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The Secret To A Happier and More Successful Life- And It Is Very Simple

I don’t have many regrets. Not having travelled as a young man. Not going to a co-educational school. I regret not visiting my old Uncle Ernie in Sussex when I instead flew home to chase a Burlesque dancer. But most of all, I regret not having heard this advice 20 years ago. Here it is.

In my early adult days, success to me was all about girls, making money, sports cars, getting ‘power’, accumulating stuff. I struggled to ever be happy, always wanting more- the next big thing- striving for something just beyond my reach. In recent years, my friend Richard Sauerman’s writings about success have moved me. I have started to view success in a very different way.

And I was fortunate to receive a powerful new guiding message when listening to the keynote speaker at a conference I was speaking at a few months ago. Here is what that major business icon said:

The Recruiter, The Briefcase and A Powerful Message for Success

“I have the perfect candidate for this role,” recruiter Peter said. And with that he carefully placed his briefcase on my desk, unlocked the latches, and gently opened it. It was then I saw something that has stayed with me ever since. It seduced me then, and does so 20 years later. This is what he had in that briefcase.

Actually, he had nothing in it. Nothing.

Except one CV- of that ‘perfect candidate.’ And that was the magic of the moment. It made me feel that that one CV was absolutely gold… it stood alone, and was a prized asset.

I could not wait to get my hands on it. But Peter made me wait. He’d half pick it up. Then gently place it down in the briefcase again, and tell me more about why the candidate was perfect. Then begin to pick it up…here it comes! And then place it down. Torture. Eventually, it came, we hired, and the rest is history as they say. But here’s the point. The magic of that moment was simply this.

The Happiest Four Hours of My Life – And I Was Fully Dressed

Work had been hectic. Then to the Cannes Creativity Festival. Packed days. Then holiday. Paris. Museums. Galleries. Sites. To Rome. Ditto. Rush. Rush. Then dashed across town to catch the train to Florence. And that is when it happened… the screw up that thrilled my very being. And a genuine lesson for a happier life. Here it is.

John Studdert is one of the world’s great guys. I worked with him for 12 years, during his time leading the company he founded- with David Sawicki- Impact Employee Communications, and then when he succeeded me as the Chief Executive of Ogilvy PR Australia.

In fact, John just retired from his Ogilvy career, and is taking time out before his next chapter. I tell you about him not because of his fine career and values, but because of a saying he told me, told to him by his grandmother. It summed up what happened to me in Rome. She told him this:

My Challenge To You: Your Life In Six Words-Up for It?

If you get value from Wrestling Possums, then I ask you to do me one favor: reply to this post. Inundate me with responses. What I want you to do though is a bit freaky. Be warned. It might confront you. I want you to imagine that you will die in ten minutes time. Here’s why.

Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a book, but only in six words. He did it. “For sale: baby shoes; never worn.” That’s the power of storytelling. This apparently led a couple of guys who founded Smith Magazine to develop the ‘Six Word Memoir’ concept…writing your memoirs in just six words.

So, imagine you’ll expire (sorry about that) in 10 minutes time,. You pick up a pen to write your life story, your memoirs. But you only have six words to do it in. Give it a go. If you feel inclined, respond on the link at the end and share it. I’ll tell you mine. You tell me yours. Deal? Here’s mine.

What Happened This Week When They Found A Tumor In My Throat

“Yip- it looks like a cancer,” the specialist sighed, pointing to the video picture of the tumor growing out of my vocal chords.

“Treatable?” I asked, petrified. “Oh yes,” he replied. “But not necessarily curable.” This was last Monday. So began the worst week of my life. Here’s what happened next.

My voice had been getting increasingly hoarse for months. “Acid reflux caused by increasing size of your gut,” the GP had counseled. Then I struggled swallowing. And could only speak in a whisper. So to the specialist I went last Monday. He had the bedside manner of a cobra, found a tumor, speculated cancer, gave zero reassurance.

“I’ll remove it surgically if I can on Wednesday. Then pathology. If cancer, come to the hospital next Tuesday and we’ll advice treatment. If it’s early stage cancer, then likely more surgery and radiation. If spread, then chemotherapy too and a 50/50 survival chance. If spread a lot, then not much we can do.” And that was it. I walked out into the sunlight devastated. So began the five worst days of my life… days underpinned by one terrible thing: