A conversation in Phuket followed by one night in Bangkok have left my heart beating faster and butterflies in my stomach. I am now questioning the way I lead my life. I bet it gets you thinking too, and perhaps will leave you as unsettled as I am right now. Here’s why.
I am not sure this story will flow. It’s seriously eating away at me. And I hope- will eat away at you. Something good has to come out of it. Please.
Last week in Bangkok I was reminded of the death there two decades ago in a coup incident of Australian war photographer, Neil Davis. He’d led an amazing life, and died a tragic, needlessly premature death. But here’s the point. I was reminded of how Davis described his approach to life: it’s a magical philosophy:
“One crowded hour of life is worth more than an eternity without a name.”
This reminder came a day after an intriguing conversation in Phuket.
“I don’t think I will live a long life,” my colleague told me. “So I have decided to take risk, to do what I want and to do it without regret.” Intoxicating. Brave. Imagine being able to genuinely live that way. Imagine the possibilities.
And then the Bangkok reminder of the Davis ‘crowded hour.’ The result? I have felt really flat ever since- stuck in FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. It’s really bugging me.
Here’s one young person who has made a decision to go for it- taking risk, doing what they want, living the moment, no regrets. And then Neil Davis- who lived a genuinely ‘crowded hour’, filled with excitement, adventure, inquisitiveness, boldness. Resisting the normal.
And then there’s me. Me.
Living a fortunate life for sure, filled with opportunity, challenge, affirmation, learning, love. I’m grateful for it, and don’t take it for granted.
But bloody hell- it is (100% my own choice and doing) a conservative, predictable, risk adverse, conformist, regimented, and restricted life, in so many ways. It’s underpinned by fear, living up to expectations (largely my own), of protecting ‘reputation’ and delivering on obligation and responsibility (that’s fair enough). And – to reiterate- it’s all my own doing. I choose it. No-one forces me down this path. I am encouraged to do some of it differently. Often. But I don’t.
I challenged Possums readers once to “Do something every day that scares you.” I am all talk, no action. I know for sure that I have failed 100% on that challenge. I live a timid life.
So- my flatness is my realization that I probably don’t have the courage to reboot somehow- to make sure the next phase is absolutely, without a question, no doubt about it ‘one crowded hour’, where I take risk, push myself out there, do it differently, live for the moment, get uncomfortable, embrace fear, follow my heart and do it while having no regrets (and 50 other clichés I could think of…you get the message though I hope).
What a bummer. I keep thinking of the last words of the incredible yet flawed giant Cecil Rhodes: “So little done, so much to do.” I know I am going to regret not following a different script…. A script that takes me to a genuinely ‘crowded hour.’
My comfort is the word I used a few moments ago…… ’probably’…… “I probably don’t have the courage…..”. In ‘probably‘ there is hope.
Andrew Denton, speaking at the STW Leadership dinner three weeks ago, quoted Albert Schweitzer, missionary, philosopher, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize who said: “The tragedy of a man is what dies inside himself while he still lives.” How frightening is that?
I MUST take action. I MUST. I WILL!!!
How about you? Are you leading a life that you can describe as ‘a crowded hour’- filled with ingredients that regularly tell you that you are alive? If yes, how do you know and how do you do it?