Legacy: A Synopsis

Churchill famously described it as a hooligans game played by gentleman. It is arguably the greatest sport on the planet, nurturing core principles and values which reach far beyond the realms of the white lines.

You may not know what a ruck or maul is, or you may never have had the pleasure of being involved in a perfectly executed line break off first phase (quite an orgasmic experience). You may be living under a great big rock somewhere and have never even heard of rugby, but chances are you’ve heard of the All Blacks.

New Zealand are at the top of the food chain in world rugby. They are the dominant force. They set the standards. It’s not just a sport in New Zealand, rugby is life.

Their perception of the game is on another level. A former coach of mine- who was a Kiwi- always said that he didn’t see himself as a rugby coach, but a rugby teacher. He played the game at an elite level, and was incredibly knowledgeable about the sport. When he spoke, it all just made sense.

It’s a wonderful thing to be in the presence of someone who can captivate and grab your attention- those who instantly draw you in and have you hanging on their every word. It is an endearing attribute of a relatively small minority of contented people who are pursuing their passions in daily life, and are doing what it is that they were born to do. This level of fulfillment is something I think we can all attain, if we truly want it for ourselves.

But, I digress.

In a relatively short spell under his tutelage I played some of my best, most enjoyable rugby. It was apparent that he was not just a teacher, but also a student of the game. Completely and passionately immersed, he continues to dedicate his life to the great game and achieve huge success.

Massey Tuhakaraina is one of the greatest coaches I’ve ever played under.

Note: I feel obliged to mention Gerry Walsh at this point- my coach at WIT. A rugby purist and an incredibly passionate man, who is right up there with him. 

I was always made to wonder- could the principles of the game that I held so dearly be applied to life.

In a recent interview with AFL star Zach Tuohy, I was turned onto a book entitled Legacy. In it, a man by the name of James Kerr was given the enviable opportunity to go deep into the heart of the world’s most successful sporting team. After reflecting upon his time spent in the legendary All Blacks camp, the best selling author compiled 15 powerful and practical lessons for leadership and business, based on their model of success.

Without giving too much away, it truly was a captivating read, and I would highly encourage you to go and pick it up. There were a couple of take away points in particular, which really stopped me in my tracks and made me think.

Kāore te kūmara e whāki ana tana reka.

The sweet potato does not need to say how sweet he is.

Champions Do Extra

Find something you would die for, and give your life to it.

This chapter illustrates the importance of finding our calling in life- our element. In order to be able to find meaning and purpose in the things we do, they must resonate with us on a deeper level. If we pursue that which fuels our passion- and are lucky enough to find our calling- we must then fully immerse ourselves in it. Only then can we set ourselves up to be the very best we can be. Masters of our destiny; champions of the world.

He iti wai kōwhao waka e tahuri te waka.

A little water seeping through a small hole may swamp a canoe.

Go For The Gap

When you’re on top of your game, change your game.

This chapter made for immense reading. It’s core message, to never become stagnant in your approach. Even if you feel you have reached an optimum level of performance, you should always look to reinvent and readjust. Adaption is not a reaction, but a continual action. You either adapt, or you lose.

Whāia e koe ki te iti kahurangi; ki te tuohu koe, me he maunga teitei.

Seek the treasure you value most dearly; if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain.

Write Your Legacy

This is your time.

When a player makes the All Blacks, they are given a small, black, leather-bound book. The first few pages contain snippets of history, reminding them of the tradition, ethos, and character of the group that they are stepping into. The rest of the pages are blank, waiting to be filled.

This to me, is incredibly powerful.

Imagine you could hold a book in your hands, detailing your history up to this point. Everything that has happened in your life- good and bad- has happened for a uniquely special reason. You have a purpose- a destiny to fulfil. The majority of the pages in the book are blank. It is time to take control. It’s time to write a legacy, your legacy.

It is your time.

There was a particularly poignant quote in the beginning of the first chapter, which almost knocked me off my feet, and encapsulated all that the book talked about. Buckminster Fuller was a world-renowned architect, philosopher and visionary. Depressed and considering taking his own life, he began to look within and ask questions of himself which revolutionized his thought patterns, and changed his life. I think we could all benefit from asking ourselves this very question.

What is my job on the planet? What is it that needs doing, that I know something about, that probably won’t happen unless I take responsibility for it.

– Buckminster Fuller

 From cover to cover, a truly powerful read.