Why Top Gear Inspires Me as an Entrepreneur

And it’s got nothing to do with all the beautiful, sexy supercars in the show.

And it’s got nothing to do with all the beautiful, sexy supercars in the show.

I used to watch Top Gear religiously. It was hailed as the most watched car show on earth. But it was also often criticized by viewers for focusing too much on supercars that most people cannot afford to buy.

The car reviews were mad-cap, ludicrous affairs aimed more at entertaining the viewers rather than giving any real consumer advice. They literally blew up cars with tanks!

Ironically that was also probably why me and millions of other viewers around the world loved the show. It was so entertaining!

I like nice cars like most men, but I can’t afford a supercar. Does the show make me feel jealous and envious of those who can? Paradoxically, no.

The more I watch ‘Top Gear’, the more I’m inspired to look past money and pursue my passions instead. Why?

It’s not about power; it’s about efficiency

Supercars are all about going fast and looking good. Most folks will look at the engine’s power, measured in units call ‘break horse power’ (bhp). The higher the number, the faster the car would go.

But Top Gear presenters also taught that it is the power to weight ratio (or bhp per ton in this case) that actually predicts whether one supercar will be faster than another in a drag race.

The same perception error seems to occur in how we have always ranked financial success.

Most of the time we rank rich people by absolute net worth. We really should be taking their wealth divided by the amount of time they’ve spent accumulating it.

Everyone has limited time on earth. Last I checked the cure for death hasn’t been invented yet, so the point of having more money is really to be able to spend and enjoy it at some point.

So I would say the really successful people are the ones who are very efficient in the way they make money, such that they also have leisure time to enjoy spending it.

My theory is, we should not measure how financially attractive a job is by the size of the paycheck, but by the paycheck divided by the actual number of hours spent working. No use being paid big bucks if you spent most of your time working.

But if you truly enjoy your work, then again that alters the equation completely, as demonstrated once again by Top Gear…

Stay with your passion and you’ll enjoy the ride

Jeremy Clarkson was the key host of Top Gear. He was credited with coming up with the show’s winning format and most of the sardonic British humor that made it so successful.

He also constantly created a lot of controversy and hatred with his sarcasm and vindictive personal opinions. Maybe that’s part of his marketing genius.

Or maybe he really didn’t give a hoot about political correctness or winning awards. He described Top Gear himself as a ‘pokey BBC car show’. In one episode of season seven he took out the Emmy Award trophy the show had just won from a plastic bag that you normally put convenience store purchases in.

But it’s certainly obvious from watching him on the show that he enjoyed doing it.

All three of the presenters had humble and almost irrelevant career beginnings. Clarkson started out as a journalist and the other two a radio deejay and a pianist.

But all three love cars to their bones and ended up hosting Top Gear together for more than a decade. They became celebrities and made enough money to buy supercars themselves. They also had a lot of fun and adventure around the world while doing their job.

Be contented, all good things will come to an end… or do they?

The show was terminated by the BBC after Clarkson punched his producer in March 2015. The media controversy over the incident generated major bad press for the trio, and it seemed as though the magic had finally ended for Top Gear.

But in November 2016 another car show called ‘The Grand Tour’ appeared on TV. It was basically a revival of Top Gear — lots of supercars and the same three badly dressed British blokes constantly teasing each other.

This reincarnation was sponsored by Amazon, supposedly with a blank check and total creative license given to the trio. The Grand Tour is now going on to its third season. The legend hasn’t quite ended…

To me, Top Gear was a great example and reminder of the fact that you should always keep doing what you love and let success take care of itself.

‘The Grand Tour’, on the other hand, is proof that if you excel at what you do, even an unfortunate blunder cannot keep you down and hold you back forever from what you love doing. For all his misgivings, I envy Jeremy Clarkson for that, not the supercars he gets to play around with.

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