Ayrton Senna passed away dramatically 20 years ago in Imola during a tragic Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend during which another driver died: Roland Ratzenberger. Senna has been the global Number 1 start in Motorsport: venerated in his home country, Brasil; loved by thousands of fans (many of which not even F1 fond of racing) in Italy, Japan and many other countries around the globe.
No doubt he had an incredible talent, no doubt he had an unique personality and intensity of focus in whatever endeavour he was involved into. Improvement of his talent and self-improvement overall were his constant object of reflection, awareness and action.
He has left a legacy on all of this well beyond the staggering track records. This is the legacy to reflect upon on two perspectives: his philosophy of life; the entrepreneurial perspective he developed throughout his own career.
Constant focus on talent improvement and self-improvement (some of his life philosophy quotes):
“I continuously go further and further learning about my own limitations, my body limitation, psychological limitations. It’s a way of life for me.” “I have no idols. I admire work, dedication and competence.” “Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose.” “And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.” “I am not designed to come second or third. I am designed to win.” “These things bring you to reality as to how fragile you are; at the same moment you are doing something that nobody else is able to do. The same moment that you are seen as the best, the fastest and somebody that cannot be touched, you are enormously fragile.” “The danger sensation is exciting. The challenge is to find new dangers.” “Racing, competing, it’s in my blood. It’s part of me, it’s part of my life; I have been doing it all my life and it stands out above everything else.” “If you have God on your side, everything becomes clear.” John Bisignano: “There’s only one word that describes Ayrton’s style, and that is: fast. He would take the car beyond it’s design capabilities. He would brake later, fly into these corners where the car was just over the edge, and somehow, he could dance and dance with that car, to where it stayed on track.”
Awareness and focus on self-entrepreneurship
1) “With not afterward promotion your victories are almost worthless”. He was always aware of the importance of communication, concrete public relations and the need to have an input on them personally to ensure that they matched the message he wanted to share.
2) He always negotiated by himself on his contracts (just with the help of a trusted accountant for the book keeping) with tough team owners or sponsor managers. Always aware of the value of his brand within a specific context.
3) Before the dramatic end of his career and his life he had already implemented business plans to progressively import top brands products and services from Europe and the USA to Brasil.
4) He understood that self-entrepreneurship goes well beyond making money simply for oneself “Wealthy men can’t live in an island that is encircled by poverty. We all breathe the same air. We must give a chance to everyone, at least a basic chance.” He did it in a channeled entrepreneurial way in many area of Brasil. To develop long lasting results, he invested heavily on children’s future and opportunities for self-improvement.
Overall the essence of his legacy is about a clear focus on improvement: talent, self awareness and development, professional approach to any endeavour at hand.