Being a big cricket fan, I've spent today listening to the Champion's Trophy final between India and Pakistan. Against all the odds and everyone's expectations, Pakistan won, and by a huge margin, beating probably the best one-day team in the world. Often the underdogs, Pakistan can't even play international games at home because foreign teams won't visit, still nervous after the attack on the Sri Lankan national team in Lahore in March 2009. Seven Sri Lankan cricketers were injured in the attack by armed militants, and six security officials and two civilians were killed during the gun battle that ensued. Sadly, terrorism is everywhere these days, and the UK is more than aware of that fact after the recent atrocities in Manchester and London. But the Pakistan cricket team, by sheer persistence, passion and hard work, are an example that if one has the heart and the determination, nothing is impossible and even the greatest odds can be overcome.
What has cricket got to do with writing, you may wonder? The belief that enabled Pakistan to win today applies to pretty much everything else in life too. In the pursuit of a publishing contract and a writing career, persistence, passion and hard work are essential. But it is that extra added ingredient - self belief - that can make the difference between winning or losing, success or failure. It isn't always easy to have belief in one's work, when the writing isn't flowing, when you've lost the plot, or your characters just aren't coming to life. And especially so when your manuscript comes back with a rejection label attached! Submitting again becomes harder every time and confidence in your work can diminish so that sometimes it's easy to think 'why bother?'
And that's when that magic element of self belief comes in. Because without it, we lose not just our purpose but our passion too. But with it, anything is possible. Self belief enables us to bounce back, stronger than ever, and keep going forward in pursuit of our goals, no matter how many times we fail. Because success might come when we least expect it. The way Pakistan won today is surely proof of that and the BBC commentary team seem to agree with me!