I escaped the ordinary. I was born with a poor biological template. I developed chronic allergies, debilitating asthma and I was shortsighted. I was medically confined to my bedroom for the first decade of my life.
When I was 8 years old, a traveling sales man knocked on our front door in Port Melbourne, Australia and sold my non-English speaking parents a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica. That set turned out to be one of the greatest influences on my life. It was the spark and secret kindling that set my imagination on fire. My mind had stretched by imagination and it would never regain its original dimensions.
I would read them constantly and, without my parents knowing, I’d take them to bed with me. I’d shine a flashlight under the sheets, flick the pages of a volume through to a subject that fascinated me, and read until I nodded off to sleep. Sometimes I’d stay awake past midnight, dreaming about the things I was going to pursue in life, and imagining the world that was out there waiting for me.
The encyclopedia opened up to me all the things I wanted to accomplish. I sat down and wrote down my highest aspirations in life, as I’ve shared with you before.
Since writing down that list at age 8, I’ve accomplished almost everything on the list. I have two major goals remaining: rocketing to a space station orbiting up to 300 miles above the Earth, and landing on the moon. Even those goals are within my reach. I became the first flight-qualified and certified civilian astronaut from Australia and I remain in mission-allocation status for a future space flight to the International Space Station. The Russians have even offered me the exclusive opportunity to escape earth’s orbit, rocket to deep space and orbit the lunar surface of the moon for a cool $100 million.
In addition to those goals, my life has been filled with extreme adventures.
- I have visited over 140 countries. I have trekked with the Tuareg Bedouins across the Sahara Desert.
- I have broken the sound barrier in a Russian MIG 25 jet travelling faster than Mach 2 (1,522 mph).
- My rock band performed and toured with big names like Bon Jovi and Deep Purple.
- I dived down five miles deep in a pressurized biosphere to have lunch on the bow of the shipwreck RMS Titanic in the North Atlantic Ocean.
- I have climbed the highest peaks of five continents, including the mighty Mt. Aconcagua in the Andes. I have two more peaks to summit on the first attempt to become one of a handful of climbers in history who have climbed the Seven Summits—the highest mountains of all seven of the world’s continents.
- I conducted a Navy Seals HALO skydive jump with oxygen above the summit of Mt Everest in Nepal at over 30,000 ft.
- I have rappelled into the heart of the most active volcanoes in the world.
- I have storm-chased tornadoes in the Midwest and hurricanes across the Atlantic Ocean.
- I even negotiated with the former deposed dictator of Egypt, to spend a night in the 5,000-year-old Cheops Pyramid in Giza, Cairo. I spent the night alone in the King’s Chamber of the pyramid and slept in the sarcophagus in total darkness. The very same sarcophagus that Napoleon Bonaparte, Alexander the Great, Herodotus, Sir Isaac Newton and other giants of history had slept in.
I deliver keynote speeches and facilitate entrepreneurial training courses around the world. I even get the opportunity to speak in remote locations most foreigners would simply never visit. Just recently, I spoke in the communist hermit kingdom of North Korea and taught geography to a classroom of teenagers about to graduate. I even conducted an entrepreneurial mastermind to more than 750 investors and business owners in Tehran, Iran.
Growing up, an inspirational character for me in childhood was the comic book adventurer named Tintin. Tintin was living the “never grow up” dream and I travelled the world through his pages, taking in every exotic detail. I read and reread Tintin books in our school library, daydreaming about his magical life. In his various adventures he was a pilot, space explorer, mountain climber, and deep-sea diver. He also climbed the mountains of Nepal, rescued African slaves, battled pirates, and dived down to the deepest abyss of the ocean to explore shipwrecks.
When I reflect on the adventures of Tintin, I realize that my childhood dreams have come true. Many times throughout my adventures I’ve been in some far- flung destination and had a weird feeling of déjà vu—a Tintin flashback.
Ralph Waldo Emerson summed it up nicely: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Live your dreams!
My adventurous life has not happened because I was born into wealth. Lacking a wealthy friend such as Captain Haddock, I realized that if I wanted to become an adventurer like Tintin, I would need to develop multiple pillars of income in order to afford such a lifestyle. I wasn’t born rich—but I was born rich in human potential.
I did have medical issues earlier in my childhood but I refused to be held captive by them. I’m no more special than anyone else. I’ve simply set my sights on big goals and have never stopped working to achieve them.
There’s nothing stopping you from doing the same. You may not care about traveling or anything else that I myself have done. I don’t share my life experiences with you because I think you care about anything I’ve accomplished, but rather to simply inspire you to live your own version of the ideal life.
There is no shortage of adventures to live and thrills to be experienced. You may want to live on the beach and surf every day. Perhaps you want to go on an epic RV trip. Your dream could be to do frequent humanitarian trips to developing countries. Maybe you just want to spend more time with your family, or simply have the leisure time to read more.
Whatever it is for you, go after it. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s impossible, don’t let anything stop you. Life is the greatest show on earth. Ensure you have front row seats. You have an abundance of opportunities that people in the past could not have even dreamed of. Eliminate all excuses from your mind and vocabulary. Cut off the pessimists and haters in your life. Surround yourself with inspirational people, immerse yourself in inspirational material. Do whatever it takes to escape the trap of ordinary.
Because I can promise you this: It is so worth it.
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible,” said. St. Francis of Assisi.
In my next post, I’ll give you a few tactical tools for building your own 5 Day Weekend strategy.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you about what you dream of doing when you fulfill your 5 Day Weekend goal. Thank you for sharing!
Secure your copy of the “5 Day Weekend” book. 5 Day Weekend: Freedom to Make Your Life and Work Rich with Purpose [Nik Halik & Garrett Gunderson]