Carpe Diem

August 15th, 2014

Like many people I was deeply saddened to hear the news of Robin William’s untimely death.  It is always tragic when family and friends have to deal with such a loss and it is certainly very difficult for me to imagine what pain he must have been in to take his own life. I never had the privilege to meet him but his wide range of work had touched me deeply. 

I used to love the craziness of Mork and Mindy. Following the recent news I revisited it and introduced my 16-year-old son to the delights of “Nanu Nanu”. We giggled away together, and it was even better than I had remembered; maybe I didn’t quite get some of the more adult humour first time around?

The film role that had the most impact on me was Dead Poets Society, I have seen it a number of times and it still has the capacity to make me cry. Robin Williams played the role of John Keating a truly inspirational teacher who had a huge impact on the lives of the boys he taught.

For me the film has a number of messages that are important to our lives and careers. I can not possibly compete with John Keating, as portrayed so brilliantly by Robin Williams, but as a mentor, coach and mediator my aspiration is to try to in some way enable others to understand their own uniqueness, have the confidence and self-belief to achieve their potential, to think in new and different ways and to continually grow. These are the messages that particularly resonate with me.

  •  “Why do I stand up here? Anybody? I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.”   Opening up our own and others minds to new and different perspectives can create new learning and endless possibilities.
  • O Captain, my Captain. Who knows where that comes from? Anybody? Not a clue? It’s from a poem by Walt Whitman about Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Now in this class you can either call me Mr. Keating, or if you’re slightly more daring, ‘O Captain my Captain’.”    –  Have the courage to be brave, daring and different. 
  • Now we all have a great need for acceptance, but you must trust that your beliefs are unique, your own, even though others may think them odd or unpopular, even though the herd may go (imitating a goat) “that’s baaaaad”. Robert Frost said, “Two roads diverged in the wood and I, I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.”     –   Celebrate your uniqueness, trying to fit in a culture that does not fit with your values and beliefs will not bring long-term happiness and well-being. 
  • “I always thought the idea of education was to learn to think for yourself.”    –    Be enquiring and curious in everything you do; “why” is one of the best questions that we can ask and one that will lead to life long learning.  The right attitude is far more important than a string of qualifications (although you would not think so from the media hype around A level results today.)
  • “Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Don’t be resigned to that. Break out!”    –   Identify what is important to you and have the confidence to speak out for what you believe in.  
  •  “They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”      –      Remember that everyone has a sense of vulnerability, even those who appear to have infinite confidence, power and success. The truly powerful leaders are not afraid to admit this.  Believe in yourself and have the confidence that you too can do great things; starting from today
  •  “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race, and the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”     –        Passion and emotion are what make us human. We should not underestimate the importance of passion and emotion, it is what will truly motivate and engage people. We also need to learn to pay more attention to our own emotions and understand and acknowledge the emotional impact we can have on others; this can be very powerful in building better relationships.
  • No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”   –    Words are powerful, they have a great capacity to hurt, to heal, to inspire and motivate ( See previous post “Take care with words; they matter more than you may think.”)  





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The report was very professional, it dealt with all the issues raised and was particularly thorough. It clearly took the time to fully understand all of the issues and background. It was complex but the report really helped to break it down and I’m hoping we can progress in a positive manner following the recommendations.

Group HR Manager, Energy Sector |

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