The Secret

 

I’m sitting on a bench by the East River, beyond the end of Wall Street. The traffic is thundering above my head on the FDR Drive as runners sprint and jog along the waterway. I’m watching the amazing variety of human existence. On one side of me, the administrators, security guards and analysts run for the Brooklyn ferry. On the other side, the billionaires step from their limos to get airborne in their helicopters, flying efficiently to their homes in the Hamptons from the Wall Street helipad.

Magic Forest - Med Res

What divides them is not the point of embarkation, nor their wealth. It is the expressions of life in their faces. Some look dead already, and some look like they are excited to be alive.

If people are watching me, do they see what I feel? Do they know I’ve found the secret to happiness? I would gladly tell them my secret if they asked, but they’re all rushing to get home, wrapped up in their lives, good or bad.

I know we should all try to live in the moment but that can’t be all. If all we are doing is living for today then we would be eating bacon, egg and cheese rolls for breakfast and not organic muesli with 2 per cent milk. And we wouldn’t be worrying so much about credit card debt and male pattern baldness.

Because true happiness needs a dream.

When you have a dream, you have something to live for. You have plans and goals and aspirations. You have a future that you can build and picture in your mind. You have a place to go in your head when you’re having a tough time of things.

There’s a little girl sitting beside me. She’s my daughter. She is talking incessantly about what she sees and what it all means to her. I’m telling her that her imagination is unlimited, that no one can control her thoughts. And no one can stop her from dreaming.

With all the energy we have inside of us, if we were to switch just a fraction of it from worrying and complaining to dreaming and creating, we would see a massive positive change in our lives and in the world.

It’s that simple.

We’re walking back up Wall Street. I’m going to buy a slice of pepperoni pizza with extra garlic. My little girl will have chicken wings, not too spicy. We will talk about our day and how there will be more days like this only they will be different. They will be astonishingly good days because we will make an incredible future with the energy and ambitions of today.

Together, we will build the dream.

Dear Me

Colorful VortexI think it is about time that I spoke with my teenage self. I want to let him know what I’ve learned throughout my adult life.

Let’s start with something simple but fundamental: do not be afraid of women. They can be wonderful and mysterious and generous and caring. Even though they intimidate you, it helps to actually talk to them and not take rejection too personally. It’s OK if you’re not their type. There are many women who will want to know you. Eventually, one will love you unconditionally.

Be who you are. Don’t worry that you like poetry more than football. If we all blended in with the crowd, there would be no change in this world. Do not live inside the prejudices of others. Change comes from being different, even if that means being ridiculed. One day you will be the difference that others envy.

Make choices from the infinity of your existence. Don’t live inside a box with a label on it. The labels are put there by others, people who see life through limitations.

Don’t let your ambitions become unrealized dreams. There are many bumps in the road to fulfillment but don’t take those as failure. Failure is giving up. Failure is accepting someone telling you that you’re not good enough. Failure is believing in the doubts and fears of others.

Take risks. When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose. Later in life you will have responsibilities but now you have none except to yourself. A career is something people talk about to justify a job. Take your passions and make them work for you.

Don’t make enemies. Revenge is like gluttony. It’s satisfying for a moment in time but leaves you feeling ill. Rise above the petty grievances that weigh others down in meaningless pursuits. You are better than that.

Make a difference. It’s not about designer clothes, Swiss watches or German cars. The difference you make is about the people you meet, the positive thoughts that you can infect them with. The progress you make in your life can also be the progress for others. Greatness comes from impact.

Your life ends one minute at a time. Never waste a single moment. Live in the ecstasy of wonder, the joy of discovery. Cancel the dark thoughts with the exhilaration of what is possible. The light shines brightly from within you. Others may try to extinguish it but never dim that light yourself.

You are alive. It is the greatest gift of all.

Live it. Never be forgotten.

And I will never forget you. Because you are me.

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