In this world there are speakers and there are speakers.
There are those that inspire and lift you with their words, and those that seemingly have no message and prefer to share only their love for the sound of their own voice. There are speakers that want to share their dreams and others that send you to sleep. And then there are people who just hit the spot and through their words, your life is changed. Last Monday night I was lucky enough to meet one such speaker.
Erasmus School in Hawthorn was the location, and the speaker was Shane Mulhall, the head of the School of Philosophy in Ireland. What a pleasure to listen to the wisdom and humour of his words. He was an inspiration. His talk was titled 'Get a life'. I remain rattled by his words. It was the verbal shoulder shake that sometimes takes you by surprise and generally comes at just the right time.
He discussed life and our approach to it. He started with a list of questions. 84 in all. Do you love what you do? Do you wake in the morning enthusiastic about the day ahead? If you were to die tomorrow, would you be happy with what you had achieved, or would you regret inaction and a life of fear? He advised us to live a 'deathbed existence'. Imagine every day is the last and live it fully. Find those things which fill you with fear and do them... and eventually, you will fear nothing. Find your 'thing' - the thing in life that drives you, that is your gift and live it. His advice - Do what you love and fill your life with challenge. Continually extend yourself by doing new and amazing things. Welcome change. To do anything else is to live a lie.
He spoke for nearly an hour until we had a break and then returned to an hour of questions. During all of this time, despite uncomfortable chairs, an overheated room and the late hour, every person in that hall remained totally focused on him. Our group of maybe 500 or more remained captivated. He kept us enthralled the entire time.
Question time was equally impressive. He considered each question carefully, each time taking a brief pause before answering and he responded with incredible insight. He included personal anecdotes and humour. He was honest and sensitive. Confronting sometimes. It was personal and honest. He spoke of how he lives and he made it all seem possible. In fact, to live doing what we love is our obligation... in all aspects of our lives.