The late, great Seamus Heaney was a positive man who had a great bit of 'get up and go' about him. In his poem 'Station Island' he imagines James Joyce giving us advice. A few lines of it states:
"Let go, let fly, forget.
You've listened long enough.
Now strike your note."
He is calling on us to seize the day and make life happen. "Carpe diem."
Do you seize the day, or does the day seize you? Do you get up and get your exercise done early or do you keep putting it off until later? Instead of letting go and letting fly, do you sit and stay put? Choosing the couch instead of taking off for your early morning swim, run or bicycle ride?
You know what it's like if you leave your exercise to later in the day. You get caught up in the thick of thin, trivial rubbishy tasks.
I remember, years ago, seeing the movie Dead Poets Society. Robin Williams played the English teacher John Keating. Keating takes a group of regimented, uptight, and spiritually impotent students at a rigid boarding school and inspires them to make their lives extraordinary.
He challenges them to 'let go, let fly', and strike their own notes with signatures of their 'own personal frequencies,' as Seamus would say.
Before Keating came, like Oprah Winfrey, they were clueless of what it was like to be their real selves instead of being pale second-rate imitations of somebody else.
"I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I've become," says Oprah. "If I had, I'd have done it a lot earlier."
If Oprah had found 'the signature of her own frequency' earlier in her life, she would have been listening to the beat of her own drum as Henry David Thoreau urges us all to do: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."
Is there anything as bad as keeping pace with somebody else's drummer like those singers on a TV talent show whose natural joyful pathway through life is perhaps nursing, but definitely not singing? Never hearing or responding to the poet Mary Oliver's challenging question: "Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Just living what Thoreau calls "lives of quiet desperation".
Keating takes them down to the lobby of the school where a trophy case displays the pictures of past students.
"Look at these pictures, boys," Keating directs the students.
'These young men whom you behold had the same fire in their eyes that you do. They planned to take the world by storm and make something magnificent of their lives. That was 70 years ago. Now they are all pushing up daisies. How many of them really lived out their dreams? Did they do what they set out to accomplish?"
Then Mr Keating leans into the cluster of students and whispers audibly: "Carpe diem! Seize the day!"
Today, let's make our lives extraordinary. Let's make our lives magnificent. Let's make today our masterpiece by starting and seizing the day with an early walk, jog or swim. Let's strike our own note. At our own pace. Running to the drumbeat of music we hear with Heaney-like 'signatures of our own frequency.'
Declan Coyle is a director of Andec Communications. His motivational techniques have been used by several All-Ireland winning teams. email@example.com