1. Love making mistakes.
‘Mistakes teach you important lessons, without which you would not progress. So take a risk. You either succeed or learn something: it's a win-win. I make mistakes like over-training, over-partying, lack of sleep… I’m still learning what I can get away with!
‘Like that one time in a training camp in Seville, it was the night before a rest day, so we headed into town for a couple – a lot – of beers. I then decided it was a good idea to get naked and jump off one of the big bridges into the river. This bridge is now called Jumping Bridge.
‘Needless to say, I was sent home two days later after my “friend” told the head coach [see lesson 4
]. Anyway, the lesson was this: if you must jump off a bridge naked, don't let anyone film it. I then left the sprint team to race in marathons, and I’m now world champion.’
2. The harder you work, the luckier you get.
‘There is no such thing as luck, only preparation! I believe that if you have put in the work, cover all bases and execute a plan, only then will you get the best result. It may seem like luck from the outside, but I know otherwise!
‘There are exceptions to this, like in 2009 when the current world champion capsized in front of me just 1,000m before the finish, and I ended up coming second instead of third. But then he had previously been caught for performance-enhancing drugs, so maybe that was just karma biting him in the ass.’
3. Invest in yourself.
‘Every single day, invest time, energy and money on yourself and you will never lose. You are simply the product of what you know, and therefore the more time and energy you spend acquiring pertinent knowledge, the more direction you can give your life.
‘For me, when something boring needs doing, immediately I get on my iPhone, play Xbox or check Facebook. But when I do eventually get around to renewing my British Canoe Union Membership – because the team manager is threatening to kick me off the squad – I always wonder why I didn’t just get it done straightaway. It feels good to be productive, sometimes I even make a nice list, so I can see exactly what I’m never going to do.’
Part 2: Ben Brown's 10 life lessons I learned from canoeing
Catch Ben Brown at IFC Canoe Marathon World Championships from 21-23 Oct at The Float@Marina Bay.