An accident? No, a gift! I don’t much like the thought of being labelled an accident. Yes, seven years do separate my older brother and I. A further two separate me from my sister. Yes,… More
You meet someone for the first time at a party or social function and you ask them who they are. Of course, they answer with their name, but that’s not quite what you meant.
You continue, ‘Sorry, what I really meant was, who are you?’
‘I’m a recruitment consultant from Brisbane, but originally I’m from Reykjavik.’
Okay, great, but still that’s not what you meant.
What you really seek to inquire into is who they are? What do they stand for? What do they care about? What’s important to them in life? What guides their steps in life and their interactions with other people?
That is who they really are.
Okay, so maybe such a deep train of conversation is overkill for the first time meeting someone! And as a result you might find yourself as the guy or girl flying solo in the corner of the room checking the same Instagram posts over and over to avoid the social awkwardness you’ve just created for yourself!
But let me explain my point and elaborate on what I’ve recently come to see as an erroneous psychological thought process in modern day society…
We are not defined by what we do nor where we live, how many friends we have or where we go out to socialise. And we are certainly not defined by how much money we do or do not have in the bank!
None of that really matters. That’s not who we are. That’s largely just the result of where we happened to find ourselves in life, mostly by chance.
Think of how different our lives could have been if the genetic lottery had have lead us to be born into an impoverished central African village…
I was speaking with an old school teacher of mine recently. He really surprised me mid-conversation by saying:
‘You know what I really like about you Paul…?’
I had no idea what was coming next.
‘What I really like about you is that you always remain true to your core values. You are not defined by what job you have, how much money you have, where you live or what’s going on around you. You have such a strong sense of self and you know the person that you will become.’
Inevitably, I paraphrase. I was so blown away at the time by what I was hearing. And it all made so much sense. Something in my mind clicked. My Instagram bio now features the line:
‘Guided by values not status.’
Because that’s me. I never properly realised it until that impromptu phone conversation. But that’s what defines me. What I really care about in life defines who I am. Not my name. Not my job. Not my status.
Nothing other than the instrinsic motivators that drive me to challenge and change the injustices, inequalities and social shortcomings I see around me in the world.
I am guided by love.
I can only now ask:
What are you guided by? What do you really care about? What in life matters the most to you?
Let the answers to these questions guide your steps through life’s labyrinth. Step back from the external and discover the wonder of the internal.
Dare to be yourself.
Dare to discover how great you really are!
Leave your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
Eight huuuuuuundred titties. I’ve got eight huuuuuuundred titties waiting for you boys for whenever you’re ready…
Olly and I looked at each other. We were amazed. Was that even possible?
I’ll get you boys a free limo, a free bottle of champagne…
The deal kept getting sweeter and sweeter. It almost seemed too good to be true…
As we slowed our walk in ponderous amazement, we looked back and forth at one another with both curiosity and disgust. Was his offer genuine? Just how big was this place to fit 400 topless girls?
Tonight was not the night on which we were going to find out however. In fact, no night was. We continued walking only now a little faster.
‘It’s a trap!’
We seemed to repeat this to one another every few hundred metres. Passing through what we thought was an exit out of one casino, we would somehow end up in the foyer of another.
Buying a beer and finding a seat at which to enjoy it presented the challenge of finding a table without a pokie machine at it’s center. A seat at the bar was no better.
Our gaze often met that of a beautiful girl walking by.
‘Was she, errr, checking me out?’ we would ask ourselves.
Maybe. But the price tag hanging from her neck, just barely shielding her enormous silicone bust from the seedy prying eyes of the three hundred desperately dissatisfied married men in her vicinity, was certainly not what we were after. Not now. Not ever.
We would eventually find a way out of this labyrinth of lustful greed. Though not before another hour spent navigating the ocean of roulette and blackjack tables.
Finally, we made it, throwing our arms into the air proclaiming:
‘Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty we are free at last!’
I doubt whether a certain Martin Luther King Jr. ever foresaw his words being used for this particular purpose…
We woke up the following morning, checked out of our AirBNB two nights early and hit the road bound for San Diego which, for those of you who don’t know, means ‘A whale’s v…’.
I’ll cut myself short on that one.
Perhaps our time in Vegas might have been different had we have had thousands of dollars spare to spend. I’d like to think not. Though I can understand the temptation for those that do.
I’m sure I’ll return one day. But not to gamble. Or to have a twenty-seven year old single mum grind on my junk. Instead it will be for something much more worthwhile. Just what that is exactly, I don’t yet know.
Watch this space.
Dare to dream, they say.
