“After seeing Gary at the Health Champion Awards at Christmas 2017 we were keen to run our own Wellbeing Motivational Event, due to the high-pressured environment that we work in. Gary offered his time to be our guest motivational speaker and due to our environment, our colleagues had not experienced such an event before this.
Gary’s clear message “we make the life we live, and if you don’t like it change it” related to a lot of colleagues. The raw reality and his brutally honest approach captivated staff and made them analyse their lives. For example, are they happy and if not, why not? What can be changed and how people could do this.
Gary is inspirational, uplifting and full of life. His passion and delivery has spurred life into our office and has been a good talking point. I would recommend other companies to take the opportunity to hold a similar motivational event”.
Amanda Mains, DWP Wellbeing Team
Imagine a life confined to the same four walls, every day, forever.
Sounds like a prison doesn’t it?
It is. And you created it.
You get up, go to work, see the same people, feel unsatisfied, complain and blame about the same things, come home, eat, sleep; Rinse – Repeat. Each day you long for something different but do nothing different to get it.
If you don’t go to new places, you won’t see new things, experience new things, learn new things, create new memories, meet new people, create new opportunities and connections which could change your life; you simply won’t learn and grow as a person.
You can also imprison yourself with your limiting self-beliefs. If you think you can’t do it, then you can’t. You have ALL THE RESOURCES and the POWER WITHIN YOU to make a change.
A glorious saying is:
“The mind is like a parachute; it doesn’t work if it is not open”.
Frank Zappa said it apparently; that wise old Jazz/Rock guy from the 70’s.
So, what’s with all the jazzy philosophy you say? Well a friend of mine, our Kassie, recently got me thinking about opening our minds to seeing the world.
Our brains want us to feel safe so we get ourselves in a safe place, the comfort zone, it’s easiest to survive in there you see. But the comfort zone is no place for progress. As said by PT Barnum (yes, The Greatest Showman!) “Comfort; the enemy of progress”. [incredible film by the way].
“Life begins where the comfort zone ends”.
You are not the centre of the universe. So, get out there and see it, experience it.
Doing something new and different can feel scary, risky or dangerous. It can also feel exciting, adventurous and liberating. The interesting thing is, the symptoms of all these states are much the same; we just choose how we interpret them, choose what they mean to us and choose how to react. Retreat or Proceed.
If you feel fear; what is this feeling based on? It’s your mind telling you stories and trying to keep you safe remember. Which is a very good intention but one that holds you back. Retreat.
Or perhaps the people in your life are telling you not to do it. They think it’s too dangerous, too unknown. Again, not helpful. Of course, they’re allowed to love you and want you to retreat, to keep you safe but they can’t stop you scratching that itch of getting out into that big old world and creating. You need to proceed; to go forth and try new things, to proceed and create [not ‘procreate’, that’s fun but not today’s topic].
You see, you are either a Creature or a Creator. A Creature of circumstance or a Creator of your own circumstance.
A Creature believes that they have no control and that life just keeps serving them shit sandwiches. Whereas a Creator understands that we can create our own life by the thoughts, beliefs, attitude and reactions we choose. Even those events that are outside of our control, we choose how to react to them, we choose how we feel, how long we allow the feelings to go on for and what we learn from them. Then we overcome, refine and tweak ourselves and move forward in life a stronger person.
We be getting all philosophical again.
So back to our Kassie. She decided to take a trip to Peru. She’s a big fan of Paddington Bear you see. Actually, I don’t know if she is, I must ask her. [deepest darkest Peru is where Paddington is from if you don’t know!]
The interesting thing about this trip starts here. Kassie and her Chester Bennington lookalike boyfriend Ben were actually planning on buying their first home together. An exciting milestone in life and a relationship. But it fell through. THIS was the catalyst for them deciding to take a trip; they were disappointed of course but figured it just wasn’t meant to be yet. So they Created. A trip. Let’s go nuts and see the world while we can they thought.
Thailand was the initial thought but the travel agent brought their attention to Peru with the Inca trail, the salt-flats and Copacabana. They researched it further by reading reviews and speaking to people who’d been there and all was positive. There were people who had concerns for their safety but these concerns weren’t based on any experienced facts, they’d never been. Interesting that the people who’ve never experienced what you want to experience would suggest you don’t do it. Of course, I understand that loved ones worry for our safety but you can’t protect your loved ones by preventing them experiencing new things. In fact, I’d say you’ve done an excellent job of parenting if you’ve raised your young to be confident, independent and willing to travel thousands of miles away just for the experience.
A 3-week trip to Peru. With 10days for the Inca trail. This was 8-12hrs of walking every day, contending with the altitude and the sun. Doesn’t sound like much of a holiday does it? It was but mostly it was an experience. This was learning about their own abilities and themselves.
This was also learning about the art of preparation. Be prepared. Pack for all seasons. There were hailstones for god’s sake. Who knew, in Peru?! There’s a life lesson there – be prepared for all seasons. Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows; it’s also rain, snow, wind, clouds, cold, frost, thunder, lightning, heatwaves, drought, famine and feast. Be prepared for it all. Embrace it and appreciate it all especially the sunshine.
