For many years, Richard Wright had wanted to pen a book. And now he has. Yet the story he ended up telling isn’t the one he’d expected to write. Life took a turn. He shares his vulnerability and how he shifted his mindset in the face of extreme adversity to overcome all odds.
For Richard Wright, The Power of Purpose is so much more than a book he wrote. It’s the vessel that holds his vulnerability.
‘I laid myself bare,’ says the Randpark Ridge resident, and he did so for his two daughters.
‘I firmly believe that our job as parents is to provide a platform for our kids that enables them to become better humans than we could ever be. It’s an account of my failures, mistakes, shortcomings, struggles, victories and unbecoming. When they are ready to read it, I hope that they will resonate deeply and that they will take something from it that will enrich their lives. We have many profound and meaningful conversations and always have but having it in a book is different.’
He explains The Power of Purpose isn’t an autobiography, nor is it a self-help book. ‘It’s a weird hybrid, which is pretty apt because I’ve never really fitted into any of the usual categories either.’
Make sure you grab a copy of Richard Wright’s The Power of Purpose. Tracey McDonald Publishers, R275.
Richard is a renowned international speaker, sales guru and entrepreneur who believes ‘family time is a joy’. He has triumphed over what seemed like near-impossible adversity, and now, with raw honesty, he details his story.
He was first diagnosed with rare pituitary cancer four years ago, and it was then that he defined the power of his purpose as, ‘How much it meant to me to survive, for my girls to have a dad, how badly I wanted it. How much I was prepared to endure to achieve that. That meaning, burning desire and tenacity became my purpose which, in turn, unleashed immeasurable power in mindset changes.
‘We become what we think.’
Over the next few years, Richard’s cancer returned a further two times – and both times, he beat it. ‘Early in 2016, the first tumour was discovered and was surgically removed. It had already spread, and I was told it was terminal. Later that year I went into remission, only for the cancer to return six months later. In December 2017, I heard that I had beaten it again. 2018, bout number three arrived, again terminal. March 2020 – remission number three! So, spoiler alert, I made it out the other side of the book [and am] currently free of cancer.’
On top of the uphill battle to beat cancer, Richard – who loves the outdoors and says that cycling out in The Cradle of Humankind is a treat on any day – took on some of the world’s toughest endurance races. These included five full Ironman triathlons – his favourite competition. ‘I was fortunate to have many years of endurance sport behind me so my body is accustomed to the load. Mostly it was a conscious decision to force myself to get out the front door. Purpose played a massive role. Some days it was just physically impossible. But every day is a new day and another opportunity to abandon the past, control our fear of the uncertain future and live in the moment. Control
Through writing the chapters of his book, Richard relived these events, rediscovered the lessons he’d learnt and found new ways to express them better – which, he says, was the best part of the process.
Writing a book is something Richard had wanted to do for many years. Yet, the story he ended up telling isn’t quite the one he’d expected to write. ‘Isn’t that so true about life? We put something out into the universe and expect exactly what we had in mind. Life always has other ideas.’
He also found it difficult to say more by writing less, and he references Mark Twain’s words, ‘I didn’t have time to write a short story, so I wrote a long one instead.’ Yet, it didn’t take him very long to write. ‘My name isn’t “Richard last-minute-dot-com” and “If-there’s-no-pressure-it-ain’t-gonna-happen Richard” for nothing! My deadline for the final manuscript was the last week of January this year. I started writing on the seventh of December 2019.’
He’s written his story with extreme frankness – or, as he puts it in his prologue, ‘I have shared my nakedness.’ There’s tact behind this strategy as he’s found his social media followers resonate more with his posts when he is candid.
As a result, his vulnerability is inescapable, and he says this is what readers comment on the most. ‘To know that my openness has had such a huge impact is humbling.’
Writing with raw honesty came with its challenges too, and he says his childhood was particularly tough to write about. ‘I haven’t expressed much about the deepest most painful parts to many in my life so that was big for me. Also knowing that my parents would read it. Writing about the affair was equally tough. It’s something that I freely talk about and everybody who is close to me knows the story. Before I had an affair I was extremely critical of those who had cheated on their partners. I’m aware that many reading the book might feel the same about me.’
His biggest hope is that The Power of Purpose gives readers a chance to pause for reflection – and perhaps even see ultra-endurance races and their abilities in a new light.
‘The thoughts that we put in our own heads are both the most powerfully crippling and the most powerfully advantageous. Your choice.
‘The choice will determine the outcome.’
* Text: Daniella Graham. Photographer: James Puttick.