“The majority of people work their way through decades of to-do lists without ever asking themselves one simple question: What do I actually want?” says Felix Gottwald. This is precisely what dawned on him at the tender age of 13 – which was actually a bit late to get started with a career in professional sports: He wanted to be a Nordic combined athlete. So he convinced his parents not to make him take over the family’s car dealership and instead to let him attend residential sports-focused school.
The result is three gold medals, one silver and three bronze – and that’s just at the Olympic Games. He’s also won three world championship gold medals. At the Health & Fitness stage at ISPO MUNICH 2017, he’s offering insight into the basic principles behind his success – something he is eager to share with his audience: “The challenges facing each and every one of us are to maintain the sense of childlike wonder we feel when we start doing something we really want,” says Gottwald.
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Felix Gottwald: “Take a smile with you”
His road to success leads along a path so simple it may as well be flat, explains Gottwald to his audience. “If we take just one thing away from here today, let it be this: Take a smile with you. An honest to goodness smile can’t make a situation any worse. On the contrary: According to Qi Gong, for example, a smile activates the flow of energy.”
This is how he himself mastered even the most challenging situations in his professional career: by treating the situation like a team competition where gold is at stake. Gottwald shows of a photo showing him about to jump with a face full of laughter. “I’m sitting at the starting block and smiling. I was chatting with the scalawag who only ever wanted to do ski jumping,” says Gottwald. What followed is what he calls the luck of smiling faces. Result: another gold medal.