top of page

Beyond the Podium: How Purpose Drove These Athletes to Victory

There are many famous and inspirational athletes who won with a purpose. Below you can read about two famous people that almost everyone knows. But less is known about where they come from and why they wanted to win.

The Indian author and yogi Jaggi Vasudev was asked during a lecture how to become successful. A man from the audience asked if it's the effort you make, the luck you have, the trust you have, or if God might play a role in it.

As usual, his answer was simple and clear. Vasudev had the following reasoning:

"Difficulty, happiness, trust, and God probably all influence what you call success, but the question is to what extent we need to focus on something".

  1. We have little influence on the confidence that we can have that everything will be okay.

  2. We have no control over the luck we have

  3. We have absolutely no influence on God

  4. Therefore, focus more on the effort you can put into something because this is the only thing you can control.

Hard work is no use if you don't contribute to anything

Jaggi Vasudev told in another lecture what he believes about hard work. When you are young, he says, your parents tell you to study. And when you study, you have to study hard. If you get a job, later on, you don't just have to work, you have to work hard.

Vasudev is very clear in his opinion when he says:

"Working hard to work hard doesn't bring much into life."

Study with joy and work full of love - Jaggi Vasudev

If you have to work so hard that it makes you unhappy, who is it good for? If you make it so hard on yourself, it will probably be hard and unpleasant for the people around you. Then all you'll contribute to the world is misery.

"If through hard work, you only bring misery into the world, you'd better not do anything."

Successful people are often not so successful by working hard. They know how to do the right thing within their field of expertise. And in what they do, they enjoy being determined and full of discipline. They put all their efforts into becoming the best by practicing because they know it makes them happy. And they express that joy and share it. They understand that happiness is a choice and purpose is a verb.

Andre Agassi - The will to win

The tennis legend Andre Agassi (born on 29-4-1970) wrote in 2009 his autobiography "Open". He starts his story with "The Dragon". He was the youngest of the family, and his older brothers had not been able to develop their tennis talent sufficiently. Their father had decided that it, therefore, depended on little Andre to become the tennis champion of the family.

Andre Agassi - The Dragon firing 2000 balls

As a 4-year-old he was put on the tennis court every day in front of "The Dragon". The Dragon was a ball machine that was shooting 2000 balls at Andre every day after school. Day in and day out. And the balls had to be hit back with full force and in the right place because otherwise, he would get a few hundred more balls.

Andre Agassi - Hating what you do every day

Andre has always been open about how much he hated tennis, but he had to. Every day. Once as a 15-year-old boy at the Tennis School, he was freed from The Dragon, but he kept hating tennis more than anything.

He had made his hair grow for a long time in protest that he had to be in tennis school. When this didn't help getting expelled from school, he cut off his jeans and went on the tennis court. In combination with his colored polo shirt, it should be a reason to be expelled from school.

Andre Agassi - The rebel who became an icon

Unfortunately, his tennis skills had become too good due to the years of intensive training, and he was allowed to stay. To make matters worse, he was noticed by Nike, who made him an icon. His rebellion had just brought him closer to his father's goal. He was the dyed-in-the-wool champion.

Andre Agassi - Meaning makes a difference

To make his life complete, he marries Demi Moore. An example of beauty and an idol for many a man. However, love quickly cools down because of - in his own words - a lack of substance and meaning in his partner's life.

The now multiple world champion, millionaire, and husband of one of the most desirable women at the time, loses his father. This means that in a short period, he makes rigorous decisions. He quits tennis and ends up among the top 100 best players in the world. Eventually, he even applies for a divorce and Andre Agassi ends up among the people again.

He finds himself in a situation where he has questions about his meaning and purpose. Something that belongs to the phase of life he was in at the time.

Andre Agassi - Playing tennis to add something meaningful.

One day he meets the equally famous and talented tennis player Steffi Graf, who soon becomes his new love. Freed from the idea of having to perform because his authoritarian father forced him to do so, he got new insights.

He realized - probably under the influence of Steffi - that he could use his talent and celebrity for a purpose. A contribution to humanity. With his fame and the money he could earn from tennis, he was able to set up tennis schools that did well for future talent.

