Barcelona, Art and Legacy

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will”

- Chuck Palahniuk

Last week saw the shock resignation of Pep Guarduala – the first team coach of the iconic Spanish football team, Barcelona.

Barcelona have not only been the most successful football team in Europe for the last 5 years. But they’ve also played the most attractive, watchable, artistic football ever seen (…think basketball’s Harlem Globe Trotters at their peak or the great Brazilian football teams of the past).

But after winning 13 trophies and numerous plaudits over the last 4 years, Pep decided it was time to step away from the game to re-charge his batteries and plan his next career move.

Here  are 4 lessons we earn from his success:

1. You can’t win by simply defending

In sport – you don’t win trophies or titles by simply defending.

You need to attack, score goals, touch downs and hit some home runs to win.  And that’s why Barcelona’s style of free-flowing attacking football was so successful.

Similarly, in business, you can’t cost-cut your way to success.  You have to invest, innovate and take calculated risks in order to move forward.

The same applies in your career.  You don’t get anywhere by “keeping your head down” and playing safe. You need to invest in yourself, your growth and take a proactive stance in adding value to clients and employers whilst seeking fresh opportunities.

2.  Art and success can go hand in hand

There is a common myth that you can’t play attractive football and still win.

Yet flair, craft and imagination have been the cornerstone of Barcelona’s success in the last few years.  They’ve won titles and trophies because of their willingness to be artistic and just be different.

Similarly, in our careers, people often think they can’t do the great artistic work they want because others “won’t let me” or indeed because “it won’t pay the bills.”

Yet every great artist that’s ever lived has never followed the rules of the conventional world – so why should you? In our changing world, the future belongs to artists, creatives and entrepreneurs who will question the rules and challenge the status quo. Not those who simply comply and follow.

As for “paying the bills” – with today’s digital world and flexible work patterns, there are numerous ways for you to pursue your art and still pay the bills.  Be that in your day job, or indeed something you do as a side business or hobby. It’s all down to your own personal philosophy and willingness to do the things that most people won’t (which is precisely what artists and entrprenuers do).

3. Do the opposite to everyone else 

If you want to stand out from the crowd and achieve a very different set of results – it usually involves ignoring conventional thinking and doing the opposite to everyone else.

Conventional thinking tells us that modern footballers need to be big, strong athletic types.

Yet Pep built his team around small players with clever minds and strong technical skills. Sure, Messi, Iniesta and Xavi are fit and strong – but it’s their flair and creativity that helps them open up teams and makes Barcelona so successful.

4. Do the work that matters

Football is the most popular sport in the world with kids playing football in streets and fields all over the world trying to emulate their sporting heroes.

Barcelona’s brand of football has showed a generation of kids that football is not just about trophies, titles, blood and sweat. But about entertainment, about beauty, creativity and teamwork. They’ve influenced a cohort of football coaches from schools, amateur teams and professional clubs into re-thinking the way the games could and should be played.

And that’s the legacy Pep will leave behind him. A legacy which allows the “YouTube Generation” to watch Barcelona’s dream team playing the beautiful game with just one click - just like listening to their favourite song artist or watching their favourite play.

And that’s how turn one man turned his work, into an art form and his legacy.

So what’s stopping you doing the same?

Some Questions To Leave You With

1. Are you doing work that matters? Work that makes a difference and creates some kind of legacy?

2. Are you following all the rules or are you creating our own path?

3. Are you allowing your art and creativity or shine?

4. Are trying to win or trying to avoid losing or failing?


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