What Do You Really Want...? (2)


Hope I didn't ruin the movie "Rush" for those of you who hadn't (or still haven't) seen it. If I did, don’t blame me. The spoiler alert gave you a heads up.


As I established in the last post, What do you really want...? (1), there are two kinds of winners, those that win championships and those that become champions. We were thoroughly entertained by the story of James Hunt and Niki Lauda, who went head to head for the 1976 Formula one championship cup. At the end of that tournament, Mr James Hunt emerged the winner of that year’s championship event and was crowned victor. Nevertheless, the story of Mr Hunt’s life after the tournament was nothing to write home about. First, he never won another championship after that. He enjoyed popularity with a few commercials and endorsements, but after a year or two, that dried up. No one knew him any longer, the glory had faded and left with the fame. He relished his booze and women for a few more years, but that ran out too. The women wanted to be with a reigning champion, not a history book. After a turbulent life of alcohol, cigarettes (he was known to smoke up to 40 sticks a day), drugs and depression, he finally died at age 45 of a heart attack.
Mr Niki Lauda on the other hand went on to win three championships and twenty five races after that. He became an aviation entrepreneur, founding two airlines. He was the manager for the Jaguar formula one racing team, is the non-executive chairman of the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1team and is still alive today. Talk of having a successful career.

Like I mentioned in the last post, the question “What do you really want?” arose from a statement made by Niki Lauda at the end of his narration in the movie “Rush”.  Referring to Mr James Hunt he said, “I guess he got what he wanted… I believe he was trying to prove something and he did…” That was an astute observation by Lauda, because when you think of it, Mr Hunt was successful in a sense. He achieved the goal for which he set out, which was to win the championship. Mr Hunt was not interested in a life of success. He was not trying to find out the keys to a successful life, or a successful marriage or a successful business. All he wanted was to win the championship.  And like any blind focused, passion driven individual, he got what he wanted and was crowned.  Yet the rest of his life amounted to nothing, so much so that you could summarize his entire life in one sentence – ‘1976 Formula One Championship’. In spite of his success however, Mr Lauda was also caught in a similar web. He was so focused on becoming a champion that every other area of his life suffered. That is, until much later when he realised that life was more than the race track.

Here are a few pointers from the movie to help you answer the question “What do you really want ..?”


Life is more than a race track event: Most passionate people make this mistake by being so consumed by their goal that they forget that life is made up of more than one section. In life, every area counts. If you build one area to the detriment of all the others, you are guaranteed to suffer a harsh reality soon.  Both Niki and Hunt and most gifted people suffer from this illness. Some recover on time like Niki did but a lot others don’t. Those that don’t recover make a big name in their field of conquest; soccer, music, business, basketball…, and then die as preys to life; either from substance abuse while looking for peace and happiness, or from loneliness and a broken heart. Get the picture? Learn to give attention to every area of your life. 


Don’t sacrifice the priceless for the prize: One of the most instructive parts of the movie for me was after Niki met the lady he later married. He noticed that he had begun to change. Prior to meeting her, he was very serious and sombre, seldom smiling, extremely disciplined and rigid. Every move was calculated to yield results in terms of winning a car race. After he met her, like every awesome woman would do to you, he began to loosen up and one day in the middle of a water fight with her, he froze. When she asked him what the problem was, he replied “happiness is the enemy”. He had suddenly realised that he was happy and in his book, happiness was an enemy to success, it weakened you. He felt he had to remain sober and serious twenty-four hours a day to show discipline and commitment (beat that for a serious Joe). That is an error. To be a champion, you must learn how to place value on things. There are things that are priceless in life, things you cannot pay for no matter how much money you make. You must recognise them and value them. The smile of a loved one, family, loyalty of a friend, your peace of mind…. Without a bank load of these priceless valuables, you can never really be rich.


Pitch to the right team: There is no success without a good team; people who are comitted to working with you to help you win. A good team with average players is more likely to win the prize than a weak team with a couple of star players. If you want to be a champion, look for the team that is looking for a star player to put on the news. Look for a team that wants the same things you want, and are headed in the same direction as you. Your team could be your friends, teachers, colleagues at the office or business partners... But they all pitch in to help your success.  A star player without a team is like a musician with a cold or a soccer player who breaks his leg. You aren’t going anywhere without a team, and a good one too. So ask yourself "Who's on my team?" Whether your dream is to be a great mum or to be a CNN hero, you must have a team.   

Mr Lauda found out just at the nick of time that life was a big round ball, and as much as dying on the track was great, living to enjoy its benefits was better. Ask yourself what you are really aiming for this year. Is it to have one shot at greatness, or is it to have a great life? Is it to win just today or is it to be a winner? Learn how to plan to win and win and win. It’s always better and it does not come just from pushing harder, it’s much more about pushing smarter and knowing where to push!
"Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane/FreeDigitalPhotos.net"

Kanayo Aniegboka

Kani is a Nigerian born and based minister, public speaker, entrepreneur and life coach. His keen and unique perspective to life issues makes him a refreshing voice to listen to. He currently serves as the Executive Coordinator of House on the Rock - Word House and sits on the board of a number of companies.

1 comment:

  1. This is so true...i love what mr Niki Lauda told d lady wen she asked him why he wasnt driving fast if really he was a racer even thou he dosent look like one because to her, racers look sexy, with long hair and all that. The thing is that Mr Lauda took time to plan his life while mr Hunt wants to enjoy life now

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