How to Live Your Life

The inspiration for this post came at the end of the video below.  However as I get older I think more about how to live, perhaps because I am more aware of death.  On the Camino direction is easy, just follow the yellow arrows – but what then after finishing?

This is the longest YouTube video that I have ever watched, it is well worth watching. It runs for nearly 80 minutes, so if you are going to watch it put some time aside – grab a cup of tea, have a biscuit, and listen to inspiration. To date this video has had more than 17 million views.

I Love the Internet

Growing up in Glasgow I would have paid time and money to go and listen to someone like Randy Pausch.  During the last ten years it has become normal to watch Ted or other great places online and hear people that amaze and inspire me.

I  can search for the answer to any question and find a multitude of answers.  I no longer have to live the ignorance of my youth; in addition I have to be willing to change my mind quickly – it is so easy to discover where I am wrong.

Brickwalls and Your Own Dreams

In this video Randy talks about “Brickwalls” a few times – he says they are there to see how much you want some thing. I think this applies to walking the Camino. Walking for 30 days carrying your gear is not easy, each day is easy – but added together it gets harder on the body.

When I left school at 16 I could hardly write.  My handwriting was illegible and my spelling was terrible.  My handwriting was deliberately like that; I used appalling handwriting to hide my inability to spell.  However I wanted to write.  It was beyond my realistic imagination that I could ever be a writer, but I wrote short stories, songs, and poems as a kid.  Today I spend most of my days writing, I am getting slowly better with practice, and closer to writing, more often, on the subject matters I love.

I read the book Mindset, by Carol Dweck, a while back.  The thesis of the book is that people fall into two groups about how they view their abilities.  One group think either you can or can’t do something; the other group think you can learn.  I see both mindsets at work within me; I believe I can learn most subjects, however I have a fixed mindset around languages and art – I don’t think I can learn.  I am wrong.  I only have to look back at my own life to see the improvements in my writing and many other areas where I have practiced, and practice is unrated where talent is overrated.  Brick walls sometimes inspire me to just work harder, to practice more, to focus, to seek help.

Show Gratitude

I love this one. I cried in Santiago for various reasons, getting there was the end of something. I discovered a trick that I can play on myself a few years ago. If I am down and moaning about life I can decide to think about how good my life really is – it works, try it. I start with the no brainers – I am alive, I am healthy, I have friends, it’s a beautiful day, I have enough money for today in my pocket – this process becomes more personal and changes how I am viewing the world.

I had a lot of pain for the last 2 weeks on the Camino Frances, I had a hernia problem, people asked me how I was and my standard reply “Pain reminds me I am alive.” So true when death is only a breath away.


Thoughts on Death

I read this article today on the Huffington Post.  It is about prostate cancer and walking the Camino Portugues.  The author describe the joy of spending time with his father walking for three weeks on the Camino, his site.  But why wait for a brush with death?

Occasionally I think about my death.  I find it incredibly motivating and a source of energy.  Too often I have wasted too much time.  I try my best to avoid that.  What can I do today that makes my life and those around me better?  There is always something.

Enable the Dreams of Others

I once worked for a company where I encouraged them to hire a friend.  My friend hated the job and left after six months.  I felt a bit guilty encouraging him to leave a regular job; he had been there a few years and seemed quite settle.  However I thought he was able to accomplish more, so I pushed.  After he left I avoid him for a while, my guilt had kicked in.

We met up about a year later.  He was now running his own company and he wanted to thank me – I was stunned.  He told me I had changed his life by pushing him to grow and leave the comfortable job behind and stretch himself.

I consider myself very fortunate, every day I have a connection with the Camino via emails and the forum.  I love when I receive emails thanking me for helping – this website is something that I love writing and helping others is a huge bonus.

Life Lessons Learned

I wrote a post previously about lessons learned on the Camino – here are a few more:

  • Approach with humility – it always makes situations easier to deal with.
  • Labeling someone changes my perception of them – avoid.
  • Do the work on my desk – that’s how to get more.  From Poor Charlie’s Almanack.
  • Don’t criticize, condemn or complain – try it for a day.
  • Smile – it really does help to make life easier and put others at ease.

And some lesson from the video:

  • Be good at something; it makes you valuable
  • Work hard and finish things… consistent work produces results.
  • Find the best in everyone: no matter how long you have to wait for them to show it.
  • Be prepared: luck is where preparation meets opportunity.

Anyway enough of me – try and find sometime to watch this all the way, it is worth it.

Any thoughts?

Leave a Reply