This story is part of the book I’m authoring titled, ‘Rings to Cubicles: Inspiring Lessons of Grit, Perseverence and Sportsmanship from Olympic Athletes for Corporate Professionals‘. Read more about the book here http://www.Kiruba.com/olympics
Its a compilation of inspiring real life stories from Olympic Champions. Here is one very fascinating story. Read on.
Winning an Olympic Gold Medal is considered the ultimate in sports. Hundreds of elite athletes have done that across many Olympic events. We don’t remember them all. There are very few that stays in our memory.
Bobby Pearce’s Rowing victory at 1928 Amsterdam Olympics is one such.
But first, about the rower. Bobby hails from a family of accomplished rowers. Both his father and grandfather participated in the World Rowing Championships. His grandfather won it in 1885. Not surprisingly, Bobby took to rowing early in his life. By 14, he had already won his first open event and a few years later was crowned the National Single Sculls Rowing Champion. It was no surprise that Bobby was selected to represent Australia in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.
The Amsterdam 1928 rowing regatta was held on the Sloten Canal, and in the single sculls there were fifteen competitors from fifteen different countries.
Bobby easily beat his competitors in the initial rounds. His biggest challenge was to come during the quarter-finals Not from his rowing competitor but from a family of ducks !!
In the quarter-finals race, Bobby was easily leading Victor Saurin of France. While he was well ahead of the Frenchman, he heard the spectators on the river banks loudly shout out to him and gesturing wildly. He looked over his shoulders to find a duck and her ducklings right in the path of his boat. He stopped rowing, slowed down his boat to a halt and precariously leaned forward to rest on his oars. By the time the duck family had crossed to safety, his competitor had already overtaken him with a lead of five boat-lengths.
Bobby restarted his rowing and so good was his strength that he not only overtook his French rival but went on to beat him by over 30 seconds. Infact, Bobby’s time was the fastest among the eight scullers, even including the stoppage time for the ducks!!
Bobby then famously went on to win the 1928 sculling gold with a record time that stood for nearly half a century. He later become the first Australian to defend an Olympic title at the 1932 Los Angeles Games.
Even though Bobby is considered one of the greatest rowers in the word (Two Olympic Gold Medals, Three World Sculling Championship Titles), it is his humane consideration for the family of Ducks that won people’s hearts and made him popular.
Mahesh Baxi is CEO of Compassites Software and earlier, Managing Director of ThoughtWorks, a company I have huge respect for. I have known Mahesh for a while now, mainly through online interactions and I like his attitude to life.
When I was approached to write the foreword for his new book titled ‘New Age Leadership’, I felt honored.
Knowing that forewords are usually not read ( I know. I skip that part always!!), I made sure that the one I write is brief and to the point. Here it is.
I have been a regular reader of Mahesh’s blog and I have both enjoyed and benefited from his perspectives as a business leader.
Mahesh is one of the very few CEOs in India who blogs often. I have always admired top management people who can write because I know there are lots of things that fight for their time. That’s why I appreciate them when they can devote their time to write and share ideas with others. Sharing one’s knowledge is a great way to build a brand. I like it that through this book, Mahesh has been able to walk the leadership talk.
As you read this book, you will notice that its written in first person. It’s as if Mahesh is having a conversation with you over a cup of coffee.
A good author is one who has the ability to deliver his message in all forms of media. In addition to his blog, Mahesh has made the right decision to morph it into a physical book and an ebook.
This is an easy book to read. You can flip to any page and land on an interesting leadership lesson. It’s a short book and I love it when I can actually finish the book on a short plane ride.
However, I suggest you don’t. Read a short chapter. Close the book. Mull over the leadership advice. Let it marinate. Put it to practice. Then move on to savor another one. And watch the impact it’s beginning to have in your life. You will thank yourself for picking this book.
With Olympics a little over a month ago, I’ve already been bitten by the Games bug. I’m compiling a list of very inspiring stories from the Olympic Games (all forms: Summer Games, Winter Games, Paralympics and Youth Games). This is for a newly launched book project. The idea is to pick up these inspiring lessons and apply them to our working and real life.
To see an example of the success stories, please take a look at this page to get an idea. These can be stories which illustrate the following…
Planning : How a sports person has meticulously planned his or her preparation. A well planned training regiment. An example for us to learn to apply while dealing with big projects at work.
Peaking: A story to show that peaking at the right time is important. While preparation is important, it equally important not to burn out and to conserve the best for the main event.
Perseverance: Stories of how athletes have never given up in-spite of hurdles.
Overcoming Failure: Inspiring stories of how sports persons have overcome failures and in fact used them as a great motivational force to succeed.
