Lessons from Ronnie O’Sullivan

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I loved this quote from Ronnie O'Sullivan, noted after he won the Masters Snooker title for the eighth time last night, becoming both the youngest and oldest man to do so as a result:

I'm trying to master the game and have never been able to do so, so I will keep trying to.

Everyone but Ronnie O'Sullivan thinks he is the best snooker player there has ever been. At 47, he is still at the top of the game. And yet, he acknowledges that there is more to learn.

In a world where expertise is too often claimed, and curiosity appears to be massively undervalued, I love the fact that Ronnie O'Sullivan can acknowledge three things.

One is that he does not play to win, although very clearly he can do that. He plays to play because he wants to get better. Winning is the consequence of that, but not the goal.

Another is that this requires that there be good people for him to play against.

And third, however good they think he is, it matters what he thinks about his ability and that he would like to be better.

The aim to be better is vital in life, in my opinion.

If only some of our politicians had the slightest desire to be better at what they claim to be good at, we might be in a better place. If they wanted power to serve rather than to see it as an end in itself, we would be better off still.

I can only hope that might happen one day.

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