Victor Küppers (Eindhoven, 1970) calls himself a coach. He avoids the word “expert.” He doesn’t see himself as such nor does he identify with the concept. He champions attitude as the way to become a better person and professional. He inspires enthusiasm. We catch him between trips and arrange a meeting at the bar of the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona, his office.
Can you train yourself to have a positive attitude?
Absolutely. We all inherit a particular genetic make-up, our temperament, which conditions, but never determines who we are. We can all work on our attitude. We can be friendlier, more patient, positive or cheerful. This is the goal in life: the day-to-day struggle to become better people, better professionals, better parents or better friends.
If I understand correctly, nothing is worse than conforming.
Precisely. Saying “you know, that’s just how I am” is the worst. Having a resigned attitude isn’t good. Really it’s nothing more than a mediocre excuse for not working on yourself.
Do you think attitude is a key factor to being successful?
Yes. Knowledge adds up, so do skills and experience, but attitude has a multiplying effect. The difference between top-notch and mediocre is attitude. Our loved ones and friends define and remember us for who we are, not for our job titles or academic degrees.
You always talk about “passion and enthusiasm.” Is passion an attitude you can learn or are you born with it? And if so, does it come down to finding the thing that inspires you and makes you the most happy?
Yes, you can develop passion. You have to figure out what you’re passionate about in life. We all have specific abilities that make us good at one thing or another, that make us enjoy something in particular. We have to keep looking until we find it.
Agreed, but you might not find it right away…
True, but until you find it, you have to be passionate about everything you do. There’s a saying we should embrace: “if you don’t do what you like, you have to find a way to like what you do.” Once you discover your calling, you have to be brave and jump in head first.
Are we obsessed with professional success?
Yes. It’s also a message we’re constantly being fed by contemporary society. Success is basically defined as professional and financial success. But the most important thing isn’t being important. It’s being happy.
How do you define success?
To me it’s about striving to be the best possible person in order to give people more love.
Why are we always in such a rush?
Because we live in a world that moves very fast. Everything had to be done yesterday. But we’re not going to change that; it’s the world we’ve been given. However, it is our responsibility to find a time and place for reflection. We need to take breaks, step back and remove ourselves from the madness of daily life and remember what truly matters.
If I want to change my life, where do I start?
By committing yourself to the effort it’s going to take. A lot of people have the desire and intention to change, but ultimately don’t do anything about it. The determination and discipline to do what you have to do is key.
What are the important things in life for you?
To work every day on being a better father, a better husband, a better son, a better friend and a better professional so that I can give more love to those around me.
How does one learn to be grateful?
Practice. By developing a habit of going over all the good things in your life instead of focusing on problems and worries. We’re surrounded by amazing things that we don’t appreciate, because we take them for granted. Saying “thank you” more often is good practice too. Those two words might soon get eliminated from the dictionary for lack of use!
Tell me about the so-called “sighing syndrome.” We sigh too much…
Yes, absolutely. A lot of people go around discouraged, unmotivated, depressed, lacking enthusiasm. Either they lost it or it was taken away from them. When a person feels discouraged, everything seems insurmountable. A tiny problem seems overwhelming and there comes the frustrated sigh. We all have problems. No one’s life is perfect. But we need to understand that our problems won’t end until we die. It is important to differentiate between two big problems: drama and circumstances that need changing.
What is the best part of your day?
That’s a really difficult question. My days vary a lot, but I’d say the best moments are in the evening, when I get home and see my wife and kids, and we tell each other about our day and joke around. When Barça plays, that’s a good moment too!
How do you think people see you? Do you feel like you connect with people?
I imagine there’s a bit of everything. I’m sure some people think I’m an obnoxious show-off and others have a good impression of me.
Would you give us four tips on speaking in public?
I’m not really one to give advice, but if I had to pick four factors, I’d say talk about something you’re passionate about and believe in. Be yourself, be genuine, don’t try to pretend you’re someone else or imitate anyone. Thirdly, tell a story and, finally, do so with a sense of humor.
A BRIEF TASTE
Do you like wine?
Yes, but I’m not an expert.
What is the best moment to enjoy a glass of wine?
Dinner with friends or when you get home and relax.
A song to accompany a good wine.
Read All About It by Emily Sandé.
A place to get lost in.
Camprodon, it’s heaven on earth.
If you could be reincarnated, who or what would you be?
Myself. I would do a lot of things differently and so much better. It would be incredible to get a second chance to correct mistakes and get to enjoy the things that matter even more. Life goes by so fast!
What do you do in your free time?
I spend a lot of time with my kids who are amazing. I play tennis, spend time in Camprodon, see my friends.
A flaw and a virtue.
I’m very impatient. That’s what I’m working on. And a virtue? Being a Barça fan!
What did you want to be as a kid? And when you’re older?
I always wanted to be an architect. When I’m older I want to be a great-grandfather, because that’ll mean I’ve spent a lot of time with the people I love most.