So, couple of days back I came across this amazing story about SL cricketer Marvan Attapattu in LinkedIn. While we have been amazed by Sachin and Saurav, his story seemed to be more in touch with us and how we commoners can grow from failures.

When he made his debut in Test cricket for Sri Lanka, Marvan scored a duck in his first innings, which was depressing and it was followed with another duck in his second innings.

Result : He was dropped by the selection committee. So, what did he do? He knew he needed to work on couple of things and he went back to the nets for more practice. Followed it up with more first-class cricket. Scored more runs. And at the end of all those tiring days, the 20 yr old waited every single day, for that elusive call.

And the call did come, only after 21 months.

The golden second chance. He was determined and he had been toiling at the nets. Everyone expected him to do better. And better he did. He scored: 0 in the first innings, 1 in the second. Ouch. The pain must have been more stinging than ones that make you wince when furniture legs hits your little toe.

Result : He was dropped again. And what did he do now? He went back to the grind. And kept practicing. Again, he scored tonnes of runs in first-class cricket. But none of those runs could be enough to remove the pain he was in with the empty score card from the 2 test matches and 4 innings. And he waited for another 17 months practicing hard.

The opportunity knocked yet again. Marvan went to bat in both innings of the Test.

Result : He scored: 0 and 0. No one can even imagine the pain of this guy. He might have assumed that his life in cricket was over. Trust and confidence can be shattered for any other guy. But unlike others, Marvan did not stop at sulking or cursing his bad luck.

He just went back to the grind. He may have doubted if the selectors ever would give him another chance? The little bird on the stands heard them say – “he lacks big-match temperament. His technique wasn’t good enough at the highest level.”

Was he shattered, broken? Not sure. But definitely undaunted, So, Marvan kept trying.

And then 3 years later, just 3 days before his 27th birthday, he got another chance. Did he hit the ball out of the park right away? No. His performance was just good enough to keep him in the series in ’97. And in ’97 only, he made his 1st test century. And then only an illustrious career followed,

Marvan went on to score over 5000 runs for Sri Lanka. That included 16 centuries and 6 double hundreds.

And he went on to captain his country. *All this despite taking over six years to score his second run in Test cricket.*

And that is what makes him – Wow ! What a guy!

How many of us can handle failure as well as he did ? 6 years of trying, and failing. He must have been tempted to pursue another career. Change his sport perhaps. Play county cricket. Or, just give up. But he didn’t. And that what made the difference.

The next time you are staring at possible failure or rejection, think of Marvan. Also, let us not always expect that the come back opportunity will be all jazzed up & all glamorous & starry eyed.

As long as you –

– Consider every opportunity a golden

– Consider every step, even the smallest one a step towards your goal, a step ahead

– Stay put

– Stay on your course

Success will come and you will be ready for the long haul.

And if you are just thinking, that Marvan had no other skills that he had acquired during his 6 years of waiting, well he also became a qualified Chartered Accountant.

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