Rob Caskie shares his Stories of human trials and triumphs never go out of vogue, and mesmerising storyteller extraordinaire Rob Caskie, with his walking stick and trademark shorts, brings them alive like no other.
Often in the settings where such stories unfolded, in South Africa and abroad.
In a world of instant gratification, the art of a powerfully told story belongs to few and relies on he who stirs the imagination. Most interested in how people behave when challenged and under pressure, he believes we only reveal our true strength in adversity – and he shows audiences how they can draw on this to thrive in uncertain times.
What does success mean to you? Has your definition of it changed over the years and if so, why? | Definition of success has changed over years. In younger years, I wanted to be a hero – with 7 billion people, little chance of that! With passing years any desire for fame has receded completely. Definition of success now a healthy balance between work, play/recreation and rest. To have enough financially to live comfortably and be able to assist others. I do NOT want it recorded on my headstone that I wished I had spent more time at work!
What drives you? | I am driven to do more with Life than the generation before mine. I am driven to be environmentally and socially aware. My definition of success in question 1 gives me plenty to strive for daily.
Where do you think your ‘MAGIC’ comes from? | My magic, I believe, comes from considerable Life experience (much of it unhappy, with the loss of my parents at an early age), limited resources, extensive travels, being unafraid of risk, seizing opportunities, and a deep interest in human beings. There is magic in entertaining people through storytelling. My magic, if any, would be very difficult to describe or quantify.
What is one talent or strength of yours, which has been critical to your success? | Confidence, and the ability to interact well with people.
What do you believe are the characteristics, actions, habits and behaviors that you both have and use, that have helped you achieve what you have been able to achieve? | A very good memory, humility, ability to listen and learn, good work ethic, constant desire to improve my stories and presentation, punctuality and the confidence to do it “my way” rather than mimicking somebody else.
When you get / got STUCK, what caused it and how did you get going again? | Indecision or hesitation has caused us to get stuck on occasions. With age/experience, seizing opportunities not as easy as it was 20 years ago. The longest, darkest hour is only 60 minutes. Remaining stuck is not an option! Being self-employed forces one to respond swiftly. Evaluating priorities, for me, usually solves these situations, and ensures they don’t keep recurring.
What are the principles and values that you believe are important to live by? | Honesty, integrity and transparency. In our industry, reputations are built over years and smashed in seconds. Be as good as your word (in 13 years of intensive UK lecture tours, we have never once entered into a contract), never over-promise and under-deliver. Be authentic, always. Communicate with clients, don’t leave them hanging or guessing.
What is your biggest weakness? | Establishing my worth, still cannot believe people will pay me to tell a story. Afraid to push my rates up.
What are you most afraid of right now? | That our business may not survive Lock-down and beyond.
How do you ensure you are always feeling energised and performing at your peak? | Try to get enough rest and exercise. Regular mountain bike rides are a wonderful time to be creative, and clear the noise from one’s mind. Step up to the responsibility of performing for an audience – it is a show/performance.
As a high performer have you ever had to struggle with happiness and contentment? | Absolutely. When is enough, enough? If one is constantly wanting to improve one’s offering, surely one can never be fully content with it? I think most human beings struggle with being completely happy with what they have – difficult aspect of human nature. Desiderata is often referred to in these instances, for me.
What is the best advice you have ever received? | Essentially I am a loner, and very happy with my own company. Storytelling/performing is not my usual comfort zone. I have a large Bonsai tree collection.