To wit, “Rush” emphasizes that, unlike his rival Hunt, Lauda wasn’t exactly Mr. Popularity among other drivers. If you’re focused on pleasing others, then you aren’t truly leading — you’re merely reflecting. During that fateful week at Nürburgring, Lauda called a meeting of his fellow racers and implored them to boycott the race because of dangerous track conditions. He lost that vote but turned out to be spot-on in his assessment — tragically so.
The willingness to take an unpopular stand is common among leaders, because if being one was easy, then more people would assume leadership roles. It often rubs people the wrong way when a leader eschews popular opinion and the status quo in favor of steadfast commitment to principles (not to mention the inevitable envy of their success). Leaders often have to settle for the grudging respect they earn through consistent proof of merit. To them, it’s all about the long game.
Lauda consulted extensively with “Rush” screenwriter Peter Morgan of “Frost/Nixon” fame. In the film, Lauda (portrayed by Lauda doppelgänger Daniel Brühl) says to James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth): “A wise man can learn more from his enemies than a fool from his friends.”
Take the celebrity your kids idolize. Now take the celebrity who recently engaged in a public catfight with your kid’s favorite celeb. Now try to imagine Lauda’s words of wisdom coming out of either of their mouths. Better yet, take your kids to see “Rush” so they can learn what their standard for heroism ought to be.