Archive for May, 2009

Who Are Your Heroes?

Heroes

It struck me recently that I’ve never really defined who my heroes are. Unsure if this is a good or a bad thing, I’ll have a crack at listing a few of them now.

But before I do, I just want to make a quick observation I have on the significance of a hero through the eyes of the beholder.

To put some perspective on this, I want to include a quote by Oscar Wilde of which I was recently reminded. He wrote that: “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation”.

The relevancy of this quote in relation to our heroes is pretty clear. If you define your hero, do you unwittingly replace your own hopes and dreams with those of your heroes?

It would seem so.

But that said, I have to say that I strongly disagree with this. Without getting too academic, I believe that admiration of success is a necessary ingredient in new success. In the same way that the evolution of language is based upon an existing set of definitions, personal success is based on an existing set of definitions as well. To put it one way, if we don’t know where we are in the world, how can we reach for the skies?

So, now that I’ve argued the relevancy of having heroes, I’ll have a go at listing mine in no particular order:

Heroes
  1. Ewan McGregor
  2. Richard Branson
  3. Barack Obama
  4. David Heinemeier Hansson
  5. Eric Cantona
  6. Sean Kelly
  7. Richard Feynman
  8. Billy Connolly

These are my heroes today. Tomorrow could be different, but for the cynics and elitists in the audience, I make absolutely no apology for any glaring omissions or vulgar inclusions they might think I’ve made. We all look at the world in or own way, no matter where our influences come from.

Change The World – Ignore Your Ego

Zero Ego. Zero Limits.

This is me. Age 4, having a picnic in the Phoenix Park with my family.

It’s the perfect day. Life is simple, anything is possible and the world is my oyster.

At that moment, I have no responsibilities, no worries, no debt, no issues, no unpaid invoices, no deadlines and no baggage. All I have is hope, energy and a desire to enjoy every day of my life.

I have no inhibitions, confidence is sky high and I truly believe I can do anything.

Yes, I’m naive, but that’s empowering. I’m too young to let silly preconceptions about ‘how the world works’ get in the way of my hopes and dreams. My potential is truly infinite.

That was me aged 4. Now I’m 26 and asking myself do I still feel like that?

The truth is, that I don’t.

So what changed?

Fear of Failure. And the Growth of an Ego

How come I don’t feel like that now? What has changed in my life? The answer is of course that I grew an ego. I became aware of what people thought of me and feared rejection from every area of my life.

An ego is a truly terrible thing. It debilitates us from achieving our real goals. It puts up barriers to innovation and prevents us from standing out and being different. Someone without ego has the power to change the world. It’s a strange phenomenon really. The person most likely to make a change is the person least likely to desire fame. And inversely the person most likely to desire fame is least likely to change the world.

Maybe that’s why we see so many ‘fake celebrities’ these days, famous for nothing except being famous. What happened to the real heroes?

The desire for popularity is a very complex beast and your ego drives it. It’s like a thirst that can never be quenched, and once you start drinking it, it’s very hard to stop.

Learning to Change

So, what can we do to reverse this? Should we ignore what others think and drive forward with our plans of success? Should we ignore the status quo and be the one to be different? Should we lose our fear of making a fool of ourselves?

Easier said than done.

But ironically, those that succeed in taking their ego out of the equation and losing their fear of failure are actually far more likely to be successful than those that don’t.

The trick is to try to make meaning, not wealth. I believe that wealth is a bi-product of doing something you love that others also want.

My mum always says: “do what you love and the money will come”. That’s one of my favourite pieces of advice. Another favourite is “stop trying to impress people and start being impressive”.

Now take those two key pieces of advice and I think you’ve got a recipe for success, and a road map to fulfilling the dreams you had when you were a kid. When nothing was impossible.

Be Inspired

The only thing left, is to be inspired. And you only have to look around you to get that. The web is teeming with people willing to take a chance, leave their egos behind and attempting to change the world in their own way.

This is what matters to me now.

Here’s a great video made by GrassHopper on what it means to change the world. [thanks Fin].

Tuesday Push – RevaHealth

Tuesday Push - Reva Health

The Tuesday Push is a bi-weekly cooperative effort by bloggers to help get the word out about the chosen web service in a co-ordinated way. This week it’s RevaHealth in the hot seat.

RevaHealth is a portal website for people who want to ‘find and compare health and cosmetic clinics anywhere’.

First Impressions

RevaHealth is a portal site, but it has a razor sharp focus on healthcare. and in particularly dental and cosmetic clinics. This is a good thing. Like I’ve said before, having a niche a focusing on it is crucially important on the web.

Overall the site has a deliberate purpose, helping you to find the right clinic. The homepage has a clear call to action and prompts users to search for the type of clinic they’re looking for in a specific geographical area.

The results are clear, informative and provide user contributed ratings on most of them.

The Test Run

I wanted to see how useful RevaHealth would be in helping me pick a suitable dentist in my area, so I took it for a test run. To start, I didn’t go to RevaHealth, I went to Google, and typed ‘Dublin Dentist‘ into the search box.

Hey presto! RevaHealth came up on the number one spot for those keywords and deep linked to their internal search results page for ‘Dublin Dentist’. – Someone’s been working hard on their SEO!

Once I arrived at the RevaHealth search results I picked the clinic with the best star rating (Smiles Dental Spa). From there I could see a lot more detailed information about the clinic. Things like:

  • a Google Map showing their location;
  • a detailed review of the clinic;
  • a gallery of photographs of the clinic;
  • a full price list of the services offered;
  • and their opening hours.

I wanted to compare this against the information on the Smiles Dental Spa website and amazingly they gave almost none of the same information over there. Not even their opening hours.

Summary

I think the guys behind RevaHealth are onto a good thing here. They’re providing easily accessible information, that’s community driven, in a niche area, that’s difficult to find anywhere else.

They’ve got a clear business model and are already earning revenues from advertising and corporate accounts.

Well done to Caelen and his team. I wish you guys the very best of luck with the business.