Today a homeless man asked me, “Do you know the meaning of life?”
I said, “It’s a mystery.” Yet the question stuck. You’d think by age 52 I’d know the answer.
The question reminded me of my TED Talk interview. Then the indelible question was, “If given 24-hours to live, what advice would you give the world?” TED’s ultimate quest was to be relevant by being irrelevant in less than 10 minutes.
Answering the elusive question was proving to be truly elusive.
I searched for wisdom by talking with family, friends, associates, teachers, children, and even the dog, Lily, who (by the way) had one of the best answers. She brought me a dish and a ball. From her point of view life boils down to eating and playing, not necessarily in that order.
Offering advice to the world was paralyzing for two reasons. First, I was uneasy with giving advice, for rarely was I asked to share it. Second, I couldn’t think of any advice to share. Too cliché to say, “save money, don’t go to bed angry, and have faith.
Really, what timeless advice could I share that could connect with everyone: young, old, man, woman of any race, religion, and culture? Some said preparing for a TED Talk would be more challenging than Ironman training. That proved to be true.
Ah ha … I get it. I got it.
Thankfully the answer unfolded. It’s all about our voice within – listening to our inner voice and responding by following its wisdom. Both are vitally important, detrimental when ignored, and yet both can be irrelevant with societies norms.
Expressing one’s voice can get muddled.
After 15 drafts, 50+ meetings with the speech coach, and a river of tears my TED Talk focused on how listening to our inner voice strengthens our faith in ourselves, even when we don’t know the outcome, the reasoning, and logically the quest seems impossible.
The meaning of life is still elusive. Until that answer comes to light I’ll listen to my inner voice. It is like an internal GPS system guiding me to turn left, race Ironman, call my sister, don’t buy that car, get married, move to Montreal.
It helps me speak up, share ideas, make better choices and build confidence even when I’m completely out of a comfort zone.
What’s the take away?
Our inner voice helps us become who we’re meant to be, and the beauty is we’re never too old to do just that – that’s what I learned by racing Ironman and by giving a TED Talk. And that’s all I have to say, at least for now.