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My Infinite Quest

I often get asked the question “Why do you race Ultraman and what keeps you motivated to keep coming back?”

Rob Gray about to swim in ocean

For me, it’s simply to achieve my ultimate human potential. I’ve discovered something that I’m good at, and my quest is to be the very best that I can be through detailed analysis, wise planning, smart execution, an extremely strong work ethic, and a positive attitude. All of this is underpinned by surrounding myself with experts who contribute to the goal, and most importantly making sure that the quest I’ve chosen continues to bring me joy.

Joy is an incredibly important part of this, and is an often overlooked aspect of people’s lives. I see many corporate executives who are on a quest to be “successful” without really thinking about what that means to them. Often, the focus is on status, money and possessions, neither of which directly result in joy. In my 20s and early 30s, I was obsessed with climbing the corporate ladder. I got promoted multiple times, and then at one point, when I was in a relatively senior position leading a global product marketing team, I looked at my boss and realized that everyone more senior than him spent an inordinate amount of time focused on their work. That’s what made them successful; regardless of how much they talked about work/life balance, the reality is that they were successful because they spent a huge amount of their energy focused on the job.

I often think about the legacy that I will leave for my kids. The interesting thing that I observed, being around the kids of successful people in Silicon Valley, is that kids don’t care at all about money, or whether their parents are CEOs of some huge tech company. They are more impressed if their mom or dad can do a cool magic trick! Or at least, spend some time with them! When I was growing up, I was fortunate to have parents who worked from home, and could spend a lot of time doing cool things with me. On many days after school, I’d be practicing rugby with my dad or playing music with my mum. After I had kids, I realized that making time for them is one of the most valuable things that I could do. At the same time, when they look at what I’ve achieved in my life, it dawned on my that they couldn’t care less if I was “Senior Vice President of XYZ”, and that they would be more inspired by observing me accomplish feats of human performance.

When I think about the lessons that I want my kids to learn, I want them to choose a path in life that brings them and others joy, I want them to choose a path that aligns with their god-given abilities and traits, and I want them to leave no stone unturned to reach their maximum human potential in that area. Whether is sports, art, music, science or entrepreneurship, I want them to have a strong work ethic, believe in themselves, and do everything in their power to achieve their goals. I want them to know that on their quest there will be really tough times, and really great times, but that neither of those lasts forever. Persevere through hardship, and bask in the happiness, but don’t let either of those affect you too much.

I want my kids to choose things in life that bring them joy. Not to say that they never do things that are boring, difficult and unpleasant, but that the path they choose is one that will ultimately bring them joy. For me, I love riding my bike for hours, swimming in the ocean and running through hot lava fields. I realize that is certainly not for everyone, but it does bring me joy. I feel alive. In the throes of a competition like Ultraman I feel like my mind, body and soul are deeply connected, working in unison to push me towards my goal. This year, I’m better than last year, and the year before that. It’s a long, slow process of continual improvement that honestly has no end. I cannot see a time when I say “I have achieved my full potential”. But this year, I’m one step closer.

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