Last weekend, he hit the 20-goal mark for a sixth successive Premier League season. His name is Sergio Kun Aguero, and he is the epitome of consistency. Aguero’s lone goal was the difference between league title contenders, Manchester City and hard-to-beat Burnley Football Club. The Argentine is only the second ever player to return 20 goals or more six times in a row in England’s elite football competition. The goal that helped him equal Thierry Henry’s record was not spectacular, but it was effective. One man doing what he knows how to do best. Doing it well. And more importantly, doing it consistently.
In a world where footballers command a cult following for their fame and flamboyant lifestyle, Aguero sticks out like a sore thumb. Not because he has any known negative traits; but because he has proven to be a reliable and scaringly efficient workhorse. A personality that is a departure from what we are used to in the cosmos of the round leather game.
Footballers are some of the most celebrated people on this side of the universe. They are super rich, command jaw-dropping wages, and date the most beautiful women. In the short career of a footballer, he is worshipped and fawned over by fans from all corners of the globe. And if he as much as displays performances that are above average, his rating skyrockets.
Little wonder there’s always a propensity for the average ballplayer to get somewhat big-headed. Humility and focus are virtues that require quite a bit of work and many modern professional footballers couldn’t be bothered to imbibe them, but “outliers” like Aguero show us it’s possible—saying little—preferring to let their work speak for them.
Indeed, a trait that has taken on a pandemic streak in society is the ability to talk. People talk. People are all about what they can do. Vocality is seen as an indispensable characteristic, “You must be able to sell yourself. Never hesitate to speak about what you can do,” we tell one another.
However, the people who are exceptional at what they do almost never need to do the talking. Others do it on their behalf. They just demonstrate their capability. They know that the only way to convince people they are the real deal is to prove it by doing. Only those who are average or even terrible at their vocation need to scream their worth. Does this mean it is classless or degrading to accord oneself some recognition in appreciation of their craft? Not exactly. My point is, be certain you can do a better job than you let others in on.
People would rather be pleasantly surprised that you exceeded their expectations than disappointed that you are nowhere near the level of expertise you have touted. Sergio Aguero is a soccer star with a difference: Almost never finds himself in the midst of controversy, neither does he boast of his outstanding qualities nor believes he is bigger than any coach because of his startling scoring numbers. Even when it seemed his present manager preferred another striker to him, he did what most of us what would loathe doing: keep mum and remind everyone of his undeniable talent whenever he got the chance to step on the field of play.
Many of us can talk our way into getting a gig, but the bigger question is how many of us can deliver? Are we as good as we think we are? And if we are, are we consistent in our delivery? For many, the problem is consistency. They produce genius work one minute and are dismal the next. They are confident in their mediocrity because they surround themselves with people who never tell them they are not doing enough.
Yes, you are good, but are you consistent?
Can you churn out masterpieces all the time? As a tailor, do your clothes epitomise attention to detail and ingenuity. Do your clients always have good things to say about you and the quality of work you do for them? If half or even a quarter of your customers are disgruntled, then you must be doing something wrong even if the rest of your customers praise you to infinity.
You are a lawyer; a litigator…how many cases have you won? What’s your win rate in court?
As an entrepreneur, how often do your products deliver on their promise? A food vendor whose meals are hot and delicious one day and cold and tasteless the next will soon lose customers who are irritated by their lack of consistency. The ability and presence of mind to maintain a standard are what differentiates true performers from garrulous wannabes.
While younger, less established players keep blaming their inconsistency on everything else but themselves, legends like Aguero stay grounded and focused on retaining their winners’ medal; and that’s the attitude all of us should adopt.
Thrive despite the circumstances
Ignore distractions and do the work
Remain humble in spite of fame
Don’t just hone your your oratory skills, hone your core skills capabilities. It’s the substance, every other thing is fluff.