Discovering yourself – from Ronaldo to Waze to Jerusalem

Flicking through this weekend’s newspaper, I began to realise that the feature sections were surprisingly – and I assume unintentionally – replete with positive stories. There was a theme blaring out at me – believe in yourself.

Start with the article on Cristiano Ronaldo, without doubt one of the top three football players in the world today. His new book reveals another side to this remarkable talent. He was born into poverty on the small island of Madeira. With a drunken father and a druggie brother, growing up was not simple. At 15, he overcame an operation on his heart. He was laughed at in training as a junior. Today, he is rumoured to have a buy-out clause, valued at US$1 billion.

On a more tangible level, I read about Waze, whose mobile app helps people negotiate traffic jams. It was founded in 2008 by three entrepreneurs in a small office just north of Tel Aviv, Israel. Today the firm boasts tens of millions of users globally with a personal endorsement from Tim Cooks of Apple. This is a company that has stuck to keeping things simple and ensuring they are tuned in with latest trends in social media. It is now shaping up to be threat to Google Maps.

Ok, so these are two casse studies are international phenomena. A third item looked at ten individuals in Jerusalem, who had been fired from their jobs. Each then “refound” themselves as self-employed entrepreneurs – photographers, toolsmiths, dietitians etc – when only months previously such a concept would have been alien to them. What happened was that each in their own way discovered a new understanding of themselves

For me, the most remarkable story was an engineer, who had known two decades of success in high-tech. However, after he was retrenched, he realised that he was “too old” to be considered for similar positions. A series of circumstances and a little “chutzpah” created the opportunity for him to fly to a meeting with the heads of a multinational German company that had no presence in Israel.

And off went our engineer with powerpoint presentation in hand. In addition, he also packed fresh fruit, grown in his own garden and then placed the pickings for his hosts to eat. The Germans may have been surprised at this offer, but they munched away happily. And when he was towards the end of his explanations, he added: “You see that tasty fruit of mine? You may be one of the best known companies in the world for what you do, but in Israel you are an unknown. I want to cultivate you like the fruit in my back yard.”  The rest is history.

Chose any of these stories, but the message is the same. Know your talents. Understand just how much you are capable of. And there is a great chance that you will succeed way beyond where you are today.

Explore posts in the same categories: Business, Israel

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One Comment on “Discovering yourself – from Ronaldo to Waze to Jerusalem”


  1. As always, so fascinating as well as helpful information on Discovering yourself.

    Thanks a lot.


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