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Recently, the Malaysian football team encountered a humiliating defeat against the United Arab Emirates during the World Cup Qualifier at the Mohamed Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on September 3. According to The Ant Daily, the loss was seen as the worst defeat Malaysia has encountered in almost 50 years. This prompted fans to throw a tantrum at a subsequent match six days ago. They took it to the extreme, setting firecrackers and throwing flares onto the pitch, ultimately causing the match to come to an abrupt end.

With everything that’s happened, though, there’s no point crying over spilt milk. Instead, we can take this incident as a turning point. Perhaps it’s time for our Malaysian football team to take in some ideas from successful entrepreneurs, so that we can see our once proud team do better, win every match and beat other teams to the title. Here’s some advice they can learn from.

1. Bill Gates, Founder and CEO of Microsoft 

Image Credit: i.huffpost.com
Image Credit: i.huffpost.com

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” 

(Source: Forbes)

This is a very interesting quote to begin with. How many people have complained about Windows and how has it evolved over time to compete with other platforms like Apple, Linux and Ubuntu? The evolution of Microsoft only goes to show that they are progressing and improving.

And the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) can definitely learn from this. Take the incident as a chance to improve our national football team, and the unhappy customers as fans who want change. What they should do next is to implement changes gradually and successfully.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I’m pretty sure that fans don’t expect changes to be made overnight — what’s important is that FAM actually listens to them.

2. Donald Trump, Chairman and President of The Trump Organisation

Image Credit: hiddenamericans.com
Image Credit: hiddenamericans.com

“I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present. That’s were the fun is.”

(Source: Trump: The Art of the Deal)

While Donald Trump was busy firing everyone with his famous catchphrase “you’re fired”, who would have thought that some of his own businesses had actually been declared bankrupt? This is what he had to say in response to the allegations of bankruptcy made against him:

Image Credit: Donald Trump Twitter
Image Credit: Donald Trump’s Twitter

That said, take a look at how he deals with problems: he does not dwell on the past, but instead, tries to learn from his mistakes and plan for the future by working on solving the actual problems.

The Malaysian football team will never take it to the next level if they do not work on their problems. I will not say that I am not fond of Malaysian football, but the defeat alone is enough to let me guess we have problems with defence, attacking and goalkeeping.

I am also not a pro when it comes to football rules, but I know that we didn’t have a goal, we didn’t defend well and we conceded ten goals. So if they actually start to find solutions to these problems, we might begin to see a trophy or two eventually.

3. Reid Hoffman, Co-founder of LinkedIn

Image Credit: cdni.wired.co.uk
Image Credit: cdni.wired.co.uk

“The fastest way to challenge yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be.”

(Source: Kabbage)

By this, I don’t mean for our Harimau Malaya team to hang out with the Gunners or the Red Devils every weekend. Instead, by learning from how teams in other top leagues play — such as Bundesliga, Barclays Premier League, Spanish Liga and many more — we could actually set our Malaysian football standard higher than it is now. It’s okay to dream big because the higher we aim, the better we get. Now this is when the self-fulfilling prophecy could actually work.

4. Dave Thomas, Founder of Wendy’s

Image Credit: cp91279.biography.com
Image Credit: cp91279.biography.com

“What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.”

(Source: Kabbage)

Dave Thomas understood clearly that every entrepreneur needs to know about their own products, who their potential customers are, and their game. The founder of the fast food chain was always keen to understand his customers better, so he took to observing different types of menus, tastes and food presentations, eventually becoming an expert on his own.

The same mentality can be applied to improve our Malaysian football standards. Knowing these three key concepts — product (the game), customer (opponent) and desire (winning) — might help them to develop better chances of winning.

5. Larry Page, Co-founder of Google

Image Credit: media.licdn.com
Image Credit: media.licdn.com

“Always deliver more than expected.”

(Source: Kabbage)

When Larry Page became the CEO of Google in 2011, it wasn’t easy at all. The tech giant was juggling various projects at the time, and Page revealed that their biggest challenge was focus. Still, he wasn’t daunted by the prospect of a challenge, or let it get to him.

It would be interesting to see Harimau Malaya surprising their fans by delivering more than expected. To do so, they will have to learn something from their previous losses and find better coaches who can train them adequately for upcoming games.

6. Sir Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of Virgin Group

Image Credit: cdn-media-1.lifehack.org
Image Credit: cdn-media-1.lifehack.org

“Screw it, let’s do it.”

(Source: Virgin)

I’m saving this one for last because this quote by Sir Richard Branson really kicks ass. This is one of his life lessons, and seeing as it helped him deal with many of the problems he faced, it has to be something that works.

The quote is not about not giving 100% in the game — because for some, the phrase ‘screw it, let’s do it’ might sound like lantaklah, janji aku buat — but rather, a call to take the first step towards improving yourself. It refers to the fact that we don’t need to look ahead to the end or focus on the bumpy roads that stand between us and eventual success. Because if we focus on all of the obstacles that we could potentially face, we might never take that first step.

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