Shoot for the stars!
Better to aim for the moon and to hit a tree than to aim for a tree and to hit a rock.
So focused we have come to be on what comes next. On where we are going. On where we want to be; on who we want to become.
It is a mark that is forever moving. It will always be this way. Our dreams change because we change. We are not the same person that we were five years ago. Nor will we be the same person five years from now.
I must remind you, we have in life only three things:
Memories of the past, dreams of the future and now.
But there is of course only one constant through all: Now.
One moment. Not bound to a timeline. Now is forever.
Remove from your mind this concept of time with which we have grown so familiar. The idea that there is a beginning and an end. I cannot overlook the challenge in doing this of course. It is all that we know.
And yet still I ask, expand your mind.
This moment will never end. Even in the absence of all, this moment will endure.
And thus we realise that the concept of an eternity, or dare I say, an ‘eternal being’, is not so hard to comprehend after all. Nor our own ability to be creators.
And so I must ask:
What will you create?
The ascension of ladders placed upon the ivory walls of a stable and secure normality has grown far from the cup of tea from which I hope to drink. Indeed I feel there to be so much more to see, experience, discover, unlock and to change.
Call me an idealist if you will but I have come recently to know exactly what I want to do with my time here on Earth:
I want to travel, I want to connect, I want to share and I want to inspire.
But this I’ve written about before.
What I really want is freedom.
Freedom from debt. Freedom from the shackles of the nine to five. Freedom from the suffocating confines of brick and mortar and bosses who seem always to place ‘the business’ on such a pedestal that they forget the people working tirelessly in its shadow holding it up and carrying it forward.
Intrinsically linked to the purpose with which I feel blessed is the need to understand the planet on which we live and the people with whom I share this journey. And though the exact reason for this I do not yet fully understand, I must not delay.
The many talents of mine left dormant within must now be tapped; the omens along my path must no longer be ignored for reasons of fear or inadequacy. The time has come to reap what I have sowed through my many hours of darkness.
Yes, the sun is now rising to awaken a spirit fresh with vim and vigor.
I am guided by the desire to share my journey with honesty, authenticity and transparency and hope this journey we share will spark further ideas and inspiration within both you and I as we rally others along our route.
I woke up, panicked.
I was overwhelmed.
Breakfast with one friend, a meeting with another to discuss a business proposal, a pitch immediately following that to a prospective investor, after which began just eight hours of the ‘day job’. That was the day. Scary, I know.
Not to mention that somewhere in between all of that I had to clothes shop for my role as an extra on the set of Home and Away, my first foray into the world of film and TV. I didn’t quite know where I was going to fit that in. Nor how I was going to be able to afford the spree. Six outfits I needed. I had one.
At the time my clothes were scattered between numerous locations across Sydney as I settled into my new flat. The prospect of arriving on set under-prepared terrified me. And yet the twenty-five minutes I had to spare in my dinner break provided little reward. My size seemed to be rather popular…
I didn’t know how to cope with all of this. In days gone by I’d have snoozed my alarm and bailed on all of these commitments. And yet somehow, in this instance, I got up, dressed up and showed up. To it all. Despite coming down with a cold and feeling like a tonne of bricks.
Being in and around the world of motorsport for the past ten years, I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever felt 100% comfortable with my surrounds. Is that a good thing? Certainly an opportunity for personal growth. And yet my instinct – should I have chosen to listen to it – would tell me that it just wasn’t right for me. I needed to explore myself in other environments.
Now, here I was, in what should have been a terrifying environment. In an environment that should have made me feel self-conscious and insecure. And yet, nothing. Instead, a mysterious sense of calm. A mysterious sense of belonging.
Surely I should look to this as a sign of sorts. The likely avenue that I am meant to pursue. Surely this sense of purposeful calm cannot be brushed aside as anything else.
Though now with the ‘beginners luck’ having worn off, I am forced to fight for my way back in. It is my time to follow through and to believe in such omens presented before me.
It is my time to trust.
Patience and prayer.
She leaned forward, smiling, gently ascending from the sofa to conclude that day’s appointment.
She looked across at me and stared me deep in the eye. Confidently, though quietly, as if it were a secret I was only just discovering, she said:
“You’ve created a pretty amazing life for yourself, Paul, haven’t you?”
My life flashed before my eyes.
Had I really created an amazing life?
Sat in the backpack beneath my feet was my journal whose pages were filled with the enormity of my failures. All of the things I started but didn’t finish. All of the opportunities I had needlessly thrown away. All of those times I had let doubt overtake my desire for success.
