Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Legend, Or Legendary?

In the fine company of Singaporean 'legends', who completed the legendary Ironman in Kona, Hawaii in the 1990's and early-2000's. I managed to do it in 2013, after eight years of attempts. 

What is a legend? Usually, a famous person who is deceased. Think of legends like Elvis Presley, James Dean, Steve Jobs, and other celebrities.

However, legendary achievements may create the reputation of  being a 'living legend'. Thus, the things that you do become something of legendary proportions. These achievements could reflect a defiance of your age, physical capability, and social status. The classic 'from rags to riches' and 'phoenix rising from the ashes' stories are such hyperbolic description of philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and wealthy people. Yet, these labels stick indelibly as they do, effectively, describe a person and their exploits.

I am not comfortable with the moniker of 'legend', however, it may suggest a person who has achieved greatness, or completed challenges that defy doing or attempting. Or worst, that was the last great thing that person did before succumbing to sloth, despair, or death. 

To have climbed Mt. Everest, or all Seven Summits; finished all World Marathon Majors; completed a deca-Iron distance triathlon (10 Ironman triathlons in 10 days); completed a Triple-Deca (30 Ironmans in 30 days); run 50 X 50km marathons over-50 days; these are examples of mega-achievements that earn the achiever the unofficial title of 'legend'. In the esoteric world of ultra-endurance athletes, there are many legends who have become iconic through their grand, unbearable, and unthinkable achievements.

To do something new, or seemingly impossible, might be your first step towards achieving personal greatness. If 'legend' means attain personal mastery or personal greatness, go for it. We have one life to live well, and living it truly and thoroughly may be one approach. Be legendary, be 'epic', and rise above your true potential. Enhance your capability, capacity and credibility. Be incredible, ultimate and super-human. To live up this superlatives and hyperbole is to continue to demonstrate values of leadership and relevance.

As my late-friend, Dr Winston Koh said: 'Life is not about how many breaths we take, but how many moments that take our breath away.'

Leadership Lessons: What are doing to become legendary? Who do you know who is legendary, and you can learn from them?

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