Today, here in the UK we are waking up to the sad news that the great Rugby player Jonah Lomu has sadly passed away after years of kidney complications.
It’s deeply saddening that he left at the young age of 40 after effectively changing the world of Rugby with his first appearance in 1995. He stepped out into the World Cup and instantly became a legend. His pure power, size and pace made him unstoppable. So inspiring in fact, that he made me get into the world of Rugby as I wanted to be like him.
His sporting achievements are immense but his personal achievements are just as inspiring. He leaves behind some really important lessons which anyone who wants to be successful can learn from. Below I have picked out the top three reasons why Jonah Lomu is an inspiration to all who want to be successful:
Life lessons from Jonah Lomu: Nobody knows your struggles
In 2003 Jonah came to the realisation that he would have to have kidney dialysis and a transplant. Before this point very few people even knew he was ill. He burst on the scene in 1995, the same year he found out about his rare kidney condition. A condition which meant he took days to recover from matches when his team-mates would be fit within hours. A condition which would have put many others out of the game.
Jonah is a stark reminder that successful people rarely have an easy ride. It’s always a story of struggles, hardships and setback. Through all these hard times there comes a powerful drive, a powerful force of motivation that sets successful people apart. It’s almost like you have to hit rock bottom to find this amazing energy. Like you have to nurture it from the very depths of hardship for it to truly blossom. In Jonah it truly did blossom.
Nobody knew he actually had crocked toes due to the ill-fitting Rugby shoes he wore earlier in his life (because he simply couldn’t afford better ones) and nobody knew about his kidney disease until much later in his career. Despite all these setback he never gave up, he instead drove forward with immense momentum.
Everyone has issues in life and it’s not always going to be easy. Successful people however, find an intrinsic drive to power through and that’s what set’s them apart. Don’t look at the negatives in your life, search for that magic energy that can only be nurtured when you are near rock bottom, as that energy is the key to turning everything your way.
Life lessons from Jonah Lomu: Never gave up, adapt and have a higher aim
Jonah played most of his career with full knowledge of his condition, but he didn’t let that stop him. Many others would have used the excuse to give up but Jonah instead adapted his life to make sure he could still keep playing. He knew he needed longer to recover then everyone else so he made sure he got that extra sleep as he had that aim of playing again. He didn’t take anything for granted, he knew he had to look after himself or he would not be able to play the next game.
When I was playing I felt tired all the time. My recovery period was a lot longer than the other players. They’d be ok after an hour – I’d have to stay in bed till the next session.
When recovering from his kidney transplant, 18 months of being bed ridden meant he had to learn to walk all over again. His aim was never to simply to walk again, it was to play again. That intrinsic power he had nurtured from being at rock bottom gave him such strength and determination that anything was possible for him. He had unshakable faith that it was possible he would succeed.
Even when people thought he was at his best, he know he had more to give. He was quoted as saying people only ever saw 80% of what he was capable of. So whilst many of us would have basked in the glory of what he had achieved, he still had a desire to do even more. It was this drive to always be better and to never give up that made him so successful. Jonah Lomu is an inspiration to all of us driving to be successful.
Everyone in life is going to face setbacks. Every BODY is different too so each of us will have our own personal challenges that are unique. We need to learn to adapt like Jonah did and still build that unshakable faith that everything is possible. Whilst also always having the drive to be even better, no matter how successful others believe we are.
Life lessons from Jonah Lomu: Do what you love
If you are wearing ill-fitting shoes that are ruining you feet simply because you want to play the game of Rugby, then you must be doing something you love. However Jonah’s story in deeper than that. He burst onto the World Rugby stage in 1995, but many people don’t realise that there was no such thing as a full-time Rugby player in 1995. All these players had other jobs and simply pursued their passion for Rugby in their spare time.
They had that much love for the game that they would still had bundles of energy after their work life to practice at an elite level. Let’s not even imagine how much time he would have had to spend at the gym on top of that.
He wasn’t just born being great at Rugby and have all the free time to get great at it, he had to make time to play. He made time after his regular job in marketing at ABS bank (which he only left in 1998).
Too many entrepreneurs talk about how much time they spend working. Jonah wasn’t working, he was doing what he loved and that is what gave him the energy. He even loved his job in marketing. Well he had too, because if he didn’t it would have sucked the motivation and life out of him.
The lesson is simple. If it is important enough to you, you will make time for it. If you have enough love for it, you won’t just make time but you will truly look forward to it. Love what you are doing, because then, amazing things become possible.
Life lessons from Jonah Lomu: You don’t have to be an asshole to do well
I know I said three tips but this needed to be included too. Jonah was known as the ‘Gentle Giant’ and was liked by everyone he worked with. Proof that you don’t have to be an asshole to do well.
He didn’t feel the need to assert his authority everywhere he went, he was content with himself as he understood simply being able to play was a blessing. Successful people have this intrinsic happiness which somehow brings about even more happiness. It’s like a magnet. The more grateful and content you are, the more good comes to you.
Jonah was a legend of the game, more so Jonah Lomu is an inspiration.. I’ve written this quickly just hours after his death which is shocking the world of Rubgy. Jonah inspired me. In fact I started Rugby at a late age simply due to watching him. I hope likewise you will be inspired by the lessons we learn from his life too.