This past Sunday morning a three time world surfing champion, Mick Fanning, was nearly eaten by a great white shark during the finals of a major surf contest in South Africa. It was watched live via the web by hundreds of thousands of avid surfers including me and now by millions on YouTube.

The attack was frightening, ferocious and freaky. I know a bit about the shear panic of being stalked by a shark. Once at Rincon, California I was chased out of the water by an 8-foot shark. So scary I had to rinse out my wetsuit. In Samoa, I paddled to shore faster than a cartoon character when a tiger shark cruised by. As for the direct great white shark attack on Mick…I am so grateful that it ended without any injury. Amazing!

When Mick was interviewed a few minutes after he escaped he broke down in tears so grateful for his family, friends and life. Perhaps nothing is so clarifying about what’s important in life as a narrow escape from a violent death…or in my case a long, bumpy life with more than one sobering health scare caused by my uninsurable heart. My times of greatest fear and greatest discouragement have taught me the most about life.

Here are the life lessons that hit me hard watching Mick’s brush with physical obliteration:

  1. My deepest purpose is to love as big and as wisely as I can, and learn what I came here to learn…which is constantly emerging.
  2. Always live in daily balance with a sweet rhythm of love, work and play. (I have to do this in order to do #1.)
  3. Wake up each morning with a direct intention to improve someone else’s life that day.

Most of the people I coach and train have difficulty with number 2. But let me assure you it is possible to live a lifestyle of inner harmony and outer joy. It takes a powerful intention to do so and focused attention on the opportunities that will create the life rhythm you need. Millennial-age young people get the central importance of this. They have looked at the lives, stresses, and follies of their elders and want something more. And you know, at the core, nothing is more important to your inner integrity than # 2. It is the only way to live so that if you die unexpectedly, you will have no regrets.

Debbie and I are on a meditation and hiking vacation in the Tetons right now so that’s it for today.

will_tetons

Those are the spontaneous thoughts that flooded me as I watched the horror of a shark attack and took a few minutes to contemplate what life lessons I have learned that I want to hang on to.

Live your life so that you love your life.

Will

(Photo Credit: WSL & CNN)