29th Nov, 2021
Heroism is less about “pre-installed bravery” and more about what you do when you’re petrified.
The women and men we see as heroic are mostly good, ordinary people who found strength they didn’t know they had in moments of difficulty, threat or danger.
We all have untapped courage within us. We absolutely are much stronger than we know.
Which brings us to Niki Lauda, the former Formula One racing world champion and what he experienced on August 1, 1976.
It was early in the race, at the German Grand Prix at Nurburgring, as Lauda made a turn at high speed, he lost control and hit the wall, his Ferrari exploding into flames.
Lauda was trapped in his car for nearly a minute at temperatures that neared 425 deg C.
His scalp and face were badly burnt. “Another ten seconds and I would have died,” says Lauda.
At the hospital, a priest was called in to deliver last rites.
He added that when his wife first walked into his hospital room, she fainted. “So I knew it could not have been good.”
Yet, remarkably, Lauda with bloody bandages covering his damaged scalp–put on his racing helmet to compete only 6 weeks later at The Italian Grand Prix.
He was placed fourth.
Lauda is now an aviation entrepreneur and successful businessman. And he rarely appears in public without his famous red cap. That covers his scars.
That just goes on to prove that :
#1. You’re Stronger Than You Know
Inner strength and personal toughness are not natural traits. No. They are character elements that get forged in the fire of hard conditions.
You really are stronger than you know. Difficult situations allow your power to express itself. And pushing yourself well past your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual limits only serves to expand them.
#2. Get Back into the Car Fast
Lauda admitted he was frightened to race again.
And to get back into the seat only 6 weeks after his near-collision with death strikes many as an act of insanity.
But Lauda knew that the longer he waited, the more his fear would become his way of being. And so he felt the pain, confronted his demons and got back into the game.
Same goes for you and me. When we fail, fall and stumble, get back up and keep on going as quickly as possible. As you know so well, the place where failure happens is also the place where courage lives.
#3. Never Stop Accelerating
Lauda kept on racing–even after he left the track.
After retirement, he started two airlines. He wrote a book. And he just continued his winning streak.
For the epic performer, there is no top end. The whole game is the process.
For A-players, the end of one victory is the beginning of the next.
You just never want to coast. Never want to rest on your laurels.
Never want to slow down, stagnate and base your self-identity on the trophies you won 20 years ago.
You will always face storms in life, at times like this, just remember the words of Haruki Murakami “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
Stay blessed forever.