October 2, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Are You Living Life as a Champion?

'Few are called to pursue an extreme sport or profession where you put your life on the line on a regular basis. But all of us are called to be true to who we are.'

By Levi Ben-Shmuel

Speaking for a Wiser Life

Levi Ben-Shmuel is a Tai Chi and Kabbalah teacher, and co-creator of "Sulam Chi: A Dance of Life."

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I saw the much-acclaimed movie Rush during its opening weekend with my wife. For me, the film had an epic aspect. It portrays two polar opposite ways of living via the racecar champions James Hunt and Niki Lauda's approach to driving and life. It led me to reflect on how I am choosing to live my life and how well am I doing on the road to being my own kind of champion.

One extreme, exemplified by James Hunt, is the I-am-living-every-day-as-my-last approach. Because he faced death as part of his job, he made sure to wring as much pleasure as he could out of each day. In this approach, there are no regrets because life is lived so fully.

The opposite extreme, personified by Niki Lauda, is the all-that-matters-is-hard-work approach. In this model, pleasure is seen as a dangerous distraction that will keep you from reaching your goals and highest potential. Life is seen through the cool eyes of logic and calculation; happiness and pleasure become enemies because they can dilute the purity and single mindedness required to reach peak performance.

The film does a wonderful job showing the audience that both approaches work. By that I mean each of these drivers became champions doing it their own way. Well-meaning people who gave each of them advice to change their ways, to not be so extreme, did not deter them from coming back to what they knew in their hearts was right for them.

Few are called to pursue an extreme sport or profession where you put your life on the line on a regular basis. But all of us are called to be true to who we are. In our 24/7 world of increasing interconnectedness, it is all too easy to lose track of what really matters. The noise machine of other people's voices can drown out our own quiet inner voice designed to help keep us on track.

Also, not many of us are rewarded for staying true to our inner voices and fulfilling our purpose by receiving trophies and media recognition. But when you stay true to living life fearlessly as the real you, you already are a champion.

Do you feel you are living a champion's life? If not, what can you do to make it happen? And safe driving!

This blog originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

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