I stumbled across this Jacques Cousteau quote today:
“When one man, for whatever reason, has an opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.” – from “Diving for Sunken Treasure” by Jacques Yves Cousteau
Although I don’t really feel the need to defend myself, I want to say that I don’t like to sell who I am. I like to let those who know me discover who I am…by ‘peeling back the layers of the onion’ as an old friend once said. As someone who has spent much of my life being humble and/or lying quietly in the shadows, it’s a strange thing to be putting myself out here on the Inter-webs for all to see, even if I’m only giving a peek. The anonymity is liberating, and I’m still reserved at heart, but a passion for raw experiences has drawn me out of my shell. I am just an average guy, but for so many reasons there is no doubt that I have led an extraordinary life.
I’ve had respect and appreciation for Jacques since I feigned sickness as a child (so I could stay home from school and follow the travels of the Calypso). At my last job I was sent to a conference where I heard Jacques son Jean-Michele talk about how important it is to save our oceans. It made me wonder why I was sitting in a conference room in Las Vegas. Even though Jean opened up a resort in the Fiji islands and used the Cousteau name against his fathers wishes (among other things), I can’t blame a man for trying to make a dollar. So, I’m still giving Jean-Michele a plug for putting effort into the Ocean Futures organization that I heard him pander for. Although the controversy makes me wonder if business has mixed with cause, I’m in no position to judge what’s in his heart. If nothing else his organization appears to be doing good things and I think he is genuinely concerned with protecting the oceans of the world…as we all should be.
I’ve always been drawn to the idea of rising above mediocrity, breaking the mold, taking chances, and doing great things. I will never know how much influence Jacques may have had on my life (direct from quotes like the above, or indirectly from suggestions which permeated throughout the show, or perhaps I was looking more for justification than influence), but I ultimately admire him as a successful innovator. I believe that my experiences to date have been like the gathering of raw ingredients and exotic spices. I can say now that I have collected enough supplies to create something delicious for others to enjoy. Time will tell whether or not I am a good chef, but shame on me if I let anything rot on the shelf. Although I know I have lived an extraordinary life filled with many incredibly good and bad experiences, I feel like I am just getting started. Call me a dreamer, but I will never be satisfied unless I aim for something great. Success is never guaranteed, but I can’t sleep quietly unless I give it my best. Since it seems that following my folly is what I’d regret not doing in ten years, do I really have any other choice?