Just seems like yesterday that we were in Florence at my gloriously extravagant 40th birthday party. 8 course dinner, the three tenors, fireworks and being shut down by the Carabinieri – I mean a party isn’t a party unless the coppers pull the plug now is it?
And it’s not like I’ve mucked around in those 50 years – Trip Adviser says I have travelled 2.6million kms but I know it’s a lot more and visited 154 of the 196 countries in the world.
I’ve flown planes, jumped out of perfectly good planes, and been in 4 plane crashes. I’ve been over, under, around and through some of the greatest places on the planet – creepiest experience – inside the pyramid of Cheops.
I’ve met world leaders, funny guys and gals, super stars (and half the time didn’t recognize them), amazing people, despicable people, and have shared the stage with some of the best speakers in the world – Tony Robbins, Richard Branson, Denis Waitley, and good old (President elect none the less!) Donald Trump.
Top 10 Experiences in my Life
- Getting my Wings
- Grand Casino, Monte Carlo, Ferrari, the most beautiful girl in the world
- Helping my Dad beat Cancer
- Speaking to 18,000 people at Homebush
- Listening to the 16mm camera tick over for the first time on my first film set
- Flying under the Golden Gate Bridge
- Swimming at the edge of Victoria Falls
- New Year’s Eve – Rio de Janeiro – Copa Cabaña Palace
- 40th Birthday Party – Florence
- One day in Paris
And yet all of that seems so far away now, like someone else’s story, like a good movie I’ve watched.
As I rebuild my life from ground zero it’s not easy to reflect on what I would do differently or better.
I know I would have stopped many times at many points to change my career to “Film Maker” instead of pursuing some strange interest I had at the time. There are so many times this could have happened but none more obvious than soon after we bought our Financial Services License and had to decide what to do with it (apart from my speaking).
The answer young Peter was “Nothing, do nothing! Take the millions you were earning a year from speaking and change careers. Do it now. Save yourself 16 years of pain, suffering and heartache trying to make other people happy (most notably your dead father!).” Oh, what a conversation that would have been. Would I have even listened?
Top 10 Things I’ve Learnt
- Now is the best time to pursue your dream – you will never be more ready. All overnight success takes 15 years. Nothing good comes quickly. It takes work, learning, growth, understanding, practice, mistakes, recovery, connections, reputation, luck and hard work. So start now. And know that nothing is more special than anything else. I once met a group of strippers who were holidaying on my Island. One night, over dinner one remarked “You must look down on us?” My response was “Hey, I’m in Financial Services, from where I am, we look UP at you!”. You never know where your life and love will take you. As a speaker, something I genuinely loved doing but still was not my dream, I traveled far and wide and met some amazing people.
- Money, like the friends who come with it, is fleeting, enjoy it but don’t depend on it. I have been up and I have been down, rich and poor. Undoubtedly rich is better. It’s more fun, it’s more freedom, it opens doors, gets you to where you need to go in style, creates security, respect, and the ability to influence. And it makes you feel more confident. When your bank account has $3 in it, it’s hard to convince someone of the merit of your ideas. And even my version of poverty is better than most people’s idea of every day. So money is good, but don’t let it define you. I know a lot of people who have money who are dicks. I go along for the ride but they are not good people. And I had a lot of pretty, interesting and fun “friends” when I had a lot of money. You soon learn they are just there for the good times and that’s ok too. If you’re a good person without money, you’ll be a good person with it.
- Love hard, love long and love young. Forget about careers, and all that BS, if you want children have them as soon as you can. Unless the person you love now is an arsehole you’re probably not going to do much better. You will get better, so do that now. Take them with you. Don’t hold onto hurts and slights and silly little things. You’ll be happier when you make it part of your mission to make your partner happy too. Some people are there to suck the life out of you, I’ve dated a few, but most people just want to love and be loved. Make it your minimum mission to do that and expect it in return. And sort out sex as soon as you can. It’s fun, it’s healthy and it’s good for you (second only to vegetables I hear). If something bad has happened to you here, get help as soon as you can. You are not to blame. You never were. Free yourself of someone else’s demons and learn to live and love again.
- “Be Bold and Mighty Forces Will Come to Your Aid” – Basil King. The Universe demands greatness of us. Fear will always be there. It can only be overcome by action. Why be meek when you can be bold? And the Universe rewards boldness with support, encouragement, resources, and guidance. Your God loves you and wants you to be all you can be. Steel yourself, step out, step up. There has never been a time when I have committed to a course of action and everything I have needed has not turned up, often in miraculous and amazing ways. Problem is most people die quietly living their mediocre lives. Please don’t be one of them. You were destined for so much more.
- Fear of money is the ultimate blocker of wealth. Investing is easy. Put aside a minimum of 10% of everything you earn. Buy something of value – a house or shares, and hold on to them. Keep buying them whenever you can. Do that and you will be “wealthy” in about 15 years. Nothing more to it. And yet few people take the leap. They “don’t know where to start”. Just start. They read books, and go to seminars and still don’t do anything. Money is not scary. It’s plastic. Yes, there are shysters always at the ready to part you from your hard-earned. Simply don’t listen to them. Nobody needs to come between you and your money. Save 10%, buy assets, hold them. It takes time – all good things do but it’s easy and in no way should be feared.
