The other day, I was watching a great documentary about the champion racing driver Ayrton Senna, and I was struck by his philosophy. At one point Senna was asked how he felt about losing a certain race, and he said that winning or losing one race didn’t necessarily mean you won or lost the whole championship. The championship was won by whoever had accumulated the most points, so you could make it back up if you lost one race. He was looking at the bigger picture, and still hoped that he would emerge as the champion at the end. On a larger scale, it became apparent during the documentary that Ayrton was equally concerned about his legacy as a man. He was a strong advocate for safety in car racing, as well as being passionate about improving the lives of poor people his home country, Brazil. When Ayrton died, people were not just mourning the loss of a Formula One racing driver, but the loss of a man who was dedicated to whatever contribution he could make to the world.
I think that’s a fantastic legacy, and it really made me start looking at life in a different way. What if I could stop worrying about how a particular singing class or gig went, and just see them in the context of the overall progress I’m making. What if it didn’t matter if I won a particular race, but I could make it up in points as I went along, by learning from my mistakes?
We often put so much importance on that audition, that record release, that concert. And if it goes ‘wrong’ our career, our reputation, our life will never recover. Try taking a step back and look at that one moment within the bigger picture. It may help you have a different, more positive perspective about that moment and what it means.
As always, I’m keen to hear your views – has this article made you think in a different way, or have you always been philosophical about losing individual ‘races’?