Life lessons learned in Las Vegas tragedy
On 1st October 2017, Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of people enjoying the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas strip. Having been minutes away from heading out to the strip, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on life, business and what we (including you) can learn from my experience.
I was very anxious about writing a piece on the subject, as I didn’t want people to think that I was being insensitive or trying to profit from this dreadful event.
Instead, I want to put my career aside for a minute and share my experience on that unforgettable night over in Vegas. Hopefully, it’ll make you stop what you’re doing at work, remind you of a few harsh truths and help you make a positive change today.
Debit cards and weddings
Either side of the tragedy, my friend Chris and I still managed to spend a cosmic amount of cash and drink a year’s worth of alcohol in seven days. It even included me trying to withdraw cash from a fence and a near wedding incident. BUT, I’ll spare you of our escapades.
It's safe to say that Sin City delivered some wonderful memories and a serious case of the holiday blues. However, between the fun and games, life took an unexpected turn.
1st October 2017
That evening, thousands of lives were impacted forever. Chris and I were extremely fortunate, and we still count our blessings to this day that we weren't directly involved.
Fortunately for us, we decided to pre-drink for a little longer that fateful night. And although we never had any intentions of attending the Route 91 music festival, we're still very thankful that we weren't out on the strip when the shooting began.
Life works in mysterious ways, and that split decision to pour one more drink in our hotel room prevented us from witnessing the chaos first-hand. Instead, we stayed at our hotel and watched it all unfold like the rest of the world.
Although we felt the impact of the tragedy for the remainder of our trip, it wasn’t until I got home that I really put things into perspective. The truth is, that night left a harrowing psychological mark on me and will definitely stay with me for the rest of my life. To witness the scene of the crime and to see those affected by it first-hand was truly heart-breaking.
Eyes wide open
Three weeks have passed since I returned from Las Vegas, but it’s only now that I’ve had an urge to ramp up my own business exploits and make some positive changes in my life. Without sounding melodramatic, my experience in Vegas has taught me a few important lessons.
You see, we’re all guilty of getting caught up in our jobs. Some of us decide to work overtime, while some of us might decide to simply put things off for another day.
Vegas reminded me of how precious time is and that it’s a commodity that you can’t take for granted.
Before I went on holiday, I was working every hour under the sun for Textlocal and Content Chef, while squeezing in three gym sessions, four runs, football training and a match every week. My life was a living, breathing, ‘burning the candle at both ends’ cliche.
My point is, things changed after the 1st October 2017. Although I’ve continued my exercise routine, I’ve used the last few weeks to evaluate what really matters to me. I’ve been taking Monkey (my dog) for longer walks up the Malvern Hills, I’ve been spending more time catching up with friends, and I’ve tried not to get so worked up about trivial things.
Don’t get me wrong, this post wasn’t intended to scare you off from doing overtime or going the extra mile for a customer. It was simply designed to help you put things into some kind of context outside of work and remind you to value the moments you have on this planet.
Let me ask you this: when was the last time you took a moment to assess what's important in your life?
Work hard, do something special for your client or customer and agree to work a few extra hours. But never forget to switch off and take care of the other important things in your life.
Enjoy a few hours watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster with a friend. Forget calories for a night and treat yourself to a beer after work. Learn to put your phone down and spend an extra five minutes with the one you love. Whatever makes you happy in life, don't wait another day to do it, do it now.
The events on 1st October 2017 should be a reminder to us all to use our time effectively, live your life without fear and do the things you love whilst you can. So the next time you have a tough day at work or it feels like the whole world is against you, just remember that life is a gift.
Live, laugh, love.