Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fightin', Racin' and the Future

“In the early days they’d just as soon fight as race. They’d even stop the race and fight.” Junior Johnson, NASCAR Legend

Junior Johnson was one of the creators of modern stock car racing and was the focus of author Tom Wolfe’s heralded 1964 Esquire magazine article, “The Last American Hero Is Junior Johnson.” A bad movie based on the article was made in 1973 with Jeff Bridges as Junior.

Today, drivers do some bumping on the track, or, “rubbin” as some fans refer to it, but most of the fighting, what little there is, usually happens in the pit area.

Johnson’s quote is a great example of how the stress and craziness of competition cause participants to forget why they got into the race, or game, in the first place. In football, one of the fun things to do (and a great strategy to get your opponent out of his game) is to slap an opposing player at the end of a play, when the refs aren’t looking, and then yell. By the time the ref is looking over at who yelled the opposing player is retaliating and they get the flag.

In the early days of NASCAR the fightin’ was part of the racin’. The purses were not that big and men raced because…well…they liked to race. Today, fightin’ doesn’t look good on ESPN and sponsors don’t want spokespeople with black eyes and missing teeth. Fightin’ is no longer part of racin’. The game changed.

Has your game changed? If so, maybe the things that got you where you are won’t get you where you want to go. (Which by the way, is close to the title of a pretty cool book by Goldsmith and Reiter, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There…came out two years ago.)

A psychologist friend of mine says, “The things a child learns to survive may not, as an adult, help them to thrive.”

What habits, attitudes, thoughts, actions, people, ideas, jobs, responsibilities, beliefs do you need to let go so you can move ahead? If your game has changed it might be time for you to change.

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