How Many Times You’ve Had Sex, and Who’s Next -A Lesson for Life and Business

Here’s an odd question to be asked: “How many times have you had sex? And do you know who will be next?” So – who is asking and why is it relevant? Read on and find out, and learn a major lesson for business and life.

Growing up in South Africa in the 1970s I know only too well the fame and influence of singer Rodriguez. So the Oscar winning documentary on his amazing story, “Searching For Sugar Man” was extra special. (Those lines from his song “I Wonder”… ”I wonder, how many times you’ve had sex, and I wonder, do you know who’ll be next” were intriguing  and exciting to a generation of young South Africans brought up in a highly censored, incredibly strict apartheid South Africa police state). It’s all explained in the doco- worth a watch for sure!

The story is of the search for Rodriguez-  ‘bigger than Elvis’ in South Africa, but unheard of in his native America. Nothing was written or apparently known about him,  and he was rumored to have killed himself. The ‘searchers’ hit a big obstacle in their search. Most would have given up, but they didn’t- their attitude was this:

An obstacle is an inspiration.

I love that. An obstacle is an inspiration. I know the feeling. Whenever I am told something can’t be done, or the way forward is blocked, or someone has built a barrier between me and my goal, I get excited. My heart literally does beat faster. Really- it does. I can feel it now doing just that.

For me, an obstacle becomes sport. It becomes a secret bond to myself. “Of course it can be done- of course there is a way. Of course we can do this. It will just need a smarter or different approach, and maybe some harder work.”

As Walt Disney said: ” Often the only difference between success and failure is simply not giving up.” Ted Kennedy in his absolutely amazing autobiography says the biggest lesson his Dad taught his four sons was : ”Never give up.”

This starts in how we react to obstacles. Like the journalist in “Searching For Sugar Man”, see every obstacles as an inspiration. Embrace it as a gift. Say “THANK YOU-THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!!!” And then attack it with gusto, passion, relentlessness and a sense of adventure and humor.

The Rodriguez ‘searchers’ found him- he was working as a labourer on construction sites in Detroit 40 years after his records were massive hits in South Africa- and he had no idea he was an icon there. Watch the documentary for the rest of this powerful story. I loved it.


What’s the biggest obstacle facing you right now? And how are you going to inspire yourself to smash through it? If you can, please share it. Share your resilience, your optimism, how you master that negative voice in your head and let the positive voice dominate.

Oh- and apologies for the provocative headline- it did get you to tap on in to the article though, didn’t it?! And it was vaguely relevant to the story after all.


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4 Responses to How Many Times You’ve Had Sex, and Who’s Next -A Lesson for Life and Business

  1. peter salt March 27, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    i had no idea where you were going with this one however a mention of Rodriguez and the movie Searching for Sugarman and you had me really intrigued. Discovering his music and the movie this year has been one of the most exciting, poignant and inspirational experiences i have had in a very long time.
    Really appreciated the angle you found and its application.

  2. Aryeh Sternberg March 27, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    When I started in college my freshman year a second year student from across the hall commented on my size (I had been lifting weights heavily through high school and packed some muscle on). She asked me if I would be interested in joining the Cheerleading squad. What? Cheerleading? Isn’t that for girls? It turns out in the US it is a very serious sport where men are as big or bigger than the football players they cheer for, and the women get flung twenty feet in the air doing flips and twists to be caught by the men, both of whom are expected to cartwheel and flip across the sidelines of whatever game their cheering for.

    I asked her if she could teach me to do a back flip off of a wall from a running start, a move I remember from seeing some video on MTV as a teenager, and she responded with an emphatic “YES!” and a cheer clap.

    I went out for it, tried out, and while throwing the girls in the air and catching them, having them sit on my open palm above my head while smiling foolishly (trust me boys, you don’t think about where your hand is when you’re balancing them above you, especially when they weight close to what you weigh – we were a ‘smart’ school, not known for our bikini-tini Florida babes), I kept trying and failing at doing a back flip, or back tuck as we called it.

    It was a mental thing. Somehow I would fear the floor behind me and couldn’t help but look over my shoulder mid-flip. I would get over, but look more like a flying ape then a lithe and practiced gymnast.

    Finally one day my mentor, a grad student from Princeton, told me a secret. To this day I have never forgotten that secret and I apply it to everything I can think of that makes sense. If you’re still reading this, then you’re almost there.

    He said, “Be the flip.”

    At first I didn’t quite understand, but then he explained that it was not about me flipping, but about me being the flip itself, visualizing what the flip looks like before doing it, then in real-time rewinding and executing the flip as I had just seen it.

    And with that thought in mind, I reviewed the flip I had seen him do a dozen times in my head, closed my eyes, and volia! Did it without a hitch.

    From then on I was able to pull the back flips without effort.

    Until the day when I attempted an assisted back flip with my friend in front of a packed basketball arena and landed on my head.

    But that’s a story for another day.

    I hope this advice can work for you Possum readers!

  3. Tony Spencer-Smith March 27, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    Great piece. Makes me want to rush to see the film. I too grew up in South Africa on an earful of Rodriguez, and until now I had no idea he was not a world star. And what an exciting principle – to take an obstacle as a creative spur.
    Only one thing – the headline was a bit of false advertising!

  4. Richard April 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    Rodriquez gave us [young South Africans] permission to think differently, to express ourselves, and to challenge the domination of a country that had no freedom of speech or thought. Saw him play at Bluesfest, and what a thing it was. Richard 🙂

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