Monday, January 19, 2015

Time to Stand Up (by John McInroy)

Guest Post: John McInroy

John is a catalyst. Add him to a situation and it will never be the same. I briefly wrote about how I met him in "Unogwaja 2016 is On" and how we paused in figuring out how to solve all the problems in the world to play Ping Pong in "No Hero". His partner in crime also wrote a guest post encouraging us by telling the story of her journey to more mindful eating, in which she described how doccies replaced rom-coms on her and John's date night. John does a lot of thinking... but he does more doing.



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Time to Stand up
by John McInroy

I struggled to 'stand up' more than ever in 2014. I have realized the longer we don't 'stand up' the harder it becomes and the greater the possibility of allowing our life and what truly matters to slip by.

I'm sorry you can't hear the rendition of Friedrich Nietzsche's words as recited to me by Marcel Joubert on top of a peak somewhere in the Western Cape, but the following needs to be shared one way or another:
"The secret of realising the greatest fruitfulness
and the greatest enjoyment of existence is this:
Live dangerously!
Build your cities under the slopes of Vesuvius,
Send your ships into uncharted seas!
Live in conflict with your equals and yourselves!
Be explorers and conquerors,
not rulers and owners you lovers of knowledge!
The time will soon pass when you could be content to
live concealed in the woods like timid deer!"
At the time when I heard this I was feeling overwhelmed. This was not the first time in my life that I had experienced this. I was dejected and full of doubt and questions about my path and I could only see the obstacles, the reasons telling me why I couldn't "stand up". These reasons were owning me, suffocating me and not allowing me to move forward.

But these words struck a chord within me. They reminded me that regardless of how treacherous those 'unchartered seas' may be, whatever you do, don't stop moving, literally and figuratively, one foot in front of the other. If you keep going, no matter how small the steps, you can and will come through anything. The universe can only respond to your action!

A man who has stood up and is standing up in his life is Lewis Pugh. We recently connected on a Friday morning whilst walking our dogs, Buddy (bigger one) and Nanu (Jack Russell). We have subsequently spent a lot of time together.



He gifted me his book (21 Yaks & A Speedo) which I finished reading today. This is the message inscribed inside:

Go for the LONG WINS. (This is my previous blog I wrote about "Short Wins" that will provide context to this and what Lewis means by a 'long win'.)

I am grateful to Lewis for this timely reminder to stay the course. The presence, care and wisdom with which he has graced me has had a massive impact on me, and his life continues to have a massive impact on the world around us. He must truly have balls of steel to do what he does. I mean, just taking a dip in the Atlantic ocean at 14 degrees Celsius is too cold for most mortals let alone the minus 1,7 degrees he has put himself through. (Hence, my new nickname for him "Thaw" - The Ice Warrior)

Lewis brought up the importance of the "why" when it comes to maintaining motivation and belief in your path. When your "why" is strong enough, it will prevail, and you will prevail through whatever challenges you will find yourself battling deep within. This year has been an incredible one for testing my "why" and really get down to the bones of it.

I am not a runner, a cyclist, a red-sock-salesman, a public speaker. Those may be things that I DO but they are not who I AM. They are also not the "why", but rather they are the "how". I AM a person who wants to unite our country (South Africa) and do my bit to contribute to the world by getting more people to walk together. Not do the walking for anyone else. That doesn't work. We need to walk together. Stand together. And the "WHY" is to witness the strength and empowerment that will come from these steps taken in unison.

If you are reading this, I am speaking directly to you. You need to stand up in whatever way you can. No matter how small the first step is. Take it.

The time to stand up is now.


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In writing a blog about several topics in which I admit to being a complete beginner, I am going to have to rely heavily on the people I am writing for who cumulatively know most of what I am likely to learn already. I would love it if some of you found the time to write a guest post on the subject of happiness or learning. The framework I use for thinking about these things is what I call the '5 + 2 points' which includes proper (1) exercise, (2) breathing, (3) diet, (4) relaxation, (5) positive thinking & meditation, (+1) relationships, (+2) flow. Naturally if you would like to write about something that you think I have missed, I would love to include that too. If you are up to doing something more practical, it would be awesome if you did a 100 hour project and I am happy to do the writing based on our chats if that is how you roll. Email me at trevorjohnblack@gmail.com 




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