I saw Michael Johnson been interviewed by Matthew Syed for a Times newspapers special at Cineworld. The event was in London but broadcast across several cinemas which I think is a great idea. I saw Sir Clive Woodward at a similar event and all this may give the impression that I’m a big sports fan but all I really like is football and I don’t know much about that. What interests me however, is the psychology of winners from a business point of view.
I bought both, this book and Mathew Syed’s Bounce (as a little anniversary present for the BF and myself) so I will be reading that next. Back first with Gold Rush what struck me straight away is that this is a book about many athletes, rather than just Michael Johnson and many that are featured are Brits; Steve Redgrave, Chris Hoy, Rebecca Adlington, Sally Gunnel, Daley Thompson and his mate Seb Coe all feature.
I love that he says that Chris Hoy doesn’t think of putting sport first in life as a sacrifice. He simply believes that if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. I frequently get comments about ‘taking time off’ and ‘why work all the time’ but it’s because I love it and want to achieve things. Please don’t stop me doing what I enjoy and reach for what I’m aiming for!
I can absolutely resonate with one of my favourite quotes in the book when asking Daley Thompson where his confidence came from, he simply said, ‘It’s all I’ve ever known.’ I wouldn’t say I’ve always been a confident person – I grew into that – but I always knew I could achieve whatever I put my mind too. That’s what my parents instilled in me.
Another Daley quote comes from an interchange with Seb Coe the day after our current Olympic London 2012 supremo missed out on gold, asking about the weather. ‘It looks cloudy with a chance of silver.”
I need to include this from Chris Hoy in full:
If your focus is on having more Twitter followers than someone else and getting to your phone and tweeting about how the race went, you’re competing in the wrong arena and for the wrong reasons. You’re no longer interested in being a great athlete. You just want to be famous.
It was all going so well and despite the author mentioning his company ‘Michael Johnson Performance’ at least 12 times – fair enough, we all need to earn a living – I went off the man when he stated that Canadian’s ‘have always had a bit of an inferiority complex being so close the US.’ You can go off someone very, very quickly!
But I read it to the end and overall, the book has some great quotes and insights, like Usain Bolt with a gigantic 6’ 5” frame not being made for sprinting but he makes it work for him. Johnson himself has a taskmaster of a father and whilst sometimes fearful of disappointing him, regards him as a hero. He certainly had a supportive family all round and an excellent coach in Clive Hart to who his book is dedicated.
Read if you are an athlete. If you’re a fan. Maybe even of you’re just interested in the psychology of winners.
Inspire factor 7/10