He started working to ensure that no one was forced to become a professional player. Just like Jaggi Vasudev believes, you play tennis because you enjoy it and not because you have to. Only then can you contribute something and the game has meaning.

Andre Agassi - Effort makes possible what nobody thinks is possible

Never before had a professional tennis player who, after becoming world champion and then ranking under the top 100, became world champion. Andre was too old, didn't play in his prime anymore, and had no chance. He did it. Not because he was the best, but because he had the will to win from the point of view of purpose and pleasure. He asked himself the question if he wanted to live an intention or attention-driven life.

Cristiano Ronaldo - The will to win

The football legend Cristiano Ronaldo has had little luck in his first years of life. His mother wanted to have an abortion and made several attempts to do so herself. The money for a hospital abortion was not available in the slums of the Portuguese island of Madeira.

His father, who was an alcoholic, certainly did not directly contribute to the success that Ronaldo managed to achieve.

Cristiano Ronaldo - Wanting to be the best in everything

Ronaldo is a person who, as a child, wanted to be the best at everything. But soccer was his love. He trained every day. Not because he had to, but because he enjoyed it. He only had one dream. Escape the slums by becoming the best football player and helping people with his future fame and money.

For Ronaldo, football wasn't just a game for fun. It was a severe sport for which you had to train every day. He believed in training very hard. That was precisely what he did.

Cristiano Ronaldo - Misfortunes are part of it

When Ronaldo played at the age of fifteen at the Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon, the next setback came. Years of training could not have prepared him for a physical abnormality of his heart. At rest, his heart went as fast as an average person would have after 100 meters of sprinting.

His career would be over if the football club hadn't paid the hospital costs. The operation went well, and the problem was solved. He was not so worried. His training and effort were what he stuck to. So was the belief that if he became rich and famous, he could help many people.

Cristiano Ronaldo - Winning takes effort and hardship

When Ronaldo was 21 - he was already playing in the World Cup - he made a rigorous decision during the summer break. He wanted to be stronger, faster, and more agile to become the most dominant player of all time. That year, he would become the most disciplined player to date.

One day he appeared with weights around his feet to learn to dribble even better. No one had ever done it that way! Cristiano Ronaldo wanted to win by putting more effort into it than his teammates. That's why he was known for always being the first to go and the last to leave during practice.

Cristiano Ronaldo - Faster, better, and healthier to win

At the top of his career, Cristiano Ronaldo continues to improve. He realizes that effort makes all the difference. Years ago, a run speed of 33.6 kilometers per hour (21.1 miles per hour) was measured in a match. This makes him the number 7 on the soccer field.

In 2018, during the games in Russia, a speed of 40 kilometers per hour (22.11 miles per hour) was measured! He is getting older but faster, and that is not possible at all.

He also did a jumping test. He jumped 78 centimeters (31 inches) high. That's more than the average professional MBA player. By training and even more training than the standard, he also got more skills in both his legs than anyone else. He has scored more than 100 goals with the left foot until 2018. He is by nature right-legged, but this number is more than many other right-legged professional players.

When he underwent a medical examination at the age of 30, the result was that his body is equal to a 20-year-old professional!

Cristiano Ronaldo - A goal to contribute to the world.

Rarely does someone at the top wake up every day with the idea that it's the first day to achieve something. But Cristiano has a goal and lives it. He contributes to society and the world with pleasure and dedication. He understands the purpose of idealism and that gives him the energy to improve every day.

Willing to win and be meaningful

Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo has made his dreams come true. Not only the idea of the best football player but the dream of giving other people a better life. That he first had to become the best in the world was something he took for granted. For me, he is the best in the world. I don't even like football. But I do admire people who can do so much for people because of the effort they put into their passion. Just like Agassi and Vasudev all do in their own way.

Finally, five more quotes about to win:

Winning doesn't always mean being first. Winning means you're doing better than you've ever done before. - Bonnie Blair
There are always new, grander challenges to confront, and a true winner will embrace each one. - Mia Hamm
Yesterday's home runs don't win today's games. - Babe Ruth
I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion. - Muhammad Ali
Vision and action change the world. If it was easy, people already have done it. - Nelson Mandela

59 views0 comments


Recent posts

bottom of page