Again, had I really created an amazing life?
So easy it is to focus on all that has gone wrong. So easy it to focus on all that I wish had become my reality. So easy it is to focus on ‘what could have been’.
But what good does any of this do?
It is only through the recognition and acceptance of my past that enables the potential in my future. So many lessons from which to learn and apply. So many.
And from those, even thus far, I guess I have been able to create a pretty amazing life for myself.
When I take a moment to focus on the good things life becomes rather amazing.
Today, for example, the sun is shining, I’m living in an incredible city having lunch by the beach, surrounded by amazing friends, with the prospect of adventure being always just a day or two away.
Breathing deeply now.
Things could be worse.
It is late. It is dark. You know that you should try and go to sleep. But you can’t. You just stare at this same spot on the wall. You don’t even realise that you are. You’ve no idea how much time has passed. You just keep staring.
Eventually you wake up. You didn’t even know that you’d fallen asleep. Then, for a moment, surely no longer, everything seems okay. Everything feels better. The anxiety that kept you up last night for so long has subsided and that spot on the wall has lost all of its intrigue. Strange.
But of course this feeling of freedom doesn’t last for very long until you begin to remember all of those worries. All of those stresses. All of those regrets and all of those desires that still seem so far out of reach. If only…
Your heart rate starts to pick up again. The adrenaline floods your body once more. Not least, the sick feeling in your stomach comes back with a vengeance and quickly spirals out of control.
You roll over to one side and clasp your pillow. You press your eye lids together hoping the sandman will sweep you back into the freeing realms of the dreamland you’ve come to love so much. You toss and turn before opening your eyes and realising three hours have passed. How?
Once again that brief moment of calm is short-lived; this process repeating itself for much of the day. But this only makes things worse, of course.
It’s now 2pm. Perhaps later. You need to go to the toilet. It seems the only reason compelling enough to get out of bed. Sure, you are thirsty too, hungry as well, but these desires can wait. Maybe until your housemates have either left or gone to bed? But that remains many hours away.
Begrudgingly you swing your legs to the side of the bed and place your feet on the floor. You’re half way there. With every remaining ounce of energy in your body you stand. Now what?
You look around the room, it’s still dark, though you sense the weather outside is blissful. Not a cloud in the sky. Twenty-five degrees. Surely, a perfect beach day. Would it be helpful to open your blinds and confirm such predictions? Or perhaps this would only reinforce the guilt that now accompanies your day spent in bed?
Ultimately you succumb to the necessity. And as expected it is a sea of blue with a calming breeze to take the bite out of the sun’s loving kiss. You wish you had found the strength those three hours previous to get outside and enjoy such a pristine day. A feeling of regret comes over your body. A feeling of, ‘If only I were stronger’.
You sigh deeply and drag yourself to the bathroom. You hunch over the sink, turn on the tap and sigh once more, only deeper this time. You cup your hands and splash your face with water. As it runs from the tip your nose to the basin below you look up to meet the eyes staring back at you. You stare back and hope that this familiar face reveals to you what it is you must now do.
You wait. For a minute or two. You splash your face again but still no great revelations. You take another deep breath and resign yourself to the need to keep moving. You continue to prepare yourself for a ‘day on the outside’ though today, nothing seems harder.
In what is likely to have been an hour, you are dressed at last and ready to face the world. You grab the essentials – keys, phone, wallet – and walk out in the fresh air. You slip into your car, turn on the ignition and take one final breath; a breath so deep that you feel your back crack and even the smallest of ligaments in your rib-cage stretch out.
You check your mirrors and prepare to pull out. The only question that remains is, ‘Where to now?’
I woke up to the sound of my alarm, a rarity. It was 5am. The sun would rise in 47 minutes. ‘Twas a goal of mine to see every sunrise this year. But my head was spinning. I had slept on the floor. I don’t remember falling asleep. I just remember scrambling to plug my phone in. That must have been around 3am. Only two hours earlier. Yuck.
There was little possibility of getting up. Let’s be honest. So I rolled myself over and returned to my slumber. Five hours later I rose, at last.
That was NYE. A fun night spent watching the fireworks over Sydney Harbour and dancing with random groups of Brazilians and Canadians. My knees bear the scars of such antics. I think an impromptu game of limbo may have been the culprit. But we won’t ever know for sure.
It was now NYD. Cloudy. And a bit windy. Not ideal. But still a trip to the beach and a dip in the ocean was a necessary cure to my hangover pain.
I wasn’t entirely ‘with it’. My mind was a bit scattered. I didn’t really know what to do with myself. It was Sunday, however…
‘I wonder if there was a church service on today?’ I asked myself.
