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.The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well," Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the International Olympic Committee and the driving force behind the revival of the modern Olympic Games in 1896, had famously declared.
Perhaps the only example of this was immortalised in the film "Chariots of Fire" when Eric Liddel of Great Britain refused to run in the 100 metres heats at the 1924 Paris Olympics as his Christian convictions prevented him from running on the Sabbath. It made headlines around the world
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Sounds like an oxymoron in today's world, when all that matters, whether in sports or life, is winning?
And rightly so!
"Winning puts you on the biggest stage. And shuts off all the lights," elite performance coach Tim S. Grover writes in "Winning - The Unforgiving Race To Greatness" (Simon & Schuster) as he strips away the clinic that creates mediocrity, and challenges you to embrace reality with a single-minded intensity.
"I've seen Winning in all its glorious generosity, and all its excruciating cruelty. One day it wears a halo. The next day it has fangs. You don't get to decide which it will be. You can only chase it, and if you're willing to pay the price, you might catch it. Briefly," writes Grover, who was born in London of Indian parents, offering a brutally honest 13-point formula for winning in sports, business or any arena where the battle is fiercely unforgiving.
"Winning is everywhere. Every minute, you have the potential to recognise an opportunity, push yourself harder, let go of the insecurity and fear, stop listening to what others tell you, and decide to own that moment. And not just that one single moment, but the next one, and the next. And before long, you've owned the hour, and the day, and the month. Again, Again.
"It doesn't happen all at once...For everyone, there are endless setbacks, challenges, roadblocks, letdowns, and issues that force most people out of the race," writes Grover, who is world-renowned for his work with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Ward and thousands of athletes and business professionals and is the Founder-CEO of Attack Athletics Inc.
Winning requires you to be different, and different scares people. So if you're worried about what others will say, the long-term effects, the sacrifices you'll make, the sleep you'll lose, your family being angry...I can't help you with that. There's nothing ï¿½typical' about the lifestyle and choices you'll have to make. Winning is inside all of us, but for most, that's where it will stay, trapped under a lifetime of fear and worry and doubt," Grover asserts.
So, how does one describe Winning in one word? Uncivilised, Hard, Nasty, Unpolished, Dirty, Rough, Unforgiving, Unapologetic, Uninhibited, Everything - that's how the greats Grover has worked with have termed it.
"If that describes your journey and how you attack your goals, we are speaking the same language," Grover writes as he unveils the 13-point formula that he says can be read in any order:
WINNING makes you different, and different scares people.
WINNING wages war on the battlefield in your mind.
WINNING is the ultimate gamble on yourself.
WINNING isn't heartless but you'll use your heartless.
WINNING belongs to them, and it's your job to take it.
WINNING wants all of you, and there is no balance.
WINNING is selfish.
WINNING takes you through hell. And if you quit, that's where you'll stay.
WINNING is a test with no correct answers.
WINNING knows all your secrets.
WINNING never lies.
WINNING is not a marathon, it's a sprint with no finish line.
WINNING is everything.
"Winning will cost you everything, and reward you with more if you're willing to do the hard work. Don't bother to roll up your sleeves, just rip the fucking things off - and do what others won't or can't. They don't matter anyway; you are in this alone.
"Stop being afraid of what you'll become. You should be more afraid of not becoming that.
"If you can't buy into this, if you believe you're not ready or not deserving, if you're not willing to commit to your success, you've never won, and you probably won't. Because winners all understand one thing: There's a price to pay and you must pay it," Grover maintains.
Contending that in the language of Winning, there is no talk about motivation, he writes that motivation is for those who haven't decided whether to commit to their goals, or how much time, effort, and life they're willing to invest to achieve them.
"I'm not measuring their level of success - someone can be broken or out of work or overweight or in a bad situation, and extremely motivated to change that. I'm talking about their need to have others push them into action with a swift kick in the ass.
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"I don't work with clients who need that kick in the ass. If you come to me, I need to know that you are already kicking your ass, and you're ready for more. Likewise, I'm not an ï¿½motivational speaker'. I don't write motivational books. I don't want to ï¿½fire you up' - that's your job. My job is to take your greatest achievements and build on them. I want to speak to you in a language that takes your best work and makes it better.
