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Run Your Own Race

The #1 Thing You Need to Learn from this Post:
Focus on running your own race and you’ll win it every time.

A More Deeper Exploration:
Regardless of your passion for horse racing, the Sport of Kings provided an inspiring lesson from this weekend’s running of the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

Never mind that Mine that Bird was a 50:1 horse. Never mind that he was trained by a cowboy living in New Mexico and didn’t have a jockey until just before race week. Never mind that he got bumped coming out of the gates and pushed to last place. Never mind that he was so far back halfway in the race that you might have mistaken him for a horse warming up for the next race.

All that matters is that Mine that Bird won the 2009 Kentucky Derby by one of the largest margins in its history. He did it because he ran his own race and played to his strengths throughout.

If you haven’t seen the race, take two-and-a-half minutes to watch. Notice the horse in the way, way back (1:10). Notice him turn on the afterburners during the final turn (1:35). And see him thread the needle on the rail (1:52) before crossing the finish line far ahead of the crowd.

What lessons can you draw from this?

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4 Responses to “Run Your Own Race”

  1. Ryan Hupfer Says:

    Did someone say ‘Sport Of Kings’? Count me in!

    This race was amazing and truly inspirational — loved it.

  2. Daniel Oyston Says:

    I don’t usually just leave comments that say “nice post” but I can’t help myself this time. I love horse racing so the connection with business and marketing is great.

    It has so many lessons my head is spinning.

    Well done.

  3. Julian Cole Says:

    Like Daniel, I am also a massive horse racing fan and love that you have related this back to Marketing.

    I had watched this race yesterday and only really watched the ending, I did not know that Mine the Bird was so far back. What a gallant win.

  4. Ben Kunz Says:

    Perhaps the lesson is success is completely random. There is a range of performance in all of us, and if you line us up in a race it’s a bit like throwing the dice — someone will come out on top with two sixes, and randomly succeed.

    This sounds a little shocking to most people who think they can predict the future on past events. Read The Black Swan for the theoretical underpinnings, but it’s simple — if you think back on your life and the major moments that changed it, such as your first job, meeting your wife, they were all pretty random.

    So the lesson for marketing is if you want to succeed, you need to experiment, and a lot. You need to try many different campaign formats, messages, creative executions, and you need to network with as many people as possible. Doing so increases your random chance of succeed. Just as a virus eventually mutates into something that can scare us all, or a horse hits its stride to unexpectedly beat the favored in the race, randomness is the key to your future success.

    Trust me, Scotty. I wasn’t paid to say this ;)

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