When you only have seven minutes to tell a story, the message needs to be concise, direct and memorable. Some of the messages that stayed with me after that evening, and still resonate in my mind every time I doubt myself, can be summarised in a few words:
- ‘There is no such a thing as will power; it is simply a choice’- This was a revelation to me - because I have been using the excuse of ‘not having enough will power’ all my life! It is not something beyond our control - it is a choice we make. And we can choose to walk that extra kilometre in the morning, we can choose not to have that extra piece of cake or glass of wine, we can choose to put one foot in front of another until we reach our goal.
- ‘There are three kinds of ‘dream busters’: circumstances, the people who discourage you, but most importantly, the voice inside your head’ - Although some circumstances are beyond our control, we can make a choice not to listen to the voices that are trying to convince us that we won’t be able to achieve our dreams. We can challenge those voices (especially those inside our head), and prove them wrong.
- Take risks – what is the worst that can happen? - In ‘Swimming with Crocodiles’ Jock Elliott told the story of the night when, as a carefree young man, he went swimming with friends in the wilderness, oblivious to the fact that the water was infested with crocodiles. The speech made us think about the many times in life when we choose not to take risks because we are afraid of failure, rejection, embarrassment or pain. If we compare the risk we are about to take, to that of swimming with crocodiles, most risks in life seem worth taking.
- ‘Your passion will not let you fail’ - Ever since I heard them, these seven words have become a mantra that has had an amazing effect in silencing the voices that stop me from taking risks, or starting something new because of the fear of failure. If you are passionate enough about your dreams and choose to take risks in order to achieve them, your passion won’t let you fail. And if you fail, what is the worst that can happen? Whatever it is, it probably won’t be as drastic as having a crocodile bite both your legs off.