Today marks 50 years that I’ve been on the planet.
Making it through half a century gives me reason to pause and reflect, to think.
Following are twenty thoughts (in no particular order, and certainly not meant to be all-encompassing) that I believe worth writing down, mostly as a record for myself, a reminder of things I’ve learned and hold to be important, a reference for challenging circumstances, a crutch for trying times when I need to find my center.
- I’ve been fortunate to spend time with some inspiring people who’ve offered many invaluable words of wisdom along the way. Tom Perkins for instance posed two questions and two answers to me a few years ago, words I’ll always remember.
Question: What it the cure for boredom?
Question: What is the cure for curiosity?
Answer: There is none.
- Do not follow the herd. Follow your own voice. Don’t obsess about what other people are doing. Don’t spend all your time on social media engaging in soul-sucking FOMO, fear of missing out.
- Push through events that derail you. Push aside people who obstruct you. In the long-run, neither matter.
- Listen to and heed critics. Ignore naysayers. There is a difference.
- Be your own worst critic. Be honest with yourself though. That’s harder than it sounds.
- Remember that it’s not where you start. It’s where you end up that counts.
- When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
- Talk less. Do more.
- When faced with a tough decision, imagine being on your death bed. Look back, and make the choice that would make you proud in hindsight. The correct decision is the often the most difficult one.
- Live on the Planet Earth, i.e., not in a coddled bubble disconnected from nature and reality.
- When you find yourself getting too comfortable at whatever you’re doing, get out. Move on. Try something new. Face failure. Challenge yourself. “When is the last time you tried something for the first time?”
- Judge yourself not by your friends, but by your enemies.
- Be confident, proud, cocky even. But always remain humble and embrace being wrong. There’s nothing wrong with being wrong. The only mistake is not to recognise when you are, and not to take the opportunity to learn, change, grow.
- There are two ways to view life: (a) everything is possible unless expressly forbidden; or (b) everything is forbidden unless expressly permitted. One sets the groundwork for success; the other for failure.
- Practice what you preach. Hypocrites suck.
- Help others, whether human or otherwise. Always be nice to people and animals who are less fortunate than you in whatever way.
- Tolerate honest differences. Befriend people with views different than yours. Always consider opinions opposed to yours: Dismiss the stupid ones; Learn from the insightful ones. “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is uniquely your own.” (Bruce Lee)
- Learn to say no. This one has always been difficult for me.
- Question everything and everyone. It’s the only way to learn, as well as to unlearn.
- Greet each day and every opportunity as if it’s your last. It might be.
…jotted down from a remote part of Japan on 13 May 2017, after wrapping-up an exhausting, but successful video shoot documenting shark mating behaviour.