The other day in a conversation with a colleague, one of my favorite books – The Art of Racing in the Rain – a 2008 novel by Garth Stein came up in our discussion. The novel became a New York Times best seller, remaining on the list for more than 156 weeks. What makes it different is that it is told from a dog’s (named Enzo) point of view.
I read the book about four or so years ago, having selected it from the shelves at Barnes & Noble strictly by its cover. It had a face of a golden retriever on it, so it immediately caught my attention. What I didn’t know, at that time, was that after I read it I would’ve learned several important success and life’s lessons.
Through Denny (the dog’s owner who is also a race car driver seeking success on the track and in life), Enzo gains tremendous insight into the human condition. He sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast.
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Here are the main takeaways for me from the book:
- Just don’t confront your fears, embrace them. Use them to motivate you through barriers and obstacles to success.
- Your car (your life or business) goes where your eyes go (vision) – hence to be successful in both you need clarity as to where you are today where you want to get to in the future.
- The test of a champion is not whether he can triumph, but whether he can overcome obstacles and achieve a specific outcome.
- Racing and life or business is about discipline, not about who is fastest. The one who drives smart will always win in the end; nothing more to add to this.
- The race is long; to finish first, you must first plan to finish. Each of us on a daily basis needs to nurture our will to do our best, and if we get lucky we will when. But through preparation and practice, you can create your own luck.
- Racing in the rain (your fears and/or obstacles) is about balance, anticipation and patience. It’s about confidence and self-awareness.
The book offers some great almost-end-of-summer reading and is well worth the investment of both time and money. What I won’t tell you about, however, is the surprise ending which ties it all together.
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