A tiny life-changing lesson from a great guy

I’ve been working on a post for the last couple of weeks. It was an interesting post. I had learned some very important lessons on the final steps of launching a company and was very sure that the advice was going to be useful to quite a lot of people starting a new company… but this morning me and my wife learned that a friend that we had met, one year ago, at a wedding, had died.

That wedding was the first time I met him, and although we did try to meetup once after it we actually never did. Therefore in reality I only shared a few hours of my life with him. With that in mind, i guess you could say we weren’t very close… I guess not, but for some reason, writing that last sentence of the first paragraph has been one of the most emotional moments I’ve had in a long time. All because I have some sort of conflict inside. I have been feeling incredibly sad and incredibly happy at the same time. Sad for obvious reasons, but… happy? why?

I have been asking myself that question since I learned about it. What was different from Javier that made us feel that way? And I say “us” because I started to read all the messages people had left him and it was something I have never seen before. Simply put… it was a celebration of life.

And that is why I have decided to postpone my other post and write this one. To tell you the little that I learned about Javier on those few hours and how, thinking a little about it, with only 30 years of life in him, he “made a dent in the universe”.

For what I remember, Javier was diagnosed with a serious liver illness when he had just finished college and started to work. He went through very tough times and against all odds he made it out of it but with not very good news from the doctors. Javier had a quick laugh and lively look. He could talk his way in or out of any situation. He was a great guy.

If someone told you about his illness, you would never believe it. Only after he spoke about it, did it become a reality. But in a very special way… he spoke about his life turning event in such a way that it was shocking. For him the illness was not a big deal (he almost didn’t speak about that)… the big deal was what had gone through his mind, and his conclusions after many days trying to swallow the doctors news. He decided to change his way of looking at life and with that, he changed his life. Because he wanted to. Himself, and only himself, was responsible for that change. He decided to live at the maximum, with no regrets, and to simply be happy. Yes he was a journalist and enjoyed it very much, but as far as I could see, being happy was his full-time job.

That energy was what made him special. He made happiness and enjoying life his motto, and in doing so when you were around him you were pushed to do that same thing. To enjoy life and be happy.

When he was diagnosed, there where many things about his life that he decided to change. For what we were told, before he was a quiet and timid guy. He didn’t make too much noise and simply, as most of us do, traveled through life at the most comfortable speed. And then, he decided to change. But he didn’t start doing base jump or climbing the Kilimanjaro. He was a normal guy just focused on being happy, enjoying life and as a side effect, and I a am pretty sure that in a conscious way, made everyone around him happy and eager to enjoy life.

And that is why I wanted to tell his story. There is something truly eye-opening in this. It is a story of a normal guy being absolutely exceptional because he wanted to. Javier focused on not being “normal” and he made himself exceptional, and in consequence made people around him exceptional.

Steve Jobs once said that his objective was “to make a dent in the universe” and that is how he lived his life. I learned one comforting lesson from Javier: To make a “dent in the universe” you don’t have to do an extraordinary feat. You “just” have to wake up every morning focused on changing everything that is needed with one goal in mind… enjoying your life at the fullest.

At least that is what I’ve been working at and what you should do. Don’t live life how it’s “supposed to be”, live it like you want it. Be “responsible” with yourself not with what people say. Challenge yourself everyday and feed your eagerness to be happy.

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