"That's the language of Winning," Grover declares.
It's up to you now! Do you have what it takes? (IANS/AD)
Had it not rained in Southampton on the morning of July 8, 2020, washing out play in the West Indies-England cricket Test, Michael Holding, one of the finest quicks of modern times, might never have got an opportunity to pour his heart out on a subject that incises him deeply: the racism that Blacks face in the Western world.
Holding was supposed to be commenting live on television for Sky Sports "but the sky was heavy and dark and full of rain, meaning no play was possible. Without on-field action to discuss, there was only one subject to talk about: the Black Lives Matter movement spawned by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin six weeks previously.
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"With no cricket and the rain still falling, Sky showed a short film involving me and my commentary colleague, Ebony Rainford-Brent, talking about the Black Lives Matter movement, protests and our personal experiences of racism," Holding writes in "Why We Kneel, How We Rise" (Simon & Schuster).
"When it was over, I was asked to speak again. And it was life. Ian Ward, the anchor of the show, asked me how hard it was to make that film and speak about such things. Well, I didn't hold back. And from what I said, and the way I said it, I think people say anger, frustration and emotion. I just about managed to hold back tears," Holding writes, adding: "I want to be clear: this is not a book of complaints. It is a book of facts. I hope it will enlighten, inspire, surprise, shock move. And above all, help to bring about real change."
The statistics are quite startling.
In 2020 alone in America, there were 226 fatal shootings of Black people by the police. Harvard research showed that, in some parts of the country, if you are Black, you are six times more likely than white people to be shot to death by those who are supposed to protect you. In the United States, according to data provider Statista, the rate of fatal shootings (per million of the population) from June 2015 to June 2020 was 30 Black, 23 Hispanic, 12 white, 4 other, Holding writes.
"Black people suffer. Our lives are worthless. And the statistics don't lie. In the US and UK, our children are more likely to leave school without qualifications, we are more likely to go to jail, more likely to live in poverty, more likely to live in social housing, less likely to own a home. We earn less, our women die in childbirth at a higher rate, our infant mortality is higher. And not surprisingly, our life expectancy is lower.
"All these things happen because we live by a system that tolerates and enforces deeply entrenched ideas that Black people, or people of colour, are inferior. From a seed of an idea hundreds of years ago that Black people were 'different' and 'other' has grown a belief system that has led to the consistent dehumanisation of Black people," Holding writes.
"Underpinning all of that is education. Or lack of it. And that was the main thrust of what I said on Sky Sports."
At that time, Holding had no idea what impact his words would have.
"But as soon as I was off-air and saw the messages and emails coming through on my phone, I realised people had taken notice. Job done, I thought. The clips of the speech were being passed on through social media. I think the phrase they use these days is 'gone viral' (it has now been watched about 7 million times). The next morning I was asked to talk again on Sky News. I agreed, thinking that it would be the last interview I did on the subject. I didn't see any reason to keep repeating the same stuff -- if people didn't get what I was talking about from what I'd already said, then they wouldn't even get it and perhaps didn't want to understand.
"I almost made it this time without crying," Holding writes.
It's not a "gloomy book", he maintains. "I want it to be a story about positivity. And that's why you will learn about brilliant Black minds and bodies and the incredible life-changing life-saving things they have achieved. About how we can fix the education system so that everybody, regardless of their colour, benefits. If we have a fairer system or start to move towards equality, nobody will lose out. There is enough to go around folks."
It's quite a collection of Black icons that Holding has gathered to reinforce his story.
There's Usain Bolt, the fastest man who has ever lived, the World record holder in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4x100 metres relay, who speaks about the sheltered upbringing both he and Holding had in Jamaica; and how the "fierce tennis champion" Naomi Osaka used "her status as the most sought-after athlete in the world to inspire change". (Osaka had pulled out of the French Open last month after deciding to skip the post-match media press conferences on the ground that she had been suffering from depression for almost three years and that questioning by journalists impacted her mental well-being. She also skipped Wimbledon but will appear at the Olympics.)