There was. At 5pm.
‘Perfect’, I thought, ‘enough time to grab one NYD beer with friends at the pub at 3 and then head in to the city for some spiritual healing’.
Of course, that was the plan, though surely enough the prospect of fun times with friends won out and, before I could say ‘Beach Burrito’, it was 1am and I was swimming in a local rock pool cooling myself down from the hours of dancing that came before!
I don’t remember exactly what time this finished up. Needless to say, the following day was a write off too.
‘Paul The Introvert’ now needed some time to recharge the batteries. It was time to go back to the beach; back to my place of calm.
The end of 2017 provided some interesting challenges. Challenges that I did not expect to face. It left me with a feeling of emptiness and in a place of intense soul searching.
Financial stress loomed larger than ever. My mind had become a constant flurry of numbers, dates and deadlines. Debt had slowly been rising amid my exploratory steps over the past six months.
And whilst I feel so much closer to the man I’m meant to become, still there seems to be an impassable gorge between myself and the final few puzzle pieces I need to discover.
How was I to find the answers to these questions I was asking myself?
I gazed over the ocean and wrote in my journal:
What good is this stress doing? I can only do what I can do, right? If indeed the time comes in which I am stuck, then I must ask for help. What other choice do I have?
It pains me to say this; to have to concede defeat, again. Though not yet. There is still time. I just don’t know where to start.
Wait, why am I still trying to figure this out myself?
God, please help. This is you now. I cannot do this alone. Please show me what it is that I must do. This is all that I ask.
I closed my journal and laid back down on my towel. Less than five minutes later, between the sound of waves crashing, I hear a noise. A notification. An email. Never have I sat up so quickly. I stared at the subject line. I could barely believe what I was seeing!
Could it be?
An opportunity. The opportunity. The opportunity for which I had been waiting!
Words escaped me. I cried.
What is this that I keep doing? This erroneous belief that I must find all of the answers myself? That I am climbing this Everest alone?
Why do I so often forget the enormous power there is in prayer? The enormous power there is in surrender? The enormous power there is in faith? Faith even as small as a mustard seed…
God’s wonder surely does continue to amaze; His love remaining constant despite my sometimes wayward steps from His intended path.
And whilst this opportunity I speak of is far from secured, I can only ask now for your prayers too. If this is in fact what God has intended for these next steps in my journey, I do hope that this opportunity will come to fruition. And, if not, I trust there will be something better. Just as there always seems to be.
To review this crazy year, I had originally planned to post an array of my favourite pictures. Pictures like these…
Pictures that showcased ‘just how much of an amazing time I had’.
Yes, this year has been pretty wild! I have moved from Brisbane to Sydney. I have traveled to Perth and back to Brisbane for both my sister and brother’s weddings. I have traveled to America. I have had the joy of making so many new friends from all over the world – some of whom I will call friends for life!
I have solidified my passion for adventure and thirst for the outdoors. Countless days have been spent trekking, stand up paddle-boarding, surfing and kayaking…
I have even made an appearance on Home and Away and explored my creative and theatrical side!
I might say this every year, but I really do think that I’ve grown more this year than I ever have before.
Friends have challenged me more than they ever have before. I’ve explored new perspectives and come to realise and to pursue an entirely new outlook on life.
My faith has been challenged and tested beyond belief. And I can say now that, as a result, it has grown to become stronger than it’s ever been before, though it might look and feel different than it ever has before. But that’s a good thing. I know that it is.
Over the past year I’ve experienced the pinnacle of joy and the deepest devastation of despair. There have been moments in which I have had to go into the office to scream out in joy whilst there were other moments in which I had to go into the office only to lay down on the floor and cry helplessly.
I have spent time in the mental heath ward of the local hospital and I have spent time homeless. There were a few months spent couch surfing and even a few nights spent sleeping in my car…
2016 has been tumultuous to say the least and yet the more I write this, the more I realise just how amazing a year it has been!
Though still it would not be fair to post photos as a ‘highlights reel’. Because I’m sure we can all do that; we can all cherry pick the good moments and hide the bad – that’s pretty much what social media has become these days.
The truth is, this year has tested me beyond belief: Financially, psychologically, emotionally, physically, spiritually… There were moments in which I really began to doubt whether I would be able to make it through to the following day.
And yet this brings me to acknowledge all those people who helped to pick me up and to carry me forward in the moments in which I could not carry myself.
I am so grateful.