- You have enough pain of your own. Please don’t take on anyone else’s and if you have, get rid of it as soon as you can. The first pain you are likely to take on is your parent’s. They have the best intentions for you but they are not you. They are clouded by their own judgments and values and prejudices. My father was a bank manager – he wanted for me a life of stability, admiration, community service, and rational thinking. And yet I am uniquely unqualified for all of those things. I took on his pain and for 30 years tried to heal him and me of it. Doesn’t work. You can’t heal someone else, especially after they are dead. Let it go. Get on with your own life. My friends used to joke about my 72 step plans to get a girlfriend. This I learnt from my mother’s pain. A girl had to be wooed. A girl had to be respected, deferred to, won over. For years I followed this pain, bought girl’s flowers, took them out to dinner, paid for everything. And the usual outcome of that? Friend zone. I once dated a nasty, nasty girl who just happened to be spectacular. One night after dinner she asked me why I was such a nice boy (when it obviously wasn’t getting me what I wanted). I said, “My mum taught me.” “Yes”, she replied, “But she never taught you how to get laid.” So true. It’s easy to isolate our parents but we can also take on the pain of our family, our partners, our boss and work mates and our children. Fit your own mask first.
- Ask for help! You will never know who you can rely on until you really need them. Fact is I didn’t really need anything or any real help from anyone in my life (who wasn’t on payroll) until I was 47. And even then, I didn’t know how or who to ask for help. Eventually I just wrote an email and sent it out to everyone I considered my friend and I was amazed by the response. Some people who I never expected stepped up and stepped up big time. Others, who I really expected would be there for me, people I had helped in their lives and career, their businesses and their personal problems ran for the hills. Some of my friends wanted to help but didn’t know how so stayed silent. I had to learn how to ask them. And my friends know now that I needed them, and they have the satisfaction of knowing they looked after me when I needed it most, and they know that they will keep hearing from me for a while because film making is an expensive and lonely thing to do! LOL Ask wide, don’t place too great a burden on anyone, no matter their resources, be gracious when refused and grateful when accepted.
- The secret to happiness is being able to accept the paradoxes in our lives. As we get older I have noticed that I have from time to time become more rigid in my thinking. This didactic methodology is a happiness blocker. Nothing ever really is black and white and thinking this way is an invitation to hypocrisy and compromise when life fails to meet those exacting standards. In order for us to be happy we are frequently called upon to accept two opposing concepts as simultaneously being true. I have failed and yet I am not a failure. I am weak and yet I am strong. I hate you right now but more than anything I want you to love me. I do look fat in this dress but that’s not the question I am asking. Life is constantly surprising us, often unpleasantly. How we respond to those surprises largely determines how happy we are. It is easy when the shit starts piling up to give in to the luxury of bitterness. And yet to rely on ourselves, to accept what is given to us, and to bounce back without a lot of external input determines how and what we take from life’s events. You can be right or you can be happy – your choice.
- Every decision in our life takes us towards or away from our best and highest self. There is a power in decision that we are rarely taught. So much so, one of my most successful friends confided in me that if he ever could not make a decision he would simply flip a coin because making the decision was more important that what the decision was. Even though freedom of choice is supposedly one of our most powerful drivers we can only ever make a choice within our known model of the world. We can never choose what we do not know and therefore real choice is never possible. And frankly, if you do not know now, no amount of thinking about it, planning for it and researching it will help. Sure, do your due diligence, prepare to the best of your ability, but you’ll never see the black swan until that stupid bird hits you in the face. So make the decision. The worst that can happen is that it turns out to be wrong. And it’s rare that wrong cannot be fixed. Make choices that move you forward, provide long term satisfaction, provide personal power, growth, empowerment and self-love, or not, but know that’s a choice too. Knowledge is not power, action is. And the precursor to every action is a decision. So decide. Listen for feedback and keep deciding.
- Life is there to be taken, it is not given. I have been at the receiving end of some quite magnificent generosity. I have had successful, wealthy, intelligent and entertaining friends and the experiences I have had with those people have been nothing short of spectacular. But, and this is important, they have all pailed into insignificance compared to the successes I have achieved myself. Even the smallest of victories tastes better at your own table. So, even if you are winning in the support of another, take your victories when they are given and use it to find your own hero’s path. I have triumphantly stood at the top of mountains and I have laid crying in the bottom of the deepest ditches on earth, but it is all of my own making. Go get ‘em tiger. It won’t come to you!
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.
Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.
The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.
Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.
We are not held back by the love we didn’t receive in the past, but by the love we’re not extending in the present.
In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.
We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what’s wrong in your life, or you can focus on what’s right.
Maturity includes the recognition that no one is going to see anything in us that we don’t see in ourselves. Stop waiting for a producer. Produce yourself.
If I choose to bless another person, I will always end up feeling more blessed.
We receive His peace when we ask Him for it. We keep His peace by extending it to others. Those are the keys and there are no others.
- Marianne Williamson
I have leant a lot about myself this year. Not all of it good. But all of it important. I have, for the first time, put myself under that unique pressure of “the artist” and I have not always reacted as well as I would have liked. But you know what? There’s time for that later. For now, at least I am on the playing field of the game I want to play instead of sitting in the grandstand watching, hoping and commentating. I am playing.
Don’t let anyone tell you there is something good about getting older. There is not. It sucks. I don’t need more wisdom, I want more time. I will go kicking and screaming out of this life, that’s for sure. I will not give up easily. And death, when it comes for me better come hard because I will never be ready.
Another of my all-time favourite quotes is “a person rarely regrets what they have done but often regrets what they have not.” I know this is true in my life. My Top 10 regrets are mostly about failing to act. So that’s a promise to myself too. To live in the moment, to act when I know I should and sometimes even when I shouldn’t.
So look out, I’m coming through! God help those who stand in my way.
Happy birthday to me. May there be many more.
Love, life, and happiness to you.
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