Michael Johnson, who won four Olympic golds and eight World Championship golds during his career, tells Holding "about the fear that underpins the entire system of racial inequality, while sabre fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American woman to wear a hijab while competing in the Olympics, where she won a bronze, reveals what it's like to be Black, Muslim and a woman in the supposed Land of the Free.
Thierry Henry, one of the greatest footballers of all time, opens up about how only worldwide fame can help to protect from racism, while the story of how racism ended the career of Adam Goodes, the legendary Australian Rules footballer, could well move you to tears.
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There are trailblazers too -- Makhaya Ntini, the first Black African player to turn out for the South African national cricket team in all forms of the game, and Hope Powell, England's first Black coach of the women's national team.
"So it's about hope. It's about why we kneel, and how we raise," Holding concludes.(IANS/AD)
What exactly is the extent of the wealth amassed by the Scindias, the erstwhile ruling family of Gwalior? How was it generated and how is it to be distributed among its four claimants?
Other questions are perhaps best hidden away or kept out of sight for diplomatic reasons -- such as the Gwalior monarchs' controversial role during the events of 1857, the alleged and under-probed role of the palace in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi (enunciated by Tushar Gandhi in a magazine interview in May 2019), and Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia's excessive dependence on her 'Rasputin' that led to a bitter split from her son Madhavrao Scindia.
These are some of the questions raised in political analyst, columnist, author and journalist Rasheed Kidwai's biography, "The House of Scindias "A Saga of Politics, Power and Intrigue" (Roli Books), that provides a wealth of information on the family from the turn of the century and is sure to rekindle interest in a clan that has seen a member serve in parliament or a state assembly for over 60 years.
"The history of the Scindias is best told through their lawsuits over property," Kidwai writes, and poses the question: "How about a 400-billion-rupee property dispute? Or is the figure higher?"
"The answer is no if one goes by the affidavits the Scindias have filed for parliamentary and assembly elections from 1957 (when the Rajmata first entered the fray) till date. Their wealth appears to be far less than popular perceptions about what is being fought over in protracted legal battles across the country. According to some estimates -- it is impossible to arrive at a definitive figure -- these disputes are over properties worth around Rs 40,000 crore. Some of these disputes have been dragging on for over thirty years among the former royals of the erstwhile Gwalior state, Jyotiraditya Scindia and his three aunts, amid speculation that the legal battle may be settled out of court," Kidwai writes.
"Neither side has denied or confirmed anything related to their legal battles, let alone reveal any details," he adds.
The roots of the dispute lie in the fact that when Jyotiraditya's grandfather, Jiwajirao Scindia, the erstwhile Maharaja of Gwalior, died in 1961, he had not left instructions about how his immovable and movable properties were to be divided among his descendants.
"The properties were initially divided equally between his widow, Vijaya Raje and his only son, Madhavrao, after she filed a suit in the Bombay High Court, back in 1984. Mother and son both had a 50 per cent share in the large number of immovable properties spread across India.
"In his case, Jyotiraditya had invoked the Scindia custom of primogeniture," Kidwai writes. He claimed that the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act that normally divide property equally among the descendants do not apply to the princely line as these were excluded by Section 5 (2) of the Act relating to the inheritance of a family.
His aunts, Usha Raje (settled in Nepal), Vasundhara and Yashodhara contested the claim, citing their mother's will of September 20, 1985.
Sardar Sambhajirao Rao Angre, "a master of intrigue and former private secretary to Vijaya Raje, who had a fractious relationship with Madhavrao" stepped in, Kidwai writes, "to explain that the custom of the firstborn enjoying 'jyeshtbadhikar' (primogeniture) could not be established beyond doubt as almost everyone who had ascended the throne of Gwalior before Jyotiraditya's great-grandfather, Madhav Maharaj, did had been adopted. That was how the Scindia's had managed to avoid the Doctrine of Lapse that eventually led to the 1857 rebellion by the Rani of Jhansi, Lakshmibai".
Then, immediately after Vijaya Raje died in 2001, Angre produced her handwritten will drafted in 1985 that had disinherited her son and grandson while bequeathing two-third of the assets to her daughters and one-third to a charity through a trust that would, in turn, cover the 15 trusts she had formed in 1975, just before the Emergency, to manage the properties.
