It was one of those “not feeling good” Thursdays and I decided to take a day off. I slept till 11:00 and cleared out everything off my schedule that I was supposed to do. But left only one responsibility untouched.
I was supposed to pick up my daughter in the afternoon from school. Usually I drive to school, however on that day, the weather was so amazing. I decided to have a long stroll to school.
It was a sunny day, partly cloudy and almost no wind. As I was approaching the H.Javid park, I started seeing a pacing crowd. They were being dropped off by buses & upon getting off the bus they were all moving towards the “Yasamal” cemetery.
They were chanting with love and admiration towards a religious leader who passed away on the previous day. It was a bizarre and admirable scene. Hundreds of people, men, women, children & elderly who probably have never met Shahin Hasanli, were marching towards the cemetery while being dropped off almost 3 kms away. Some were mourning, some crying & some inspired by their own unity.
I just sat on the park bench and watched the mourning crowd pass by for 20 minutes non stop. It was very moving to watch them.
Roughly an hour later, I was walking my kid towards her grandmothers place. Although it has nothing to do with the story, I want to share a small dialogue between us.
Me: No matter how awful my mood is, when I spend time with you – it always gets better.
Her: Dad, when it gets better, how long does it stay that way?
My cheeky little daughter was fishing for this intel “how frequently does he miss me?”.
With a major mood boost thanks to my daughter, I kept on walking towards my gym.
Later that day, I visited my friend. For privacy reasons I will leave his name out of the story. We shall name him Farkhad.
As soon as I sat down on the couch. I told Farkhad about the magnificent scene I observed at the park today. I told him that, I sat down on a park bench for 20 minutes with music in my ears & was just watching people get out of buses, march and chant, non stop.
At that point, he got a bid sad saying that we have lost a very respected and loved person. He described his speeches and his deeds in a very descriptive monologue. The most surprising fact was that deceased Shahin was Farkhads hero. He mentioned that he always wanted to have a sit down with him and ask questions about life, religion & history. He desperately needed Shahin’s opinions on things. Inspite of this, he never reached out to Shahin. He had so many chances though. He even had an encounter with him where they shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. Sadly he never pushed himself out of his comfort zone and reached out to the famous theologian.
There was a long pause in our conversation. You rarely see the bitterness of a missed opportunity in a mans eyes.
How he told me this regretful story of a missed opportunity(s), made me think and reminded me of how I reached out to my heroes. Yes, multiple times.
To me having an opportunity to meet someone you admire and not taking it, is bizarre.
Imagine that you have created a certain philosophy, idea, concept, way of living or a business. All of a sudden you are presented an opportunity to run it by a person you look up to. Not only that, upon listening to your speech your hero is saying “Yes, absolutely I agree with you” or the opposite he gives his critical point of view. How satisfying, rewarding & gratifying that experience would be?
Better yet, imagine an athlete or an author about whom you think something similar to this “he is unrealistic”. Just seeing that person in real life would be a living proof that what he/she is doing is possible and real. Is there a better motivation?
I am very glad that I have never missed an opportunity when it comes to my local heroes. I reached out, I asked them for their time, I asked for their guidance or advice & I am glad that I did. Now even, some of them are my friends.
There was this one occasion. When I grabbed a chance to visit one of those people. I messaged him with my wish to have a sit down with him. When he asked about my reasoning, I told him that it is a learning opportunity for me.
Our meeting was held in his big meeting room and it started off a bit serious. However, when he rest assured that my intentions do not come with strings attached, he opened up and became more relaxed & open. We ended up having a chat about our careers, life experiences and failures.
When I asked him the following question; What made you, you?!
“I was always the biggest risk taker in any team I was in. I worked in most remote or dangerous places my industry offered. With that in mind I also had dedication and serious commitment towards my duties, and here we are.”
At that point my mind went “biggest risk taker hmmm”. That was my key takeaway from that meeting for some reason. It stuck with me.
We hold our heroes to a high standart & they have accumulated a lot of credibility due to their experience and success. When your hero says that “I was always the biggest risk taker” – you take that sentence really seriously.
I wish I could tell you that, that meeting changed my life. But it didn’t. It gave me perspective and knowledge. It gave me a sigh of confidence. It gave me new options. I started making some changes in encounters, in business meetings & in life in general. Where those changes will take me, I still have to find out. However I am very glad that I met that person & dozens more. Because I am a firm believer that, whatever happens to us – happens for a reason.
We are frequently misled by the word “life-changing”. We expect some divine thing, moment or a person to grab our life by the balls and change it. Disappointing part is that, it doesn’t happen that way. No matter how hard we wish it. We do get those unique moments and they are amazing. However, what we do after matters 10 times more.
Opportunities, things, chances, people & experiences present themselves to you since the day you were born up until your last breath. Quite frankly, it is up to you what to do with those, right at that moment & how you will decide to change your life after that. Ironically you are the one who is “life-changing”. Your heroes serve their purpose, they make you believe, they motivate, they are the living embodiment that whatever you are trying to achieve is POSSIBLE.