Thursday, 19 August 2010

Ambition...But at what price?

I heard a saying a few years ago that has stuck with me since, "In every great success story is a chapter entitled 'The Hard Times'..."

It's fair to say that what constitutes "hard times" is wholly relevant to the normal standards to which one is accustomed, these hard times may be fleeting glimpses of how those less fortunate than you live, causing you to once again appreciate your good fortune, for others, they encapsulate a lifelong struggle to get by, a situation whereby life is not for living, but enduring.

I was discussing with a friend last week, which would be worse, going through life not knowing what you want to achieve or spending your entire life with an overwhelming passion and ambition, striving to achieve something that almost always seems out of your reach. We came to the conclusion that each is probably equal and the only people who can be easily pleased are those who are satisfied with what they're given, nine-to-five job, mortgage, wife or husband they can tolerate enough to spend their lives with and a kid or two, they accept that this is their lot, at least they have a night out with their mates once a week to look forward to...

Think back to when you were a child, I would bet that every single one of you had an ambition, doctor, teacher, footballer, astronaut, movie star...How many of you have achieved your childhood dreams to at least some extent? Probably the minority, for those who didn't, do you still dream the same dream from time to time?

Let's be honest, many people have dreams that are very, very unlikely to ever become reality, the most common being "I want to be *insert celebrity*." This is obviously impossible because you can only be you, that is why the majority of people don't fulfill their ambitions, perhaps its a case of wanting to be that person now, without having to have put in all the work, writing their own chapter entitled "The Hard Times" in order to get there?

There is a school of thought that states "if you want it enough, you'll get it," well I'm afraid it's not that easy. The reality is that life gets in the way of what you truly want and in order to give yourself the best opportunity to achieve the things you dream of, you have to remove yourself from your previously "normal" life, focus everything of your being on your ambition and work like you have never worked before to make opportunities where you get that stroke of luck become more likely. The harder you work, the luckier you get...or so the saying goes.

I'll be honest, as I will always be, I haven't had any luck in this process so far, everything has happened because of something I have done to give myself a chance to make an opportunity for it to happen. Some things haven't gone to plan, others have gone better than expected, what I'm saying is that although some people get everything handed to them on a plate, others, like me and most likely you, don't and we have to work ten times harder to get to where we want to be. Is that struggle worth it? If not, give up. If you want it enough though, if you believe in it with everything you have, that then gives you the emotional strength to fight the fight, no matter how insurmountable your task may seem. That though, is only the beginning.

It's all about money. Say it again, it's all about money.

Why is it all about money? Because you don't have any of it, or at least enough of it to set you on the way to achieving your ambitions. That's when you need people that do have enough of it to help you but they want something back which is obviously only fair! You absolutely must be prepared to repay their benevolence in the manner they deem acceptable.

Here is where I am with everything so far, I need one thing and one thing only in order to actually achieve the first of my ambitions, the first film as part of "From the Office to the Ocean," and that one thing is £29,078.16, for arguments sake we'll say thirty grand.

What can I offer in return for that amount of cash? Plenty, alongside a willingness to discuss any other ideas of how my sponsors or investors will benefit from being involved in the process of this film being made. In ordinary situations, I wouldn't dream of asking people for financial assistance for things but this is as far away from being an ordinary situation as possible. I have planned to begin filming in February 2011 for four weeks, before returning to the UK to edit everything together alongside shooting and editing a "making of" feature and writing a number of articles about my story and the stories I explore whilst shooting the film. This means that realistically, the latest I can secure funding is in December of this year if it is to go to schedule.

That is not all, I will most likely have to leave my flat at the end of October at the latest and it is almost certain that I will have to rely on the kindness of others in allowing me to impose upon them until they deem my presence an annoyance and I have to move on again! Is it a stressful and pressurised situation? You bet your life it is but I wouldn't swap it for an easier life back in an office, slowly dying away and dreaming of what could have been!

This is me in my bedroom in my parents' house twenty years ago, holding one of my most prized possessions in the world, a signed book, sent all the way from Australia, from the one and only Valerie Taylor. I can't tell you how overwhelmed I was when it came in the post and to this day it takes pride of place in my living room.

The ambitions I have now are the same as then, to make a series of films about the relationship between sharks and humans, breaking new ground and doing something that focuses on getting more and more people to love and cherish sharks like I do and in turn, caring about their protection. The difference now is that I am in a position to actually do that, barring of course one rather sizable obstacle.

I do believe though however, that someone out there has it and would want to give it to me, it may even be ten people who want to give me three grand each or even a hundred who donate £300, either way, I want to repay those who help me make this happen and that is a cast iron promise and I never go back on my word. I believe it, Cameras Underwater believe it, several people of note in the diving, shark and media industries believe it and it is that belief and the validation of that belief from others that keeps me going.

My belief is so strong that should the unthinkable happen and I don't get the funding, I actually do have a backup plan, a very drastic, risky and slightly ridiculous backup plan which I would rather avoid if you don't mind!

So, to return to the quote with which I started this blog, I am going through the hard times now, it's not a problem, most of my adult life would fill this part of my story but the difference this time is that I am in the process of writing the following chapter. A friend of mine says to his son, "think of your life like a book, make it one you'd want to read," he thinks it's a bit daft, I personally think he's nailed it.

I'll finish by saying that I do appreciate you reading my blog, actually, properly appreciate it because its honest and your taking the time to read it does actually mean a lot to me. If I could ask you one favour, if you read it and enjoy it, please pass it on to at least one person who hasn't seen it, it may be about my journey but it's a story which I think resonates with most people and if I succeed, anyone who has followed my story will be a part of that success and see that it is possible!

"From the Office to the Ocean" has two primary messages, cherish, love and protect sharks and be inspired to make your dreams become reality, I know I have readers who feel as though I am speaking directly to them, they have told me themselves, if the message gets through and people start to embrace life, I will have succeeded in at least one of my goals, you never know, maybe someone will read it who can help me make this happen!

If you're on Facebook, there is now a group, just search for "From the Office to the Ocean," ditto on Twitter. To learn a bit more, check out and in the coming days, I will blog here, more detail about part one of "From the Office..."

Sharks rule.


Anonymous said...

Your words are wonderful! Your love for sharks POPS out of the page. you can do this, i believe in you!

Tim P said...


Keep it up mate. I'm keeping track of this for two reasons. One, because I care about your progress and second, because it's a joy to read. You've got the right approach and it's all about mental strength at this stage. The only way through the desert is too keep putting one foot in front of the other (not to be confused with the only way through a dessert - that's usually a spoon).

Tim P

OfficetoOcean said...

I really appreciate that mate, thanks for the positive words :)

Deedra said...

Awesome work. You make me smile! Please keep up this important work!

OfficetoOcean said...

Thank you Deedra! I'm glad you're smiling and rest assured, I will never stop doing what I do now!

Thanks for your lovely comment :)