Sportsmanship: Examples of ethics and respect for fellow athletes. Lessons we must learn and apply in our corporate life.
Leadership: How a man or woman has been a true leader, catalyzing an entire team to achieve success. In corporate life, it will be the CEO and powerful lessons to learn from sports leaders.
Coaching: The importance of experience and how a coach has played an important role in shepherding a team to Gold. In corporate life, this role is played by mentors.
I don’t cry often. Never in public. So, it completely surprised me when I broke down in the middle of my talk at the launch function of my book ‘Copy Right and Left‘ two weeks ago. Right in front of a packed audience. For a full 20 seconds (which felt a lot, lot longer, trust me !!).
It was an outpouring of relief. Authoring a book had been on my bucketlist for as long as I remember. I have tried many times and failed in as many times! Wrting a book is a long, arduous, tiresome, sometimes lonely journey. To cross the finish line and to see your baby come to the world is an amazing feeling. I just proved a point to myself. Guess, I got overwhelmed.
So good was the entire experience, I couldn’t wait to get started on another arduous, long journey! :) Especially, if its on a subject that is very close to my heart : Couchsurfing.
The book is titled, ‘COUCH : How a Simple Furniture is Helping World Travelers Save Money and Build Lifelong Friendships.” Read more about the book at http://Kiruba.com/couch
I remember the first time I couchsurfed. It was in Kuala Lumpur in May 2008. I stayed with a very friendly young Chinese guy, who was extremely hospitable. Two days earlier, I stayed in a plus 5 star hotel, courtesy of a large corporate who had invited me to speak at their conference. The stay at the 5 star hotel was luxurious but I enjoyed the couchsurfing experience more. I realized that it was the genuine hospitality, the kindness of the human heart and the opportunity to experience the local life is what couchsurfing so much more endearing. After my first experience, I was hooked. I knew this was my calling.
Since then, I have traveled to many countries which included USA, UK, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Croatia and South Africa. In each of these countries, I had wonderful experiences staying with the locals. Each of the experience had been memorable.
Being a guest can only be surpassed with the joy of playing host. Me and my family have had the privilege of hosting travelers from France, Belgium. Japan. Australia, Malaysia and other countries.
I have since been a big evangelist to the concept of couchsurfing. I have been encouraging my friends to open their doors open to strangers and to experience the joy that I have felt. This book is an extension of that.
I genuinely felt happy with the book project, the sort of exuberance that a kid has while waiting to watch a KungFu Panda movie. I actually woke up at 3:50 am when subconciously the idea of the title came up. I fell in love with it and immediately started to work on the outline of the book.
To me, this book is an escapism. Just like how people take a coffee break or smoke break to break the monotony, I take out time to write this book.
This book has practical advice from my own experience and from experienced couchsurfers around the world. We already have some awesome people on the Advisory Panel.
I have always enjoyed doing collaborative projects and in the same spirit, this book is being authored in an open, transparent manner. The book is written on a Wiki. You are welcome to contribute to the book. You are free to chip in and edit the book as you feel is right. Every person who contributes to the book gets mention both in the ‘Contributors’ section of the website and in the book.
Couchsurfing reaffirms my faith that people are good hearted. couchsurfing has taught me many life lessons and this book is my way of saying ‘Thank you’!
A lady rented out her apartment to another person using the site AirBnB, a site that helps home owners rent out an extra room or the entire house to a guest who is willing to pay. So, look at this as a commercial version of Couchsurfing.com.
Problem erupted when the house owner returned to find her house completely ransacked. She blogged about it and this started an avalanche of bad press for AirBnB, a company that has raised $120 million in funding at over a billion dollar valuation.
A quick look at the news about the news reveals that almost every news item points its accusing finger at AirBnB.
Here’s my take on this. AirBnB is a platform that connects hosts with guests. Its as much a responsibility of the host to do background check on the guest before letting out her home.
I feel that AirBnB is getting a raw deal here because they are a funded company. And there is money involved in the entire process. I know a few incidents that have happened at CouchSurfing.com and The Hospitality Network. I don’t see such a huge outcry against these sites because these sites are free and they work on trust. Hence, people have much lower expectations.But when you pay money to stay at somebody’s house like in AirBnB, you go in with certain expectations and anything that falls below will tick off people.
I mean, if a marriage happens via Shaadi.com or BharathMatrimony.com and the marriage sours up, would you blame the site? If you bought an item after watching a TV commercial and you are unhappy with the product, would you blame the TV channel? These are just mediums. You need to do your round of research, ask for recommendations, do background checks before you take the decision. Blaming the platform is stupid. You know whats even more stupider? Its creating a huge mountain from a molehill of a story.