How Roberto Mancini Made Football History One Centimeter At a Time

How do you get from the point you’re at now and your goal? 

The answer? You do it slowly.

Change doesn’t happen overnight. Neither does success. Waiting for results is like waiting for your mail to get delivered by the post office—man, is it slooow.

If you want a healthier body, if you wish to retire by 40, if you’re going to build something lasting and meaningful—you have to put in the work every day. There are no shortcuts, but there never seems to be a shortage in detours. 

Rocket Ships to The Moon

How many times have you pledged defeat, cried out that you give up, and came back the next day to do the same thing? 

Life has an odd way of pushing us to the limit. Sometimes, when you think you’re falling, you’re really just starting to stretch your wings. 

“Sky’s the limit,” people would say, but we’ve sent rocket ships to the moon.

The Comeback > The Setback

If you haven’t heard of Italy’s comeback in the football scene yet, then you read it here first. 

Football has got to be one of the best spectator sports in the world. For Italy, it’s more than that. It’s up there with the wine, superior pizza, and lively chatter. Football and operatically exclaiming or sobbing in fits of despair for your home team is a way of life. 

In 2018, there was more of the latter. Four-time World Champion Italy’s absence in the 2018 World Cup was considered one of their lowest points in football history. Then, Roberto Mancini took charge. 

As the saying goes, rock bottom is the place to be—the only way out is up. 

And up they went. 

Italy’s record stays undefeated for 33 games, and if they make it to 34, they bag a European title. 

How’d they do it? How did Roberto Mancini revive Italy to its glory days? Center-back Giorgio Chiellini lets us in on a little secret. “One centimeter at a time.” This is what Mancini would say to his team after every match. 

Now, there’s only one centimeter left.

You Can Build Slowly Too

I’ve always admired the power that small, consistent changes make. A friend of mine would always say that starting wasn’t the hardest thing. It was in keeping the momentum where the real test lies. 

I agree. 

If you don’t plant the seeds today, what will you reap when the time comes? 

Allow me to share with you 8 tips on how you can build slowly.

1. Don’t overthink the starting line. 

One of the reasons we get so flustered with starting is that we’re afraid of making mistakes. Guess what? You’re a beginner! 

You’re going to make many mistakes even if you plan everything to a T. You can play it safe and not run the risk of screwing up. Or you can give it a try, screw up along the way, and learn.

2. The moment you feel fear is the moment you jump. You’re on the hook. 

This advice, coming from a wuss such as myself, is ironic. You don’t have to be a daredevil to make the jump. You only need something worth the leap. Put yourself on the hook—that means you go all-in or nothing in your decisions. 

If you don’t make the jump, you’ll be stuck in the same place. And you will hate it because you’ll realize that you traded a moment of fear for a lifetime of regrets.

3. Show up, not because you can but because you have to.  

Results require consistency, and what consistency means is that you show up regardless of how you feel. I’m not trying to scare you. Consistency doesn’t always have to be elaborate. 

You just have to come up with a plan to make your goal a reality. Give it a place to live in the world. 

If you need an extra hand, I gotchu. Check out this article I wrote jam-packed with advice and tips on how to be consistent, especially on days when it’s the hardest thing to do.

4. If you want to see immediate results, keep dreaming.

Overnight success doesn’t happen overnight. I see people make this fatal mistake all the time—they give up too early into the marathon. Stick with it. See how it fares in time. 

The only instance you see immediate results from things that require long-term commitment is when you’re dreaming or forcing cr*p out.

5. Character-Driven vs. Emotionally-Driven 

How you do one thing is how you do everything. Our habits have a way of seeping into different aspects of our lives. 

By allowing yourself to make half-baked or lousy output, you are teaching yourself to be average. Some things SUCK big-time, but we have to do them. 

You are not mediocre, and you’re not here to produce mediocre results. Out of all the advice I’ve given you, this has to be one of the hardest but it’s also the most important.



6. Motivation isn’t everything. 

Motivation is an easy scapegoat for people who love making excuses. 

Saying “I’m not motivated enough” doesn’t require as much honesty and accountability as admitting to yourself that what you actually lack is discipline and commitment—that you don’t want something enough to overcome the excuses you’re feeding yourself. 

This is where procrastination comes in. I’m not going to lie, I used to procrastinate like it was a superpower. Good thing I found out about the two-minute rule. 

7. Listen to the experts but learn for yourself. 

When experts say, “Don’t drink bleach,” you should listen to them. But when experts say you shouldn’t pursue a career because blah blah blah, or you shouldn’t build that business because blah blah blah. That’s the perfect time to go against expert advice. 

Don’t let other people put a cap on your potential. Sometimes, expert advice only satisfies the status quo. If everyone listened to expert advice, we wouldn’t have cars today. We’d have faster horses.

8. Choose your hard.  

Nothing is 100% of the time a cool breeze in the Caribbean. Hardships don’t go away; they only look different. 

If you had to choose between the hardship of building your goals and the hardship of wasting away, which one would you choose? 

The answer is simple. And you already know it. 


How are you going to start? Let me know in the comments section! See you next week, dear reader. Sawubona!