• Nomadic Paddler

Everyday Exploring with Luke Robertson

Luke Robertson is an explorer on a journey to help others unlock their potential to achieve more, and take positive action in their own lives. He does this as a guides for The Polar Academy, as a motivational speaker with Speaker Buzz and as an Explorer in Residence for the RSGS.

Hello Luke, thank you for taking the time to talk with me. You have come up against many challenges and the way you have conquered them is inspirational and I was hoping you could please share a bit of how you did this with us.

What is the biggest difficulty you have ever had to overcome in your life?

I’d have to say there are probably two and both have been health challenges. When I was 23 years old, I was told I needed an artificial pacemaker fitted to treat a heart condition. Then five years later, I had a serious brain operation to remove as much as possible of a large mass in my brain. Both came as huge shocks and initially I didn’t know how to deal with either situation. My grandad had just been fitted with a pacemaker and he was over 90 years old when I had mine fitted and in the second instance I was told that there was a good chance I would lose my eyesight or worse. I remember thinking, especially before going for brain surgery, that if I can get through this then skiing to the South Pole will be easy!

How did you overcome this?

My friends and family were amazing, especially my parents. They get worried when I travel anywhere, but when it came to something as serious as this, they were so calm and collected. They knew they needed to be strong for me and they were. Spending time in hospital is always a humbling experience. In both cases I was surrounded by people a lot worse off than me, many of whom would never get the chance to leave. I thought a lot about what I wanted to do when I got out – and, told myself I would get out - by visualising what I wanted to do, things I would do better and this helped take my mind off what was actually happening at that time.

How do you prepare for life, do you have your own personal quiver of skills that you use?

I definitely find it’s easier to offer advice to others than necessarily act upon your own suggestions! However, I try to focus on what I can control in life and do my best with whatever else comes along. This can be applied in almost all aspects of life. You might not be able to control who you have as family, what medical conditions you have or certain other challenges that are thrust in your way, but you can control your attitude, approach and outlook to every single aspect. Doing this has maximised the chances of me being happy in life, made sure I have a no-regrets outlook and gives me a sense of calm when things doing go right. Aside from this, I try to have a good balance between thinking with my brain and following my heart, try to always be kind to everyone and try to think of things from other people’s perspectives. Again, these are things I try and do; I’m a long way from perfect!

How do you turn a negative into a positive?

I’m more of a thinker than a talker and hence I’m not a very good sleeper! I do a lot of reflecting and this means I think a lot about what’s happened that day, week or month and whether I was happy with the outcome. In all instances, I try to think about what I learned, what would I change and what I should have done differently. I truly believe that if we choose to, then we can learn from every experience we go through in life, but it’s all about that decision about whether you want to learn or bury your head in the sand and pretend it never happened.

How do you deal with adversity?

I think perspective is important. There are always people going through a lot worse than you, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. Focusing on the bigger picture is important. Never be scared to ask for help. Once you reach out to people and accept that you can’t deal with something alone, you’ll find that people you never knew existed believe in you and can help you in ways you never knew possible.

Do you have a quote you could share with us that keeps you going through tough times?

Although, I’m not religious, there’s a prayer called ‘The Serenity Prayer’, which says: ‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ I think there are a lot of messages in that particular phrase.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question and I wish you all the best with the future.

- David Haze & Luke Robertson - #npadventurer

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