In a September 2006 interview in Life Magazine, Hugh Laurie said about his famous rowing father, Ran Laurie:
My father didn’t deliberately coin aphorisms. He was far too modest a man to think that anyone would be writing down his profundities. I do remember him saying some very good things like “Any idiot can win.” That’s always stayed with me. What he meant was “Winning doesn’t actually teach you anything.” You win. End of story. But the losing and how you deal with it and what you take from it – that’s the interesting bit.
The whole thing about rowing is that you’re facing the wrong way. If you fall behind, you can’t see who’s winning. That starts to mess with your head: how you keep in contact until you push for the finish line.
My father and I were discussing these very strategic pushes and he said: “Well, you could do all that, but I remember when I rowed, we’d just have one push. You put everything into that one push, and if it doesn’t work, well, we all lose some races.” The funny thing about it was, he never did lose any races. He won everything. But I thought it was a wonderful way of looking at life: You have one big push. Put everything you’ve got into it. If it doesn’t work, well, we all lose some races. If you’re trying to hold back, if you don’t commit, you’re never going to get results.
Clever man, that Laurie Senior….