

We find our true passion after we get fired.

We know our priorities after we go bankrupt.

We start loving ourselves first after a bad breakup.

We start investing in trust and team performance when our results start going south.

Illness. Firing. Bankruptcy. Breakup. Trust. Living abroad.

Almost every person can indicate a turning point in their life that significantly impacted who they are now.

And often, that turning point was not a time we chose ourselves.

Life is 10% what happens and 90% how we react to it.

Charles R. Swindoll

Back to the match of this evening.

Our coach (it’s not soccer, Joe) had a professional turning point when he once lost a match 3-4 after leading by 3-0.

That’s when he changed his ‘naive’ offensive strategy.

With him, today, it’s the result first and how we play second. Not vice versa.

While I’m a big fan of offensive and attractive football, I also want my team to win.

My dutch team probably won’t play great tonight, but with this coach, we’ve increased our chances of winning.

So be it, Erikjan!

Your turn: What’s your turning point?

Do more of what makes you happy!


PS. Last Tuesday, I wrote about ‘what great teams do better than any other team.’ It gives insight into team performance.

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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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