"While the legal feasibility of an umbrella trust is questionable, this will is being examined in a probate case by Delhi High Court and is currently in the stage of evidence," Kidwai writes.
Vijaya Raje's solicitors in Mumbai had produced another will in 2001that excluded not only her son and grandson but the charities as well, leaving the entire block of properties that were under her control to her daughters. This will is also being examined in a probate case, this time by the Bombay High Court, and is in the evidence state.
The two wills "are important because of an agreement in 1971 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had scrapped the system of privy purses. At that point, the Scindias were getting Rs 25 lakh annually, apart from incomes from various trusts", Kidwai writes.
Immediately after that, the Scindias had divided their assets through a verbal agreement: the immovable properties had gone to the mother and the cash, shares and debentures to the son. A Mumbai court formalised this in 1975.
In his suit, Jyotiraditya challenged the verbal agreement of 1971 and the subsequent court division of 1975 between his grandmother and father.
In October 2017, Jyotiraditya expressed a desire for an out-of-court settlement and this agreed to the appointment of a commissioner, who, however, died during the process.
In June 2019, "the prospects of a compromise suffered a setback when the Bombay High Court refused a request by Jyotiraditya to strike off a fresh written statement by his aunts, claiming that they had retracted from their earlier stance in the family's property dispute", Kidwai writes.
"With Jyotiraditya joining the BJP in March 2020, many in Gwalior and Bhopal feel that the growing cordiality among the nephew and his aunts Vasundhara and Yashodhara (Usha Raje doesn't take any interest in the case) will help resolve the property disputes," Kidwai adds.
This then is the lead-up to a tale that Kidwai relates in eight chapters, beginning from "Scindias: A Brief History" and weaving through "The Rajmata of Gwalior", "Madhavrao Scindia: In Retrospection", "Vasundhara Raje Scindia: Princess in Public Life", "Yashodhara Raje Scindia: Princess Crusader of Many Causes", "Jyotiraditya Scindia: The Ambitious Gwalior Royal", "Next Generation: Royals and their Political Future", and "Various Shades of Fortune and the Ugly Property Wars".
How will this saga end?
"Following an injunction from the Supreme Court, no property can be given to anyone in the Scindia family till the primogeniture case is settled.
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"While the extent of the Scindias' wealth defies speculation, (by itself) the 1,240,771 sq ft Jai Vilas Palace's opulent interiors may give an idea. It leaves no doubt in our minds of the vast fortune at stake for the members of the erstwhile royal family," Kidwai concludes.
Come to think of it, here's a readymade scenario for an OTT magnum opus. (IANS/AD)
Here's a groundbreaking book that boldly claims that the key to success in business is not talent but the ability to persuade people to take a bet on potential. Suneel Gupta, a visiting scholar at Harvard, contends in "Backable" (Hachette) that no one ever makes it alone and asks: What is it about certain people that makes us want to take a bet on them?
As it turns out, it's not what you think. Backability is not driven by having the best experience, the finest pedigree of the most innovative ideas. In fact, many highly successful people are backed long before they are qualified. We tend to view these people as lucky. But the decision to back them is neither an accident nor a mistake, and rarely the result of good luck.
Drawing from his own business experience, countless interviews with some of tech's biggest innovators and compelling case studies of classic success stories such as Howard Schultz and Elon Musk, Gupta breaks down the qualities of backable people. "Backable" pulls back the curtain on the elusive X-factor that some people just seem to have and offers concrete tools like crafting the right pitch and scaling the vision for a project. Anyone from aspiring entrepreneurs to start-up stars can master these skills and jumpstart their next big idea.
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Fast Company ranked it the number 1 most innovative company in healthcare and was named the 'New Face of Innovation' by the New York Stock Exchange. He then served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Silicon Valley's top venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins before moving from San Francisco to his hometown in Michigan to run for US Congress.
His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and Vanity Fair. Website: suneelgupta.com. Twitter: @suneel. Carlye Adler, who assisted with the book, is an award-winning journalist and four-time New York Times bestselling co-author-collaborator. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two daughters. (IANS/JC)