This blog is highly personal, makes no attempt at being politically correct, will occasionaly offend your sensibility, and certainly does not represent the opinions of the people I work with or for.
Motivation, and being what you want to be
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The most intense fight a human will ever have is between the person they are and the person they are capable of becoming.

I was recently talking to a friend who suddenly said something that both shocked me and saddened me a lot. She was referring to a guy she knows and said "This guy has the life I wish I had". She is a girl not really capable of social interactions, mostly frustrated, whose favourite way to deal with daily frustrations is to become aggressive (or passive aggressive), who've never been in a non abusive relationship (even her current one is, without her realising it) and who always feels having to compare her intelligence with others.

I didn't give much thoughts to it, but few days later I realised that there is nobody that I would like to have the life of. That, in essence, I already have the life I wish I had.

This doesn't mean that my life has always been easy; but, interestingly, the difficult moments have not been that difficult to me. Not because they were not difficult, but because I love challenges and each challenge along the way was an opportunity for me to become stronger, better and learn something in the process.

Even the really hard times, like finding myself in Paris in 2002, freshly graduated from my (first) Masters, outside in the cold, in the middle of the night, with no money, no place to stay, my luggage with me, when somebody, few days later, said "Why don't you go the UK, I know somebody there looking for people like you". I didn't know English at the time, but I said yes, because my situation was so bad, it just could not get any worse, so I thought that I might as well go, ... never to look back again.

I wasn't aware of my strength for a long time, not even at that time, in fact not before I started my career, in London. I remember on my first day on a trading floor in the City, few days after leaving Birmingham university campus (where I was literally reborn and departed from my French former life and identity), after, in the end, way too many years spent at School, having received the best education this time of human history could offer me, after having learnt and somehow heard of most accumulated human knowledge, but totally unprepared to operate in a large room with 800 other people (and 5,000 computer screens); and I remember telling myself "Pascal, if you survive just one week here, you can do anything in your life!"

In total, I spent 5 years on trading floors.

During my career I get to be known as intelligent (which most people around me were) but also totally fearless. Fearlessness together with my ability to work and focus continuously, was my distinguishing feature. This particular feature have been awaken, nurtured and strengthened inside me by my two first bosses. A guy called Wayne and a woman called Pamela. Those are really the two most influential people of my life, and I feel extremely lucky that their effect on me has been so deep that it became permanent.

That being said, I still remember when I was a kid something that maybe opened a door in my mind. A character of a cartoon I was watching was told that somebody was held prisoner in a castle owned by a strong and very bad guy; that of all the warriors that had gone there to rescue the prisoner none had returned. The character looked at the castle, stayed silent for a moment and said "Well, I guess I'll be the first one then..."

This moment stayed with me as one of the defining moments of my life, because I thought: "Maybe it's actually that easy, in fact. Fears and doubts are the one thing people impose on themselves and that is mostly what makes them fail." Being potentially fearless in my mind started at that moment, but I had to wait to meet two people known for their fearlessness, two people that I deeply admired, for it to start expressing itself inside me and start shaping my life.

Coming back to my friend, I was explaining to her that it's easy for me to decide things and be them or go get them. I never saw my weaknesses as a part of me, and I never tried to accommodate them. Every time I identify one I go after it and do whatever I have to do to overcome it. I am not any one of my states, but the thing that defines what is the best next state I should be in, and work at getting there. This, in part, explains why I have never lost (never been fired from) a job; and maybe also explains why I never failed a face to face interview. With one exception (where instead of being given the job I was given a gift) I have always been offered a job after each of the numerous interview I attended over the past 10 years. It quite amuses me that people invite to interviews because of my skills but decide to keep me on the basis of my personality, which if you think about it is the way it actually should work...

In the below video, a coach asks a player "Give me your best, your absolute best."

If life is a task, so few people give their absolute best, the others are just counting the days down until they die, mostly wasted in stupid mating drama nonsense, jobs they don't really like (and which doesn't give them any real satisfaction) or finding reasons to justify why they don't have the life (or skills) they really want. On our last breath we all will be asking ourselves "What would life had been if I had given my absolute best ?". Some will have the answer, the other won't.

Choose your side.








... and because motivation comes in all shapes and sizes :)



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