Through their experience, they found a new appreciation of the modern life we take for granted. At the end of a hard days hiking, they were brought a hot bowl of water for their feet. A simple bowl of hot water. That someone brought them. Kindness and simple things. Recognise what simple things others need and give it to them. #lifelesson
Then they pretty much ate, then slept and were woken early the next morning with a pot of tea. The hygiene facilities were just a good old ‘squaddie wash’. An appreciation of their home luxuries of beds, heat, comfort, showers and toilets was duly founded.
Like life, the Peru trip wasn’t all picture perfect. There were down moments such as after the Inca trail they were stuck for accommodation and had a terrible 2day trip. From the highs of the Inca trail and all the people they’d bonded with, to a low where they felt a bit lost and underwhelmed. This is fairly natural though, to experience such a high with 15 other people it will naturally feel like a comedown afterwards and not exciting or fun anymore. You miss these people already. So stay in touch. Don’t get too busy to not stay in touch #lifelesson
They found the Peruvians to be great hosts who were very proud of their country and its nature. We are lucky enough to have some spectacular nature in the UK – when did you last visit any or even just take a walk outside or go to a local woods or park? Stop and think about what you have around you and get yourself outside. Grab a big old lungful of fresh air, clear out yer pipes!
Kassie and Ben-nington stayed connected and in touch with the world on an evening when they had some wifi. But during the day, they were present in the moment.
Technology. It’s a wonderful thing but it’s also a menace. Such a brilliant invention; no need for postcards or letters anymore, which would actually end up arriving after you’ve returned home from your holiday anyway (I might be showing my age here to all the millennials out there). Their evening wifi connection allowed them to share their experience with their friends and let their loved ones know they were safe. Phones 1 Postcards Nil.
Their phones kept them connected and also got some great pictures; some very creative ones with dinosaurs and Pringles tubes on the salt flats. Phones are great; we appreciate them.
But I’ll dig deeper here – being connected can also be a curse, a distraction to you actually being present in the moment. Being present is the best gift you can give anyone; your time and being present with them; in the moment. Not distracted by your phone and wanting to share a ‘look at me, look at my perfect life, I’m so happy’ post on Fakebook. It’s all nonsense. Filtered images, backgrounds all tidied up to look like a show home. Life isn’t all pancakes and rainbows is it. My point is, take a holiday without your phone, or schedule some time with someone and ban phones, or a date night with your partner or children. Just put down your phone and have a conversation or get down on the floor and play with your kids, instead of sitting on your sofa on your phone or at the local soft play centre, on your phone. Parents will know what I mean here; next time you’re out with your kids at the local soft play, just notice how many parents just sit and stare at their phones completely ignoring their partners and their kids. Just saying.
You can’t experience love and life through Twitter or Instagram or Facebook.
Anyway, Bassie aren’t like that I just thought it needed to be said. (Bassie = Ben & Kassie: see what I did there?).
Back to the trip. They cycled on Bolivia’s Death Road which apparently kills nearly 300 people per year with parts of it being only a few metres wide with sheer drops to one side whilst overlooking the stunning views of the Amazon rainforest.
The salt flats of Bolivia are the largest in the world. Crystallised salt covering over 4000 square miles; formed by pre-historic lakes running dry leaving a salt crust.
There’s even a salt hotel. A hotel made entirely out of blocks of salt for the walls, floor, ceiling and furniture. There’s one rule “Do not lick the walls”. Degrades the hotel you see. Ben was gutted, he loves licking hotel walls!
One of the best things about travelling is strengthening the relationship with yourself, your partner and also new people you meet along the way. Bassie bonded with two Canadian girls; they’re already planning on visiting them and even potentially living there one day. All through meeting someone on a trip.
The trip has also cemented their idea of travelling in a campervan so they’ll make that happen.
An adventure, or doing anything different or outside of the ‘norm’, can be the catalyst for so many different things in your life. It’ll lead you to new paths you would never have encountered before and it’ll make you more confident, more responsible to make decisions for yourself. It’ll give you the courage to go on creating the life you want to live. And with no regrets later in life that you should’ve done this or done that while you had the chance, the opportunity, the money, the time, the feeling to just do it.
No one gets to the end of their life and says “I wish I’d worked harder” or “I wish I’d not been so fucking happy”. From a study by a palliative care nurse called Bronnie Ware, the top 5 regrets were:
- To have the courage to live their life to their choices not other peoples
- To have not spent so long working
- To have expressed their feelings more
- To have stayed in touch with friends
- To let themselves be happier (this one was about making choices to get them out of their comfort zone and overcome the fear of change).
So I salute Kassie and Ben for taking their trip and for inspiring me to write this and also travel more if the wife will let me or come with me! (Bassie, you’re looking after the kids okay?)
And finally, a wonderful ending to the whole adventure is that the house that originally fell through; well they’re only now living in it. I think that’s amazing. This trip was meant to happen for them; they got their house in the end anyway. Beautiful stuff.
So get out there, beyond your four walls, travel outside your comfortable bubble (or rut) of life and find yourself, challenge yourself, learn new skills, appreciate, discover, expand your mind, change your perspective, see how others live, experience new foods and languages, marvel at nature, create memories and stories, form new friendships, be free, be an explorer; see where it takes you.