Alastair Humphreys is an English cyclist, adventurer, author, motivational speaker, blogger, film maker, photographer and a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. Whilst at University, he cycled from Pakistan to China, Land’s End to John O’Groats, Turkey to Italy, Mexico to Panama and across South America. Since graduating, Alistair has cycled round the world for 4 years, raced a yacht across the Atlantic Ocean, canoed 500 miles down the Yukon River and walked the length of the holy Kaveri River in India.
The Difference Between good And Great | Being brave enough to take risks and risk ridicule and failure.
Perceiving mediocrity to be the worst possible thing, worse even than failing (which at least gives you the chance of closure and time to begin something new…)
My Key Talent | THE VITAL THING to say here is that I have no special talent or strength. I am a normal person. Anyone could do the adventures I have done. The only difference, perhaps, is that I persuaded myself to BEGIN even when I was nervous. Beginning and persevering are key.
The Principles I Live By | Work hard but not too hard. Have fun. Be original. Cajole yourself to do things you find difficult and daunting: you might well surprise yourself. Be kind. Read a lot. Look after your body – it’s the most important tool you have.
Lessons I’ve Learnt | BEGIN! Think Big, Dream Big, but then chase down the first tiny little steps on the road towards your big dream. Don’t think that because you are not an expert you cannot do X. Think about the first tiny step that you CAN manage right now that will set you slowly on the road to where you want to go.
Dealing With Doubt | When I set off to cycle round the world I was convinced I would fail. But I persuaded myself to at least begin. It is better to begin and then to fail than it is to not even begin due to nerves or uncertainty. You’ll never know unless you try. Give it a go! You might surprise yourself…
Performing At My Peak | I don’t! And I don’t think any real people do this. Try your best, but accept that there are ups and downs in life. Acknowledge it and accept it. Sleep when you are tired. Find time to run and get into the wild. Read books. Do nothing. Let your brain tick over. And then when you do work, work very hard and efficiently! It’s about quality of work not quantity.
Resources I’ve Used | TED talks online, Economist magazine, Banff Mountain Film Festival winners, Seth Godin’s blog.
On Building Wealth | Think hard about how you define ‘rich’ and ‘wealth’. Is it amount of happiness? Quantity of new experiences? Good deeds done? Good stuff left behind? Or is it fat piles of cash? There’s no right answer, but it’s important to be clear of your own right answer.
My Favourite Book | As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee