Wanted to talk about something a little different today. We’re going to take a look at two top sports stars – one from the modern era and one a little more old-school – and look at what we can learn from their drive and passion.

I believe it’s important to look at all types of industries and arenas for role models and I think the sporting arena provides some of the very best role models for drive and success in life.

Let’s take a look at how these two men can help improve our filmmaking and business acumen.

Charlie Hustle, Roger Federer And How To See Your Life As A Championship Game

As legend has it, infamous baseball hitter Pete Rose gained the nickname “Charlie Hustle” whilst the New York Yankees were playing a spring training game against Rose’s Cincinnati Reds in 1963.

Rose generated a walk and sprinted to first, triggering Yankee’s outfielder Mickey Mantle  to remark to his manager, Whitey Ford, “Look at that Charlie Hustle.”

The name stuck.

Rose, despite the controversy of his later career, typifies the attitude of the consummate hustler, continuously pushing for that extra base and virtually urging his team to win ballgames.

Images of Rose sprinting to first on a walk, or running out bases, legs and cap flying, long after the play was over evoke the perfect archetype of someone who’s constantly pushing for success.

Graceful? Artistic? Pretty? Not Rose. His play was hardcore and often left him facing disciplinary action after running down yet another catcher.

But he got the job done.

A Dogged, Never Say Die Attitude

We can learn a lot from Rose’s dogged attitude and balls-to-the-wall passion. Take to life and success with filmmaking and business the way Charlie Hustle played baseball and you’ll find yourself with great results flying at you like fastballs.

Looking at life as a sports game is helpful in a lot of ways. Modelling the greats of sport and how they deal with adversity and failure is a useful process.

Look at someone like tennis virtuoso Roger Federer. He’s trained himself mentally to deal with adversity in the most resilient of ways. And he has a lot of practice – the average tennis match sees each player (even the great ones) lose countless points.

Often the differences between winning and losing are so closely entwined. In order to win a tennis match, you sometimes have to concede nearly 50%  of the points.

The margins are fine.


Players like Federer keep their composure under massive stress and pressure, whilst conceding losses within the match that would shock someone who knows nothing about the game.

Mental Strength And Toughness

We’ve talked about it before – mental strength and toughness is such an important skill in business and filmmaking.

Tiger Woods is another classic example of mental strength overcoming struggles time and time again. Woods exhibits huge proficiency in dealing with stress and missed shots.

ven after being put off a shot by a shout from the crowd, he’s able to quickly regain composure and get back down to the shot.

As well as golf and tennis, there are sports all over the world that feature tremendous examples of mental strength over adversity and struggle.

The comparisons between sport and life are endless. Pressure and stress in the sports arena so often mirror real-life struggles and strife. Never is this more evident than in combat sports.

A mixed martial arts fight is a kind of microcosm of life’s struggles. The fighters train for a fight and build themselves up from being (relatively) out of shape into perfectly conditioned machines.

The battle then moves from the gym and training room into the cage. Each round represents the ups and downs of life.

One minute a fighter is looking great and controlling things from the top, but it isn’t long before the tides turn in the other fighter’s favor and he gains control of proceedings.

Most fights have at least some aspect of this back and forth. In the world of professional sports, very rarely do you see an out and out badly matched destruction.

What This Means For You

View your life as if you’re a sports star. It’s a way of simplifying things.

This is an example of gamification. Gamification is a concept where people use game thinking and mechanics in ono-game situations. You can turn any every day event into a gamified situation in order to increase your drive to succeed.

This is especially effective for people who are already into video games. You know how you got really into that RPG game (pretty much addicted, right?) Well now’s the time to take that addiction and transmute it into something far more long-lasting and beneficial – your success in business and filmmaking.

Pretty much anything can be gamified.


It helps sometimes to just see things in black and white. You’re either winning or you’re losing. There is no grey if you don’t want there to be.

Of course, you have to be careful with this mindset – it’s not really a mindset for everything in life.

Here are some examples comparing real-life events to sporting events:

  • Those reports you have to get in for Friday become free throws you have to complete.
  • That co-worker that always seems one step ahead of you – he’s your closest rival in this season’s trophy race.
  • That night out you’re going on this Saturday is the championship game.
  • That film project you’ve been working on for 9 months is the culmination to a tough sports season.
  • That struggle you’re going through as you walk into work for yet another grinding day, that’s the pressure that a pro sports star goes through as he approaches the gates of the arena ready to go about his business.

Use these metaphors to your advantage. It’s fun and it teaches you to see the adventure and joy in life, whilst not taking things too seriously. We all thrive on competition and a bit of friendly rivalry.

I hope you enjoyed this article and took something away after reading it. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!