Aside from all the adventures, it’s the people that have made this year so special; people who I am stoked to be able to call friends and people who I am stoked to be able to share my life with over the many years to come.
Whilst at times it might feel we can do this alone, the truth is, we need each other. It is only together that we can achieve the greatness that awaits us.
Happy New Year team!
What an unbelievable year!
Since the age of thirteen the number twenty-three has been an important one for me. Inspired by my hero Mark Webber’s first number in Formula One, it would go on to become my number of choice throughout my stint racing go karts, growing then to hold significance across many other areas of my life in the decade that has followed.
Thus, the year being twenty-three was much anticipated!
I can’t say the year didn’t come without its difficulties, the details of which I will save for future blogs/books, though I can share and reflect on many of the lessons these difficulties taught me. Lessons that I’m sure now never to forget!
- Don’t be afraid to say no to the wrong opportunity, however amazing that opportunity might seem. Trust your gut.
- Be able to recognise when you’re doing some half-arsed. Take the time to understand why and reflect on your TRUE motivation in life. Chase that instead.
- You always know what you really want to be doing… Don’t let the bullshit the world tells you lead you away from that or lead you into thinking it’s not possible.
- Learn to recognise the omens presented throughout life. Trust them. Don’t be afraid to take a leap into the unknown.
- Don’t be afraid to tell your friends when they’re out of line. Co-workers too. And be ready to receive the same back!
- Take the time to understand the problem, yes, but always remember to steer yourself toward a solution. Don’t let emotion take over. Always be solution focused.
- When you feel your blood boiling, an argument brewing, pause, breathe, then speak. Repeat as many times as necessary. Revisit lesson number 6 if required.
- Anger is a good thing. But only when focused on the things you’re passionate about changing in the world. When someone is really pissing you off, remember that passion. Save the emotional outburst you want to unleash on them for what really matters. Channel that energy positively. Don’t waste it.
- Stop being so patient! Impatience creates impetus. It forces action and gets things done. Sometimes these things just take longer than we’d hope/like… Find a healthy balance between the two.
- Things don’t have to be perfect to get the result you want. Let your passion shine through. And if this passion isn’t bright enough for everyone to see, do something else. Something that you’re really passionate about. Life is short.
- Money is only money. Credit cards are helpful when you’re in the shit and need to survive a difficult period! Don’t let debt ruin your life. Accept it and work to fix it. Your bank balance, whether positive or negative, doesn’t define who you are or what you’re capable of achieving in the future.
- It’s not weird to compliment someone. In fact, actively look for opportunities to make someone’s day! Life’s so much better this way. Share the love.
- Own your situation. All parts of it. Don’t be embarrassed to say you only have one clean shirt to wear. Or that you’re broke and couch surfing until you have enough money for your own flat. It’s your story. Be proud of what you’re in the process of creating.
- True joy is found in simplicity. Don’t burden your life with meaningless shit just to fill your cupboards and bookshelves to fool yourself and others into thinking you lead a successful life. Focus on what’s important. People. Passion. Purpose.
- The best business meetings are held on the beach or in the water and are definitely not in a suit or tie! Mix it up. Get out of the cafe. Take your coffee down to the sand. Get out your notepad. And talk ideas in the sunshine!
- Sleeping in a car is terribly uncomfortable but not the end of the world! Silence your ego and do whatever is necessary to draw closer to your Personal Legend. Revisit lesson number 13.
- Being employed in a job is better than not being employed at all! Don’t let the sexy career trajectory outlined in your CV lead you to believe your better than any role. There are always new things we can learn in life. And on that note:
- A leader is so much more than just a person who sits at the top of an organisational chart. You can lead and inspire from wherever you sit in the hierarchy. In fact, the mark of a true leader is someone who can do just that.
- Send out positive energies to the universe each and every day to attract the people you need in your life. Become acutely aware of the people that you’re just keeping around because you’re scared of being alone…
- Doing one small thing each day that gets you closer to your ultimate goal is better than doing a million other things that only stress you out and cause you to take ‘mental health days’ off work.
- Laying on the office floor for twenty minutes a day listening to meditation playlists and breathing is not a waste of time. Instead, taking the time to bring yourself back to a place of intimate connection with your surrounds instead of worrisome thought is perhaps the most valuable use of our time.
- Never forget the miracles that have occurred in your life. Stay true to yourself and be thankful for the helping hands, whether seen or unseen, that have guided and supported your journey.
- The power of prayer and faith continues to astound. Just as the universe is ever-expanding, God’s love and wonder too. Remember this.
Let’s see what the next twelve months have in store. To say I am merely excited would be a tremendous understatement!