I’ve always believed that self-awareness and overall knowledge arrive from learning from the widest range of people possible.
Wherever I go in the world, I speak to people - even interview them in conversation. Everyone has a story to tell and different life experiences. This is knowledge sharing, and I’m hungry for these types of exchange. For me, the knowledge-pool can never be too wide or deep.
This will be one of the focuses of this Adventure Everything blog. I want to share the experiences I’ve had from meeting people.
People do fascinate me, and it’s also why I believe travel is so important. The wider you travel, the broader the depth of knowledge you will learn from people from a wide range of backgrounds.
It’s perhaps ironic, then, that the first person to feature on this blog comes from a place just a few minutes drive from my own home in Edinburgh.
I first met John Loughton in London last year. We were attending the US Embassy to get visas for our Exploring American Values Tour - along with a bunch of other talented and inspiring UK creatives (pic above outside White House).
It felt odd that John and I had a similar background, were from the same end of Edinburgh (roughly), were the same age and yet had never met.
I knew who he was: I remember seeing him 10 years ago on celebrity Big Brother (he wasn’t a celebrity, but entered as a ‘Hijack’ contestant), a show he ended up winning (pic below).
Over the course of our trip in the US, I got to know John pretty well. His stories are deep and fascinating, and his achievements vast.
I think the most impressive thing about John is his humility. He meets all these amazing people, from heads of state to company CEOs, but doesn’t forget his roots. He is just as engaged with grass roots activities, working with youth in Edinburgh’s troubled north, where he grew up.
Big Brother was a big moment in his life, and certainly changed his fortunes, but he’s had several life-changing experiences, such as being sent to Malawi in Africa as a teenager in a delegation with the Scottish Youth Parliament.
It’s stories like this he weaves into his mindset training. We went a run the other day - probably the only time I’d ran other than playing football many years ago. I didn’t believe I was physically or mentally able to do more than a single kilometre of distance, thanks largely to capability barriers I’d set in my own mind.
He taught me the power of mindset is taking back control, so that you can reset the abilities you believe you possess. In the event, from 1 kilometre I ended up running 10. If I could reset a physical limitation which I thought I had, on the spot, what else could be achieved through mindset?
Due to lack of stamina, heart palpitations/anxiety and general fitness shape, I never imagined I could run far at all. As we ran, John was able to tweak my thinking, resulting in a physical alteration in the distance I was able to run.
If John wasn’t there with me, would I have done it? Would I have even got out of bed? I’d say probably not.
Today John runs leadership-training firm Dare2Lead. I am usually sceptical of 'coaching' and self-professed ‘gurus’ - but through meeting John I truly understand the impact of someone showing you how to alter ‘micro-mindsets’ in various situations, and how much of a positive impact that can have on your life.
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