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What Phil Keoghan Taught Me About Fearless Living

by Sean Aiken Sep 12, 2007

You are 25 metres below the ocean, scuba diving for the first time.

After following your guide into an old sunken ship, suddenly, you lose sight of him. You are lost, running out of air. You taste fear in the back of your throat.

You reflect on your life, the accomplishments, regrets, past memories, things you had always wanted to do yet never got around to doing.

As the air drains out of your tank, you become disoriented. You lose consciousness, all becomes black.

What would you do?

If you were Phil Keoghan, host of The Amazing Race, after regaining consciousness back on the surface, you would immediately write a list for life: things to accomplish before you die, and proceed to complete every single one of them.

I had read this story with awe a few weeks before I met Mr. Koeghan in person.

It returned to me again when thinking about a realization I had this week in my One Week Job project: we sometimes need a certain disruption in our lives to act as a catalyst for change.

Shifting Your Worldview

I see this certain disruption as anything that causes us to re-evaluate our current situation.

Not all disruptions are or need to be as dramatic as the one Mr. Keoghan experienced, yet I feel such events serve as a wake up call that force us to re-evaluate our lives.

They cause us to ask: why am I doing what I am doing? Characterized by a new way of looking at the world, we see the familiar with fresh eyes and spot new opportunity.

Disruptions cause us to ask ourselves: why am I doing what I am doing?

For example, a disruption could happen during a vacation. Everything is new, we are outside of our normal environment, and view our surroundings with a sense of wonderment and curiosity.

When home again – we are refreshed, almost as if we are a tourist in our own city. We begin to see our current situation from an altered perspective.

This new perspective leads us to question the familiar and why things are a certain way.

The Constant Flux

With One Week Job, I am in a constant state of disruption. I am never in a job long enough to attain a comfortable routine and am continually entering new environments.

As a result, I have noticed that I am vastly more creative, open to new experiences, willing to step outside my comfort zone, and prepared to take more risks than when I’m in my comfortable home environment.

Since graduating, I have done quite a bit of traveling. I remember how when it was time to return home, I always felt somewhat reluctant.

Being in my comfortable home environment, I know how easy it can be to fall into a complacent routine where everything feels static and I simply go through the motions, falling victim to preconceptions of myself and others.

I now understand and recognize the value in exposing myself to new situations and foreign environments – to seek those situations that force me to learn about myself and evaluate what it is that I want to do.

To shake it up every now and then, and bring a little disruption into the equation.

Finding Inspiration

Although it was not a disruption of choice that Phil Keoghan experienced at the age of 19, it changed his life forever.

I was inspired by his story – and so when I heard he was coming to my hometown of Vancouver, I realized I had to meet him.

It was week ten of One Week Job and he was coming to sign autographs for his new book. I had my reservations, but I felt as if I needed to go.

I stood nervously in line waiting for my turn, the crowd anxiously jostling to get a glimpse. Then suddenly, we were face to face.

I told him how his story had inspired me, and explained what I was doing with One Week Job. He was impressed with the idea, looked me straight in the eyes and said with genuine sincerity, “do something with it.”

This interaction served as an important disruption for me: it inspired me to continue.

I don’t know where it will all lead, what will happen next, or where my path will take me, but I am enjoying journey.

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