Pint-sized, in a suit and with a microphone, speaking confidently to a room of people, Eric ‘the Game Changer’ Lassard is clearly not your average nine-year-old.
Although only nine years old, Wicklow resident Eric Lassard already has his own website, a published book, a game and an Irish tour under his belt.
When he was only a toddler, Eric’s parents began taking him to motivational speakers in their home country of Hungary, which spurred a great interest in Eric.
With Eric’s approval, the family decided to move to Ireland to give their son the best chance of success by bringing him up in an English-speaking country.
“Eric always liked board games but he would set up his own rules. This happened for years and then it developed and became his motto to do this in life. It took us many years to realise he was right,” says his dad, Peter.
The ‘Game Changer’ came up with the ideas for his book The Twelve Elements of the Winner Matrix when he was just six years old, which he managed to self-publish this year.
“When Eric was first ringing bookshops to stock his books upon hearing a child’s voice they hung up. He had to ring them back and explain that he was a published author, and they would say that the manager was not here, but he was determined,” his dad Peter said.
Eric is the founder of Eagle Games, a company which produces motivational books and board games. He is currently working on making an E-Book version available on Kindle and an app version of his ‘Winner Matrix’ board game.
He insists that the very fact we are all born winners, and that the key to success is to make your own rules, and beware of “the greatest poison of all” – other people’s opinions.
Approaching his audience, Eric stops to hold the hand of woman, jokingly insulting her hair to drive this last point home.
“You know why I did this? To prove that OPO (other people’s opinions) is the deadliest poison-it kills all your dreams and makes you feel that you are not good enough.”
“You know what Michael Jordan said? I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. Can you imagine this? Being Michael Jordan and missing more than nine thousand shots in his career? But he continued. Twenty-six times he had been trusted to take a game-winning shot and he missed. He failed over and over and over.
“A winner is just a moment. A champion is a person who knows how to fall and how to get up again. He will go forward with his goal again and again and again until he reaches it. And when he reaches it, he goes for the next one.”
After watching one of his speeches in Wicklow Golf Club, local Frank McGovern (65) said: “I thought it was fantastic. It was something very special; he’s a clever young boy with a bright future who’s able to think on his feet.
“What I gathered from him is never to be in despair, always look on the bright side and that no matter what tomorrow brings it could always be better.”
Eric shares his credo of being a champion with his audiences: “No one will deny me, no one will defy me and no one can tell me who and what I can be or do.”
“Defeat and retreat are not in my words,” he says. “I do not understand their definition. What I do understand is victory. Any time you feel down or discouraged remind yourself of the credo of the champion."
The ‘Game Changer’ is on an Irish tour until October, when he will fly to the US to give a speech at the Secret Knock Conference in San Diego, California, followed by another date in Cincinnati, Ohio.
"Only people who do nothing cannot make mistakes. It does not matter how old you are or where you come from. All that matters is that life is a game, so make your own rules" insists the world's youngest motivational author.