In Soccer or Life, Take Your Shot!

by Don Smith

All products and services featured on this site are independently selected by our authors and editors. If you buy something through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

I'm still an avid soccer player, although I'm well past my prime. One difference that has become obvious to me over the years between those who make goals and those who never do is the willingness to take a shot. It's the same difference between those who are wildly successful in life and those who merely show up.

You Will Never Fully Eliminate Risk. Take Your Shot Anyway!

Successful people, like successful soccer players, understand that you will never entirely eliminate risk. Practicing will improve your odds of succeeding, but they understand you have to take your shot to make goals, knowing full well that you're likely to miss. I'm far from the best player on the field. In fact, I'd put myself towards the bottom of our team as far as raw ability and athleticism. Well into my 40s; I don't see that changing any time soon either.

Even though I'm no longer as fast as some of the others, I have rarely gone a week this year without making a goal. I get the ball in the net consistently because I take the shot. I miss much more often than I make it, but I take the shot because I know the only guaranteed way to walk away from a game without scoring is to fail to take shots in the first place.

The only guaranteed way to fail is not to take the shot in the first place.
Photo by ÁLVARO MENDOZA on Unsplash

If you want to win on the field or in life, you must take your shots when good opportunities present themselves.

Ask the girl or guy out.

Take the course.

Ask for the raise.

Have difficult conversations.

Start the business.

Accept that you're likely to fail when you take your shot, but take it anyway. The only guaranteed way to fail to score is not to take the shot in the first place. You might not have the greatest odds when you try, but at least it's better than inevitable failure by not taking a shot.

Make Your Move, but Don't Take Wild Shots

There's more to successfully achieving your goals than just taking wild random shots. If the goal is unguarded, you can take a “Hail Mary” shot from half-court. I scored two goals this weekend doing that when the keeper moved up, thinking no one would be crazy enough to take that shot.

I threw the ball away a few times that way too. So it's worth trying, but usually, you're wasting your time by not moving the ball down the court first. Most of the time, I score more when I'm right next to the goal when I take the shot.

The key to success is quickly settling the ball and moving it towards the goal. It's the same with life; short, safe passes followed by taking a shot once you're close to the objective is what wins games. You don't need to take wild risks to advance, but you do need to be willing to take some risks.

Passing the ball is often wiser than forcing a wild shot.
Photo by Jeffrey F Lin on Unsplash

Don't Wait Too Long

Whatever you do, don't wait too long to make your move. Soccer is a game where milliseconds matter. Either you make a move, or someone else will take the ball and make their move. Life is that way; if you wait too long to make a decision, you'll miss your opportunity. Contrary to popular opinion, some dreams have deadlines as well.

If you wait too long, your opportunity will vanish.
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

In life or soccer, pause just long enough to get the ball under control, determine where you want to go, then move. Once you're near the goal, take the shot, or pass it to a teammate who will. If you miss, shake it off, and do it again. That's how you win.

In Soccer or Life, Take Your Shot!

About the Author 

Don Smith

Happily married with five kids, Smith owns a technology company, is the founder of this site, has served on the board of directors for multiple companies, and loves playing soccer, hiking, and mentoring.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

“They say such nice things about people at funerals that it makes me sad I am going to miss mine by just

Read More
What is the Tombstone Test?

Me and my wife enjoy seeing live stand up comedians perform in the NYC/NJ area. One of my thrills was seeing iconic

Read More
How Does the Wealthiest Comedian on Earth Teach You to Be Creative?

Use the links below to navigate our picks for the best personal development books for each of the following topics. FinancesBusiness Relationships

Read More
Best Personal Development Books: 20 Books to Skyrocket Your Success

I am guessing that most people reading this have a good supply of books. And that every new personal development book that

Read More
Looking to Buy More Books?

What makes you think you are right? Have you ever gotten into an argument with a person who believes they are always

Read More
Are You Sure About That?

What do you consider to be a failure? And do you know how to deal with failures? For me, failure is directly

Read More
How to Deal with Failures in Your life?

Have you ever felt isolated as a small business owner, CEO, or leader? If so, you're not alone. Half of the CEO's

Read More
It’s Lonely at the Top: Dealing with Isolation as a Leader

This morning I found out that I weigh the same as my personal trainer. We're roughly the same height as well, and

Read More
Numbers Don’t Lie but They Rarely Tell the Full Story

Perhaps no one has had as much influence on modern Western thought as the Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl on the true importance

Read More
How To Make a Difference in The World

Don graciously invited me to guest post on his blog. We have promoted one another for years. We co-create because you and

Read More
Why Compete When You Can Co-Create?

It's sad sometimes to hear people complaining about their job all the time. Monday rolls around, and they are grumbling about going

Read More
If You Hate Your Job, Change

I recently ran into this little comic on Reddit. Source: Invisible Bread I love this little sketch because it's exactly like life.

Read More
How to Expand Your Comfort Zone