Losers and Winners

or a tale of Brexit and Wales

I've been meaning to write a post about Brexit, of which I experienced just two weeks ago. I didn't expect to arrive into London with positive feelings about a city and country that I love, and then leaving feeling unwanted. I am certainly not personally worse off since what happens in Europe doesn't directly affect me economically, nor would there be huge effects even if I were still there since my industry is slightly more insulated for the next two years. What I do find a travesty is the protectionist mindset, the "Little Britain", or what I call the losers mentality.

There are a lot of losers and only some winners. Losers worry about the sky falling on the head and what could happen. Winners focus on what is under their control and reacting to the situation as it happens. Losers let other people take control for them or refuse to make decisions. Winners make decisions and fight when they need to make a stand. Losers give up easily at competition. Winners fight for their win. Losers think of themselves, winners think of something greater.

The symptom now pervades to UK politicians as well. Upon losing the referendum, David Cameron up and quit because he didn't want to do the necessary work for his country, citing that the hard job had to be somebody else's. Boris Johnson, who had actively led the Leave campaign, quit his bid for the No. 10 office because of a bit of opposition and the realization that Article 50 would be a thankless task. Nigel Farage, the leader of the party that forced the Brexit referendum vote in the first place and also a key leader of the Leave campaign, just left yesterday. Three gentlemen served not their countries, but themselves. Losers.

I juxtapose that with the Welsh national football team, who just became the smallest country to ever make the semifinals of any European championship. Out of their entire lineup, they have exactly two world class players - Gareth Bale from Real Madrid and Aaron Ramsey from Arsenal - and a rag tag of hacks. Their main striker is a free agent because he couldn't get a contract.

But winners they are. They beat Belgium, which was the #1 ranked team in the tournament. They next play Portugal, and despite the lower odds, might have a good chance to win.

I loved what their coach, Chris Coleman, said of the next opponent, Portugal:

“It’s new territory. You will either be blinded by the lights and crawl back to where you came from, or have belief in yourself and stand up for your identity"

The courage to stand up for your beliefs and identity - that's pretty much all it takes. But it makes a world of difference between winners and losers.