Where Mo Salah succeeds and his fellow Egyptians fail

The prominent Egyptian football player Mo Salah is not only a clear source of pleasure for the entire Egyptian population; he has also become a phenomenon and an icon in the eyes of our society at large. However, and unfortunately, Salah’s success has not yet constructively inspired Egyptians to emulate him. This is not Mo’s fault, but more that of our static society that declines to change for the better, preferring to remain within our established cultural boundaries, while in his success Salah, quite apart from his football talent, has managed to overcome many of our ingrained shortcomings.

Mo who was born and raised in one of our poor and neglected rural villages managed to overcome his circumstances and become one of the top players in the world. In his football career, Salah has had to confront the usual ups and downs, just like the rest of us. However, many of us tend to surrender when we feel that we are stagnating at the bottom of our career paths, whereas during his unlucky phases Salah’s determination to become an outstanding football player invariably bounced him back to the top.

Salah was able to recognize the line between outperforming and being a good Muslim. Many of us spend too much of our time praying and preaching while neglecting our work, believing that God will reward us for our strong attachment to religion.  While Salah often tries to challenge himself in the football field, we tend to be busy with many issues at our workplaces – except working. Salah might be lucky in having a profession that he obviously loves and that is clearly in harmony with his athletic abilities and talent, but he still deserves credit for his persistence and determination.

A few Egyptian intellectuals argue that we should not be overexcited about a football player while underrating renowned scientists, for example. In fact, we should assess people’s performance and success based on their true achievements and perseverance, regardless of their specialization. Mo has certainly given Egyptians real pleasure during a very difficult time, whereas many intellectuals have failed to apply their theories to reality.

Many Egyptian players were probably more talented than Salah, but they definitely did not have the needed personality traits that Mo has. Additionally, the credit for the rise of Salah goes largely to his respective football coaches who managed to move him forward from one milestone to another, while he offered his strong willingness to obey their instructions. In contrast, regardless of our fields of specialization, many of us believe that we can easily be both the player and the coach – and even the referee.

Sadly, a large portion of Egyptians believes that success in life lies in accumulating wealth; thus, many Egyptian professionals tend either to retire or to adopt a reckless work attitude once they possess enough money to ensure that they will be financially comfortable for the rest of their lives. This philosophy has demotivated many talented Egyptian football players who were able to realize their financial goal early in their careers from becoming first-rate players.

Unfortunately, Salah’s success has not yet positively reflected on our society; we haven’t identified the personality traits behind his success and worked on using these qualities (which most of us lack) to advance ourselves. Millions of Egyptians are now addicted to watching Mo in each of the games he plays. While they become excited during the game, few have thought of imitating his success in their respective fields. We are still a society that enjoys applauding more than working hard.

Intense discussion is underway nowadays in Egypt on how best to capitalize on Mo Salah to strengthen and promote Egypt. Salah certainly could add substantial value to our country, but what is more important is to objectively study both his success and our failures. Capitalizing on Mo’s success from our deficient platform won’t be of any benefit to our country. We tend to recognize Salah’s football talents, but in fact, his success lies more in his stimulating mindset that many in Egypt lack.

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