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The Miracle of Istanbul

In 2005, Liverpool Football Club played A.C. Milan in the European Champions League final in Istanbul, Turkey. At the end of the first 45 minutes, A.C. Milan led three goals to nothing. The game looked done and dusted. The trophy was surely heading to Milan many football fans and commentators thought. It was an A.C. Milan team with very experienced and world-class footballers. The was no way they will let this one slip through their fingers many people thought. Liverpool Football Club wiped off the three-goal deficit in the second 45 minutes of the game and went on to win the trophy after penalties. This is what is known in the Football literature as the Miracle of Istanbul.

The Miracle of Istanbul happened because of two main reasons. The first was that A.C. failed to see out the game. The lesson is that no matter the advantage you have now, you must see out the game to win the crown. It’s very easy to lose focus when you achieve partial success. It’s very easy to celebrate too soon. Whatever journey you are on, you must make it to the desired destination for it to be recorded in the archives of your life as a success. It’s very easy to be distracted by looking back at the significant mileage you have covered so far. Feel good about how far you have traveled but keep your eyes on the rest of the journey. Look forward instead of looking back. Possibly, no one gave you any chance of making it this far. You have done well by coming this far. But it’s not over yet. You can still end up with nothing when the final whistle goes. The building only becomes habitable when it’s roofed and furnished. You have done well by laying the foundation but it’s not yet a house to live in. You have a very high GPA currently and it all looks like you will graduate with first-class. It’s not over yet. Once it’s mathematically possible for you to slip from the first-class GPA, you need to stay very focused and keep working at it until you make it mathematically impossible to slip out of the first-class GPA range. All is looking good regarding your sales target. But you have not yet achieved it to make the bonus yours. Don’t let the congratulatory messages for your partial victories get into your head. You may have won the first seven-round of the twelve rounds fight but you can’t still be the loser. Don’t allow your partial successes to distract you. It’s difficult to move forward and cover a significant distance quickly if you are constantly looking backwards. It’s OK to occasionally look backwards to take encouragement from how you have come. But don’t make it a habit. It will distract you. It’s very easy for the mind to relax if you have made significant progress in your journey. It’s very easy to lose the fire to keep fighting if you have what appears to be an unassailable advantage. Start the journey all over again in your mind if you are tempted to become complacent. You need to keep your motivation up to see the victory home. Don’t be out in town too soon celebrating if all you have is an advantage. It will distract you. You will be super embarrassed if you turn out to be the loser. Keep your focus and see out the game first. You will have a lot of time to celebrate later. Hide the project if you can even though you have laid the foundation. There is nothing to gain by announcing it to the world too soon. You will only court a lot of enemies for yourself. It’s better to see it out and then announce it to the world.

The second reason the Miracle of Istanbul happened was because Liverpool Football Club believed they were still in the game. This made them fought back. It’s never over no matter how heavily down you are. As far as you have life, you can still fight back to achieve your dreams. You can still achieve the sales target even though it’s left with only a few weeks to the end of the quarter. You can still graduate with the first-class once it’s mathematically possible. You can get your life back on track no matter how low it’s sank because of your mistakes. You may be currently very far from achieving your dream, but you can still make it a reality. Do you dream to get more education, but it looks far from it? You can still get it. Until the final whistle goes, you are still in the game. People may write you off. They may say it’s over for you. It’s all inconsequential. I am sure some commentators said it was over for Liverpool FC after the first 45 minutes. I am sure many fans stopped watching the game after the first half. What people think or say will not change anything. What will is if you believe you are still in the game and you fight back. It’s always possible to win the bout of 12 rounds of which you have lost 11 rounds. You need to believe you can knock out your opponent in the last three minutes of the fight and become the winner. Every comeback in life like the Miracle of Istanbul begins in your mind. Your whole being will react appropriately to produce it if you believe it. Never count yourself out no matter how far you are from achieving your goal. Believe you can produce a miracle. Believe you can produce a comeback that will be immortalized.

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