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Is success about good-looks, intelligence, talent or luck? Think again…

“99% of those individuals who achieve their goals do so not because they are especially talented, intelligent, good-looking or even lucky, but rather because they find the courage and guts to act in pursuit of their dreams and persist against setbacks.” [1]

I don’t know where Randel got this statistic from or whether it’s reliable, but it certainly is useful. Looks, talent, intelligence all have a big role to play in success, but the point Randel makes is that even if you have all these things, if you don’t have the courage to use them then they are worthless.

Even if you’ve been dealt the best hand of cards anyone could hope for, if you don’t bother to play them you’ll never going to win.

So short and to the point: dream, act, persist, and then dream some more…



[1] Jim Randel The Skinny on Willpower: How to Develop Self Discipline


Did I really read this? Yes. God knows I need self-discipline, especially when it comes to chocolate.

All it takes is 10,000 hours

They say it takes 10,000 hours to be a master at something. Who are the They? Not sure, but They know… ok?

After my last post about a human life equating to up to one million hours on earth, and pondering how many hours of that we waste in traffic, it seems somewhat appropriate to follow it up by asking how many hours we spend doing the things we actually want to do?

How many hours do you spend making love? Being creative? Working on projects that excite you? Developing your skills to become a master of something?

There are 8765 hours in a year. Assuming you spend a third of that sleeping and eating, you could be a master of something in 2 years. But add social commitments, trips to the gym, work etc etc… well 10,000 hours may end up being spread over an entire lifetime.

To give you some more precise numbers….

If you treat your skill as if a full time job, it’ll take more like 5.2 years.

10,000 / 8 = 1,250 working days
1,250 / 5 = 250 working weeks
250 / 48 = 5.2 working years

If you’re trying to fit in a full-time, or even a part-time job, on top of trying to master your skill, it will take a lot longer…

If you invest 3 hours per week it will take you 64 years!

10,000/ (3*52) = 64 years

A friend recently advised me to “choose something, anything, but ONE thing, and kick ass at it.” In a world of 7 billion people where to get anywhere you really do need to master something – be it a skill, a niche business or a niche role in someone else’s – you need to get good at something. Getting really really good at one thing is more highly rewarded than being pretty good at many things…

What’s your “one thing”? How many hours, years, decades do you have till you’ll be a master?

I think my “one thing” is writing, that’s what I really love doing. But what kind of writing? As the eclectic nature of this blog shows, I haven’t really chosen that “one thing” to write about yet. I probably should work at getting really good at writing on something more specific, for a specific audience.

10,000 hours out of 1 million hours – it doesn’t sound like much.

I turn 30 this year = I’ve already used up 260,000 of my hours. 740,000 hours remaining. And that damn clock – it never stops ticking!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
–- Mark Twain

Note: I took this pic in Jervis Bay a couple of weeks ago. Drinking beer on a catamaran watching pelicans float by may not be time mastering a skill, but it does seem to pause the clock.

Advice for Aspiring Writers

“Advice? I don’t have advice,” says Alan Watts, “Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.”

Want to listen to more from Alan Watts, start here with some clips animated by Trey Parker & Matt Stone (who did South Park):


Unfortunately I’m not one of those lucky ones. Hence I keep writing………

My inspirations

“Good novels are written by people who are not frightened.” George Orwell.

Some of the most inspiring people in my life:

Nicole Bennett

My sister is following her heart and her passion for fashion and fair trade. Check out her designs: ENOUGH by Nicole Bennett and place an order to support the cause!







Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees

Director of Sydney Peace Foundation, Founder of the Centre of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, social commentator and dear friend.





Rachel Carroll

My South American travel amiga, great great friend, and VERY talented Australian artist.


The Art Tree

All the artists of “The Art Tree” – a Sydney Northern Beaches art group Rachel Carroll runs.

Leigh Stark

Blogger, photographer & the creator of this website. Thank you so much! &

90 day geisha

Chelsea Haywood

Author and my wonderful Canadian friend from Tokyo. Her first book “90-Day Geisha” was released 2008 in Australia, 2009 Holland and Dec 2009 will be released in New York – check it out – it rocks!!!

ana clara veiga

Ana Clara Veiga

Once my roommate in Japan, Ana Clara is a very successful Brazilian model now married to a beautiful Japanese boy and now with her own fashion label Guara in Japan.


Sawan Yawnghwe

A very successful Canadian artist based in Panzano – Florence, Italy. My distant friend.



Rory O’Donoghue

My mum’s partner, a musician and actor. His most famous role was Skinny Arthur in the Aunty Jack Show – if you haven’t seen this then you MUST check it out on youtube – it is VERY creative and a lot of fun! &

Not my close friends… but some great sources of inspiration – mainly through their words, auras, talent & beauty (inside & out):

Johan Galtung – an incredible thinker and one of the key founders of my discipline: Peace and Conflict Studies. AMAZING theories on politics, peace and transcending perceived limitations with a little creativity.


Shanteram is the best book I’ve ever read – and I’m only half way… (it is VERY long!)


Some parts a little indulgent, but on the whole very inspiring. My dream is for my book to be able to inspire others as Eat Pray Love has done for many women around the world.

conversations with god

Conversations with God made everything make sense to me. A FANTASTIC book for anyone confusted about life.

deepak chopra

Deepak Chopra is so great. I love listening to his audio books – a break from tiresome uni readings.

Jason Mraz… ahhhh my favourite is I’m Yours… I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. And the lyrics for Life is Wonderful…. the greatest lyrics ever, in my opinion.jason_mraz6


Alicia Keys – well… no words can describe.  Superwoman again great lyrics… brings tears to my eyes but simultaneously makes me feel a strong power. Incredible girl.


Julie Delphy is one talented creation – singing, acting, directing, … she does everything and does it well. Inspirational to say the least. Before Sunrise is one of my fav movies ever.

Jim Sturgess

I have a major crush on Jim Sturgess – ever since Across The Universe – and watching the behind the scenes intensified this crush. His voice. His smile. His humour. His spirit. His eyes……………. mmmmm mmmm.


The Beautiful Girls have some of the best lyrics out there – my favourite being Cash Money that says It’s funny how many times they prove that the only true fortune you can save, is the Truth.”

If you haven’t heard them get onto iTunes now!

And Johnny Depp. No explanation necessary.

I draw a lot of inspiration from the beauty of nature, and from my own crazy experiences. I am particularly inspired by the way that over and over again my seemingly most unlikely dreams have come true (modeling, photography, pilates, writing, travel…..) This gives me confidence about my new dreams – no matter how out-of-reach they might seem. The next one being the growth of this blog (please recommend to others if you like it), a PhD, a best-selling book… and world peace.

Finally, I can’t talk about inspiration without mentioning my mum, my dad, my sisters, extended family, and my friends through from school to uni to various jobs to travel and all the random encounters in between – you are my biggest inspiration. Thank you for your ongoing support and unconditional love. 

Last but definitely not least, my late Opa who maintained his health and sense of humour right till the end. Ask him how he is and he would cheerfully sing, “STILL ALIVE!!!” Life is a gift I too am eternally grateful for.

What I learned most from Opa is that even 100-years passes in a flash — so don’t waste a moment of it. If you’re unhappy then do something about it. The only place happiness is found is now. Seize opportunities, leave no space for regret.

As Hippocrates said, “Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience misleading, judgment difficult.”

So… enjoy this life you are experiencing, be thankful for each new day, and live each and every moment to its potential.


PS. This page is still in progress and will (hopefully) continue to be… as inspiring people continue to enter my life.