6May '14

Victorious Defeat

Ronnie O’Sullivan is a hero of mine, so his defeat in yesterday’s final is not the result I hoped for.  But the way he has handled it is something to be proud of, as BBC commentator Ben Dirs writes:

There was a time, not too long ago, when O’Sullivan might have viewed his defeat by Selby as a personal disaster. He might have grumbled about the state of his game, the state of his mind, the state of pretty much everything.

But since linking up with sports psychiatrist Steve Peters in 2011, O’Sullivan seems to have found peace and perspective, at least around a snooker table.

“I tried my hardest but he was just too good,” said the 38-year-old O’Sullivan, a five-time world champion. “If you sign up to be a top snooker player, you accept the losses with the wins – you can’t have it all your own way.

“Three years ago I wasn’t even contemplating playing, let alone equalling Steve Davis’s six world titles or Stephen Hendry’s seven. So I’m very content. I’ve had a good tournament and I’m proud of my performance.”

O’Sullivan’s story is one of the most inspirational in sport. It is a lesson to anyone who is struck down with crippling perfectionism, lack of motivation, fear of failure or self-doubt, that by reaching out for help you can achieve mental equilibrium and make yourself a better performer and person.

Having reached out for help, O’Sullivan has transformed himself from someone many thought would fade from the game having failed to fulfil a lavish talent into a marvel of longevity.

Image credit: DerHexer, Wikimedia Commons, CC-by-sa 4.0

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