Why I’m not around today and what we can learn from it

HTWB death TomToday (September 20th) we are celebrating Grandpa’s life and putting him to rest. He (my father-in-law) passed away earlier this month, peacefully, aged 97. He had a wonderful life.

When you look at people like him it makes you think how so many of us just haven’t lived our lives to the max.  He was a highly qualified civil engineer who went out to east Africa in the 1940s, building dams and other major structures to help east African countries – especially Kenya and Tanzania – to benefit from their resources and grow as cultures and economies.

Life in Africa in those days was, to put it mildly, “rough and ready.” So there are many stories about Grandpa that would curl your hair, but the one that really resonates with me, is this one…

When Grandpa was in his mid-70s he and my step-mum-in-law were on a cruise somewhere exotic along the east African coast … a group of young lads decided to go SCUBA diving.

Grandpa showed interest in their endeavours and in return, they sneeringly suggested he join them.

“I’d be delighted to,” said Grandpa.

“OK, pops,” said the lads. “Better fix yourself up with your SCUBA tanks here.”

“Tanks?” said Grandpa. “No need.”

What the young pretenders didn’t know…

HTWB diverGrandpa had been in the Special Boat Service during WW2 and had been one of the best British Navy divers ever.

Given that SCUBA systems were still in their relative infancy during the WW2 years, his reluctance to take them seriously later on was understandable.

So whereas the young pretenders dove with tanks, Grandpa dove without.

And after Grandpa had spent several minutes at a very low depth without tanks, his co-divers were beginning to wonder what had happened to him. They were already back up and on the inflatable boat when Grandpa’s white-haired head popped up out of the water and grinned at them.

Grandpa could have floated another boat on all the beers the young lads wanted to buy him in sheer admiration.

A life and/or business lesson here?

What this story about Grandpa illustrates to me is that if you’re genuinely strong and believe in yourself, you don’t necessarily need a whole pile of technology to help you do what you want to. What matters more are drive, determination and sheer grit.

What does Grandpa’s story suggest to you?

While you’re here, don’t forget to stop by my Bookshop…books and eBooks to help you write better – and to give to friends and family…

photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc
photo credit: tata_aka_T via photopin cc

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