The big question: WHY?
I was doing a presentation for a grade four class the other day at Elbow Valley Elementary School. I was having a hard time believing in what I was telling the kids. To be honest with you, I felt like a total fake. What the heck am I doing here, and what I am trying to impress upon these kids when I don't really know the first thing about going across a ocean in a 30 inch wide boat. I felt like a fool.
During our question and answer session, one of the kids asked me why I do these things - why I built a human powered vehicle and set a 24 hour distance record, and why I am willing to face the risks to break the 43 day Atlantic crossing record in a tiny human powered boat.
He stumped me.
I couldn't answer his question. I knew the answer of course, but that answer had no words - none of my immediate thoughts about the simple and quite obvious question "why" would translate to English. I just stood there for a moment, smiled and said "well, there is an old saying and it is: if you have to ask the question, then you wouldn't understand the answer". The boy smiled and immediately understood.
Suddenly, I felt a bit less like a fool.
Obviously, the answer to "why" isn't simple. If early adventurers weren't willing to explore what lay across the ocean, we wouldn't be living here in North America and the earth would still be flat. We need adventurers - in some way, they advance the human race. Some could argue that a circumnavigating Antarctica in a row boat (see Olly Hicks) isn't doing anything to further our greater cause, but I am certain that Christopher Columbus was using technology and techniques that were developed by others who had less ambitious goals. Or perhaps I should say, had equally ambitious goals, but relative to a different time.
And then, there are the personal reasons. To push our boundaries and explore what we are made of, to test and expand our personal limits, and to motivate and inspire others to do the same. When you think you can accomplish something difficult, your confidence develops from what others before you have achieved. We feed on inspiration from our brothers and sisters in the human family. I believe it is our duty to make deposits to the inspiration bank when, where and however we can.
After the presentation, we filmed some kids chanting "Human Power Rocks!!!" to the video camera. I realized that if you want to make a difference in the world - you have to get people to listen to you. Breaking world records and ocean crossing expeditions give you a stage. No kid wants to be lectured about the obesity epidemic and physical inactivity from some grownup with a science degree. The speaker has to be someone they respect with a message they might be able to relate to. I'm still working on the message delivery, but I think it's getting better.
Have a fantastic week and if you get the chance, don't forget to make a deposit to the bank of inspiration.
About Greg Kolodziejzyk:
Greg Kolodziejzyk is a Motivational Speaker , and successful software entrepreneur who holds 2 Guinness world records for the most distance travelled by human power in one day on both land and on water. Greg has also completed over a dozen Ironman triathlons including qualifying for and competing at Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.
Greg's next project is something that has never been done before. He plans on crossing the Pacific ocean from Canada to Hawaii under his own power in a custom made, 24 foot long x 3 foot wide completely encapsulated pedal powered boat.
Greg's motivational speech titled "Bold!" is an impactful commentary about the kind of attitude that it takes to accomplish a dream. Greg has lived his life by the words of German Poet Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe "What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it, for Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." Greg's spirit is contagious and his message is vital.