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What is a Good Life? #39
Listening To Life's Feedback with Aidan McCullen
On the 39th episode of the What is a Good Life? podcast, I am delighted to have Aidan McCullen as our guest. Aidan is the host of the Innovation Show podcast and the author of the book "Undisruptable." He is also a transformational consultant, leading workshops and giving keynote speeches, an adjunct professor at Trinity College, Dublin, and was previously a professional rugby player.
In this episode, Aidan shares his journey of transitions and transformations, both in his professional evolution from rugby player to author, podcast host, and consultant, and in his philosophical shifts, encompassing various outlooks and profound learnings. We delve into his perspectives and experiences of overcoming setbacks, cultivating resilience, developing empathy for the diverse ways in which we experience the world, and nurturing the ability to respond thoughtfully rather than reacting impulsively. Throughout our conversation, Aidan highlights the significance of paying attention and listening to the signs and feedback life is sending us.
Whether you find yourself navigating one of life's troughs or are feeling apprehensive about the next steps on your journey, this episode offers a wealth of perspectives and inspiration for your contemplation. While Aidan's unique blend of theory and metaphor, infused with personal realisations and experiences (see the clip below), makes his thoughtful insights highly relatable and applicable to your own life.
The weekly clip from the podcast (3 mins), my weekly reflection (2 mins), the full podcast (60 mins), and the weekly questions all follow below.
1. Weekly Clip from the Podcast
2. My weekly reflection
Throughout this episode, Aidan points to moments and experiences in his life where he interpreted various occurrences as signs from life, indicating the need for change in his path or mindset.
I believe we are constantly in communication with life, and both our feelings and the external world always provide feedback on what is or isn't working for us.
I don’t see life as a template or a roadmap to follow, but rather as an experiment. It's a continuous process, with new experiences and data provided in real time, sometimes requiring adjustments even if we achieve desired outcomes. As how could we possibly know how these outcomes would make us feel beforehand?
The beauty, and perhaps the scary part, is that only we can find the answer. Only we truly understand how we feel; no one else has our unique experiences or access to them.
One of the most significant lessons I’ve learned in my decade-long inquiries and processes was succinctly summarised by a previous guest, Darragh Power: “the feeling you live in is your life.”
Unfortunately, in today's world, we are often programmed to live a certain way, compete with one another, chase specific milestones, and even battle against time itself. This leads us to struggle with prioritising how our choices or lives make us feel. We prioritise the perception of our lives over our actual feelings.
Even when it becomes glaringly obvious that we need to make changes, we often have a set of habits that postpone or delay that inevitability. We lean on familiar distractions like alcohol, food, porn, social media, or shopping.
However, the great thing about life and this ongoing experiment is that it continues until it doesn’t. Regardless of our current situation, new information, data, feelings, and experiences are always being generated. Even in moments of feeling stuck, perhaps one more day of the same routine could be the tipping point.
As simple as it sounds, based on my interviews with over 170 people to date, setting aside time alone by yourself, whether through meditation, a walk, run, or cycle without distractions, or sitting on a park bench away from noise and people, can profoundly impact your ability to hear what life is telling you. I don’t know where it will lead you or what changes you’ll make, but consistent practice can help you rebuild and appreciate this line of communication with life and your feelings once more.
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3. Full Episode - Listening To Life’s Feedback with Aidan McCullen - What is a Good Life? #39
4. This week’s Questions
If life is trying to give you a message right now, what is it saying to you?
What habits do you use to numb or quell your feelings that might motivate change?
I am a Coach based in Berlin, via Dublin, Ireland. I left behind a 15-year career in Capital Markets after I became extremely curious around answering some of the bigger questions in life. I started this project in 2021, for which I’ve now interviewed over 150 people, to provide people with the space to reflect on their own lives and to create content that would spark people’s own inquiry into this question. I am also trying to share more genuine expressions of the human experience, beyond the facades we typically project.