Last year I quit my job, bought a car, and set off on a 14,892 mile road trip around Australia with my two friends, Anni and Luke. We covered all four corners (and the middle) of what can only be described as a continental sized country, and after sending this tweet, Brian asked me to write an article about my travels.
I have since returned home to the UK and would like to think that I've learned a few things along the way. The aim of this post is simple. To share with you the lessons I have learned on my journey, and to direct you towards taking action, by applying these lessons to your own life.
Fasten your seatbelt, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
Lesson #1 - Life Is Short But Time Is In Abundance
"Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its shortness." - Jean de La Bruysre
I've been doing a lot of thinking about time, how quickly it goes by, and how short this life we live really is. Insight requires time - and time, I have come to learn, despite conventional wisdom, there is in abundance.
Last year I was able to live a life long dream and do nothing but travel for 100 days straight. I had created a situation where I could pretty much do anything that I wanted. I soon realised that it's because we have so much time that we squander it. For years, I've being using a lack of time as an excuse to avoid the things that really need to be done, and your probably doing the same. It's or use of time, and not time itself that is the enemy. A good exercise you can use to transform how to spend your time is to follow what is known as 'The 80/20 Principle'. Tim Ferriss (a former London Real guest) is a big advocate of this principle, I actually wrote a blog post about 'The 80/20 Principle' here.
Lesson #2 - You Can Always "Do More Good"
Let's face it - as human beings, we all have the tendency to be lazy. Well, at least I know I do. There I was, lying on a beautiful beach in Queensland. Like most days, apart from taking in my vitamin D, I had nothing to do. If you're anything like me, too much of nothing gets boring and soon turns into restlessness. My mind began to wonder and I started to think back to the first London Real episode we listened to in the car, an interview with Brad Burton.
I knew I could have been working harder and doing more work on a project of mine - A quest to raise £500 for Africa On The Ball, a UK based charity using the power of football to help tackle poverty in Zambia. To achieve this goal, I had been taking part in a series of challenges, and up until this point I had scaled two active volcanoes, completed two world-class hikes, swam with great white sharks and cage-dived with crocodiles. Truth is, although I had raised a decent amount of money, I needed more, and I'd hit what Seth Godin calls a Dip. Looking back now, I can see how silly this slump was, I mean, I was doing things most people wouldn't dream of doing, doing things that I never thought I'd be able to do. For whatever reason I plugged in my headphones and start listening to 'The 50 Billion Dollar Man', Dan Pena. One of the challenges I was considering doing was a skydive and I'd been making up all sorts of excuses in my head not to do it. Listening to Dan gave me the kick up the arse that I needed and I did the skydive. Off the back of this, I received a few more donations and on new years eve, right before the deadline, I hit my goal and raised the £500 needed. I sent Dan this tweet to thank him. You can always do more, and should always do more.
If you're unfamiliar with London Real, I highly recommend you 'Get Off Your Arse' and listen to this interview with Brad Burton.
Word of warning: these episodes will stick with you. I can't get Dan's voice out of my head. Meditation is helping.
Lesson #3 - Mentors Are Everywhere
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go to the gym and work out with a 6-time Mr Olympia Champion? What do you think your body would look like? How about free access to health and performance advice from some of the worlds best? How do you think you would feel?
Pretty good right? There is no doubt that one of the keys to success in any area of life is finding a good mentor. With the internet it's now possible to access almost anybodies ideas and London Real attracts the best. Luke's favourite episode was a mix up between two guests: Dave Asprey, and Kelly Starrett. In his own words:
"They know their shit, and they say it exactly how it is."
Luke went onto to say that both guests weren't afraid to be controversial, but not just for the sake of controversy. The knowledge and passion of the guests on London Real are second to none, and we can all learn something from each guest, which brings me nicely to my next point.
Lesson #4 - Get Familiar With The Unfamiliar
Remember that old saying? "Don't judge a book by it's cover." I'm certainly guilty of this at times and I'm sure you are too. As a 22-year old fresh out of University, I thought I had all the answers. Man, was I wrong. Now it's as if the more I know, the less I know. One surprise we got on the road was listening to English rapper, Akala. 'Knowledge Is Power' turned out to be Anni's favourite episode. Much like all those little unknown places we discovered on our travels, the most enjoyable and interesting interviews turned out to be from the people we didn't know much about, or had never heard of. Not knowing what to expect, we were pleasantly surprised. A good exercise to get you started with this idea is to try something new. Can't dance? Sign up for a salsa class, can't defend yourself? Try a mixed-martial arts class. Try something new - you might just surprise yourself.
Lesson #5 - Information Is Useless Without Action
I don't watch much TV, and that isn't just because I don't own one. Day-to-day we are constantly bombarded with messages left, right and centre. Reading and taking in information alone is not pulling the trigger. It doesn't matter how many books you've read, if you don't use that information, and apply it in some way, you'll keep getting the same results you've always had. Don't get more wrong, I think everyone should read more. This tweet from Ryan Holiday (one of my favourite London Real guests) sums up nicely how you should think about information. If there's no plan regarding how you're going to use information, no action will follow. Ultimately, that's why I don't watch much TV. I try and be selective about the things I watch and listen, and you should too.
Lesson #6 - We Manufacture Our Own Fear
One of the biggest obstacles that we all face in our lives is fear. Very often this fear keeps us from moving ahead with our lives. Last year I faced many fears, and what I learned is that none of them were as bad as the picture I had created in my own mind. The first step to overcoming any fear is to accept that it's there and that you yourself have created it. Fear is a fact of life rather than a barrier to success. If you're serious about facing fears the best advice I can give you is to feel that fear, accept that it's there, and just do it anyway.
Lesson #7 - It's About The Journey
For anyone who hasn't driven around Australia, it's difficult to explain the sheer size of this country. There's a road known as 'The 90 Mile Straight' which goes through The Nullarbor Plain, an area of flat, almost treeless country. It's the world's largest single exposure of limestone bedrock and occupies 77,0000 square miles. We'd spend days doing nothing but driving for 12 hours straight. To save money, we slept in tents, and cooked our own food. Australia is a harsh country and we had some pretty brutal nights in the bush. Each morning to avoid the heat and the flies, we'd rise with the sun, quickly pack away our tents and hit the road. Unbearable temperatures and blood sucking insects were just a few of the prices that we had to pay to see what we wanted to see, and we saw it all. Although we were always looking forward to the next stop, the biggest lesson I think we all took away from this trip is that it wasn't so much the destination that mattered, but the journey itself.
It truly is all about the journey.