From the moment of my birth tragedy crafted the energy that surrounded me.
The loss of my twin brother means that I’ve always felt a part of my soul missing. Just that little bit empty somewhere inside… I’ve always described it like not having all the pieces of the puzzle.
I’m sure many would consider that thought fanciful and over dramatic, but to me it’s something very real that I have to live with.
Despite those around me I feel loneliness every day, the first understanding of that sadness was when I found out about my brother. Things just seemed to make a bit more sense.
I’ve often joked that he was all the best of me and I’m what was left. But frankly even if he was an arse I’d still wish him here.
There’s nothing that can stifle how alone I feel inside, not through lack of wanting something wider than that, it’s just there like a dead weight, lingering.
If I sit here and think about him, what he would have looked like, how he would have looked after me and made me feel like everything was going to be OK, all the things our father should have done to protect us, every now and then it feels like it could be there for a moment and then reality say Thomas, this is bullsh*t, it’s not happening, he’s not coming back. He’s never going to be there.
I’m not going spin you a line and tell you I’m trying to live my life for two people, but that would explain elements of the extremities of risk and diversity in my day to day. It might explain throwing myself off cliffs attached to parachutes, riding motorbikes around India, Cambodia, or any other treacherous terrain I can find; feeling the need to become a rescue diver and my want to try and rescue everyone from everything they’re facing… but the reality is probably not as romantic as the story books tell you it should be.
Anyway, I digress (how self righteous), the point I actually wanted to consider today is why we wait for tragedy before we actually sit up and do something that makes us truly happy.
I woke this morning at some ungodly hour and in the momentary calm and silence before my son starts establishing that I’m awake and that he should chant daddy until I attend his whim, I flicked through my LinkedIn feed in search of something inspiring.
I saw an article that had been written about a man who’s light-bulb went on when he woke up one morning to find his wife having a stroke beside him. Thankfully in reading on I found that she was OK and that this was a catalytic moment for them in terms of how they live their life, but it made me think about why we don’t take action as human beings until it’s potentially too late?
I’ve lost at least 4 people close to me in the last 3 years through taking their own life. One of which ended her life because she wanted the choice and if she’d waited long enough cancer would have removed her of that choice, one because of stigma trapped as the successful business man whom in fact wasn’t that successful and couldn’t tell the hundreds that doted on him, one because of love and loneliness and another because he just never felt worthy of life.
Why didn’t I help them? Perhaps in 3 instances because I didn’t put myself out there soon enough and talk about anything I was feeling and perhaps in one because I didn’t look past the surface.
Ultimately it’s so often in life that we see people make a change when something negative happens; I won’t list the scenarios, we can all imagine what awful things could happen to us, so no need to be flippant in my detail and belittle the reality of tragedy. But even Steve Jobs, with all his wealth and power, couldn’t stop the inevitable.
But let’s use Steve as a casing point; only in his final furlong did he begin to realise the reality of what he’d missed. The man who only wore one type of outfit to cut down his daily decision making so as the decisions could be more mindful, even he knew at the end that there was more that he’d missed.
At first I thought that this just came down to money and to some degree it does. If someone said you can eat forever, free of charge and you’ve got a place to live forever, then would you be doing what you’re doing? (Insert Miscellaneous pointless activity here!) Probably not… My guess is, that you’d find something more meaningful and you may not be happy every day, but you’d be vastly closer to that reality than you ever will be now.
So, to some degree we have to think about that security, if you don’t have an element of wealth to sustain you, then you have to trudge to a degree in order to find those moments of freedom and yes that means the hunter gatherers were happier and we are less so. Another reason why people feel motivated by Bear Gryll’s island even though they nearly starve every time and can’t build fire for toffee or even keep their camp clean.
Imagine the decisions you make every day, the multitude and imagine in reality how many important decisions there are?!
There truly are only two decisions we have to make as human beings in my opinion…
1 – Do I want to be happy?
2 – Do I want to be good?
The first question doesn’t mean that you have to hunt for happiness, oh no!! Please don’t do that!! It means that you have to change your state of being.
Change one thing in your life, or change one thing every day if you’re feeling like a pro, one thing that makes you a better human being. These thinks become habitual and habitual change, when the energy is directed in a positive light will give you some semblance of the happiness you seek.
And as for point two… Some of you may not be aware if you’re an arsehole and that’s OK. I am very often an arsehole, but at the root of my nature I know that I am good, I feel love deep within me.
Here’s a scenario:
I’m in India in a busy city, I see a young man, maybe 18-20 with a brick in his hand and I see a cowering dog, the man with his brick raised to throw at the dog…
I skid stop to the side of the road instinctively and I jump off my bike yelling at the man, I take the brick and hold it above my head and I push him away from the dog to ensure he feels my intent, then I proceed to threaten that if he ever touches an animal again I will end him… he runs away in fear…
So, in this instance there will be mixed feeling which is entirely dependent on how you feel as a human being. Part of the instance involves me being an arsehole, but ultimately I genuinely have an obsession with nature and I love every animal deeply, even that monkey that bit me. So I know that I have a fuse with a limit and that needs to be kept in check, but deep inside I am good.
Of course the opening gambit was about why we wait for tragedy to strike before we take action, so why have I not solved this conundrum for you?
Because you can solve this with yourself in mine…
Ask yourself both of these questions, do I want to be happy and do I want to be good and if the answer is yes to both then you’re half way there.
The next bits simple, you think about change every day, it’s building up inside you, there’s something that makes you unhappy, there’s something that you do that’s sucking you of the marrow that is life and there’s something you can do about it, but you’ve not had the strength until now, you’re burdened by society and money and what define success, but it’s all a lot of crap and we don’t have to live like this, and we can still have a job and be happy but we don’t make the right choices, so we’re continually unhappy because we’re pigeon holing ourselves and telling ourselves that’s just the way that one went, but it doesn’t have to be!! So we have to take control!! And all you have to do is…
Change the state of play!