The best book of the year I’ve read to date is by Richard Reed, founder of Innocent, who has described his “encounters with remarkable people and their most valuable advice” in his book, “If I could tell you just one thing…”
The book features insights from people as diverse as President Bill Clinton, Sir David Attenborough, Bear Grylls and Andy Murray but I’d like to highlight this morning the “one piece of advice” from Terry Waite.
Almost 20 years ago I visited Beirut for the first time, shortly after the war had ended but before the incredible reconstruction of this most remarkable city had commenced in earnest. Perhaps somewhat foolishly on reflection, I, together with four close friends, went into the area controlled by the Hezbollah and saw some of the cells where Brian Keenan, John McCarthy and Terry Waite had been held hostage for five years.
The checkpoints we went through were frightening to say the least, as masked men with AK47’s demanded to see our passports, (one of my mates is Australian and we had a very awkward moment when a young “soldier” mistakenly thought he was American), but this was mild compared with seeing first hand the conditions these men were kept captive in, blindfolded and chained to a wall for half a decade with nothing to relieve the boredom, no books, pen or paper allowed. This enforced solitude is something, thankfully, only a very few people experience and therefore what they have to say about it I feel is particularly interesting.
When Richard Reed asked Terry Waite for his “best advice on how to approach life” he replied:
“It’s the same lesson I learnt in that cell. What you have to do is live for the day, you have to say, now is life, this very moment. It’s not tomorrow, it’s not yesterday, it’s now, so you have to live it as fully as you can. Invest in every day.”
I’m running a workshop next month based on my new book, “Indivisible Life” that highlights the importance of living in the moment, (so you can experience this without being incarcerated for five years in a windowless cell), there are a very few spaces available so let me know if you’re interested in attending.