“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” (Kahlil Gibran, “The Prophet“)
I was 18… After graduating from high school, I had returned from a “gap year” in the UK. I was on top of the world. Invincible. The world was my oyster… Then Monty, a dear friend, was involved in a road accident. How quickly the tide can turn…
We were allowed to visit Monty post-surgery. I can still recall his shaved head – the scars bearing testament to the brain surgery, in vivid contrast to his ashen complexion. What I remember the most – more than the plethora of tubes and sensors violating his fragile body – was an overwhelming sense of absolute helplessness, as he lay there, motionless in a coma; the initial silence of the room interrupted only by the occasional splutter of his life support machines.
That was the day that I learned the true meaning of introspection, and to be truly grateful for each new dawn. It was also my first experience of just how powerful the human will – and mental resolve – can be. That day, it dawned upon me that life is too short. Or rather, as I now retrospectively view it, that WE WAIT TOO LONG TO START LIVING!
I chose then to live each day to its fullest – to seize the day! It was then that I decided to live. If you were to discover that today were to be the last day of your life, would you be doing what you are about to do? Today is the first day of the rest of your life – please, don’t wait to start living… Don’t leave this stage with your masterpiece still in you.
I later chanced upon the realisation that it is not what happens to you that shapes your life, but rather it’s what you think about what happens to you… It’s the meaning that you give it. As Tony Robbins says, “It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”
Today, I honour my struggles – they have shaped me into who I am. Reinforced with compassion, understanding, empathy and an essence of humanity. I have no regrets. I live my life by design. I love my life, and I love what I do. It wasn’t always this way – I have crafted and created it. And so can you…
A few random things about me. (I have a lot to be grateful for…)
- My wife used to be the woman of my dreams – she’s now the woman of my reality! We married on a beach in Langkawi, and honeymooned in Borneo.
- I have met Nelson Mandela.
- I have been held at knifepoint (twice!)
- I have bathed in a lake with crocodiles and hippos – under the watchful eyes of a guard with a rifle…
- I have watched a turtle nest in a tropical rainstorm. I have also watched turtles hatch, and return to the sea.
- I have “babysat” dolphins, and bathed a baby elephant by hand.
- I have been within touching distance of a pod of wild Orcas.
- I have visited Sepilok’s orungutan rehabilitation centre, The Kruger National Park, Niagara Falls, and Disneyland.
- I have slept in a glass igloo under the Northern Lights in the Finnish Arctic Circle, and driven a sled pulled by wild huskies.
- I have braved the fastest zip-line in the world, which also happens to be the longest in Europe.
- I have walked barefoot over blazing coals, with temperatures fluctuating between 650°C and 1100°C.
- I have walked to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and St Paul’s Cathedral.
- I have visited the Dachau concentration camp memorial site.
- I have piloted a small aeroplane, and a glider.
- “Dead Poets Society” brings a tear to my eye – every time.
- I read a lot of books – I call it “shelf development.”
- I love HOT food, and warm coffee – it’s a long story!
“I’m just an ordinary guy who happens to have learned ideas and tools that have helped many human beings reach their best lives. But I must be really clear: I’m no different from you. I have my struggles, my frustrations and my own fears – along with my hopes, goals and dreams. I’ve had good seasons and some deeply painful ones. I’ve made some spectacularly good choices and some outrageously bad mistakes. I’m very human – a work in progress. If I have ideas that you find insightful, please know it’s simply because I spend my days focused on the knowledge you are about to experience. Thinking about practical ways to help you play your biggest game as a human being and reach greatness. Do anything long enough and you’ll get some depth of insight and understanding about it. Then they’ll call you a guru.” (Robin Sharma, “The Greatness Guide“)