1. A tie is better than a loss: US Government Shutdown. There were only losers when Democrats and Republicans failed to compromise on a deal to keep the Federal Government running. Not only did the average American lose faith in the political system, but uncertainty permeated throughout the world.
  2. Inspire by acting: Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela’s influence on the world is so extraordinary because of how he held himself. He was a force for peace because, when it counted, he took the moral high ground and never relented it. Collaboration over retaliation.
  3. Fight for your dream: Tokyo Olympic hosts. Losing to Rio de Janeiro on the final vote for the 2016 Olympics, Tokyo could have been forgiven for not wanting to endure the pain of second loss. Commentators initially believed Istanbul had the better story. More passion. More color. But Tokyo kept fighting. And they got it.
  4. Keep your powder dry: The rise of Bitcoin. From a few cents to $1200, Bitcoin’s value sky-rocketed this year as more users rallied behind it and the Senate showed interest in its potential. It’s still volatile, as seen by its drop back to the $600 range after China decided it didn’t like it, but this story is far from over no matter what critics say.
  5. Nothing is impossible: Lorde. A 16-year-old songbird from New Zealand storming the US singles charts and spending eight weeks at the top. Impossible, right?
  6. Be prepared to over prepare: Twitter IPO. As the NYSE tells it, everyone knew the Twitter float was going to be huge. It was oversubscribed by 30 times and all eyes were on the result. It was a success thanks to meticulous planning.
  7. When disaster strikes, it’s the response that counts: Typhoon Haiyan. It doesn’t matter if you’re a business or a nation. Some things are completely out of our control. What matters is how we react. Never be too proud to ask for help. In many cases we are defined not by how we act but how we react.
  8. Don’t make promises you can’t keep: Obamacare. Embarrassingly, President Obama has been singled out by PolitiFact as telling the biggest lie in America for 2013. When assuring Americans over his healthcare plan, he repeated the line: “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it”. The problem was this wasn’t true, and millions of Americans had their health care plans cancelled.
  9. Remember your purpose: Pope Francis. The Vatican, for so long, had seemed far too preoccupied with its own politics and policies. Pope Francis has shown what can be achieved when you return to your true purpose – the people.
  10. It’s never over, till it’s over: All Black domination. No international rugby team had ever gone unbeaten for a year in the professional era. Not till now. When the All Blacks stormed back to knock over England, they had only the fighting Irish left to conquer. They should have lost. One mistake and they would have. But with time up they launched a final attacking raid with every man on the field bar two handling the pill before Ryan Crotty crashed over off a sublime offload from Dane Coles, with Aaron Cruden potting the extras (on his second effort) from the sideline to win it. Any other team would have lost. Not this one.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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