‘Think For Yourself, Face Your Fears, Live Your Dreams, Piss Off Some Zombies’
- Niall Doherty
Niall Doherty, the blogger behind Disrupting the Rabblement at www.ndoherty.com was kind enough to agree to a brief Q&A for us folks here at Purposeful Life.
In September 2011, Niall set out to break free from the normal and mundane and travel around the world without flying. A grand quest, I’m sure you’d agree. Along the way he supports himself with his writing, in which he aims ‘to get people thinking for themselves and following their dreams, rather than going with the flow and settling for the status quo.’ A noble and inspiring mission. You can read more about Niall here.
I’ve personally taken much inspiration from Niall and visit his blog regularly. I strongly suggest you check it out and subscribe to his newsletter to get in on some great exclusive content.
Without further ado, here is the Q&A between myself and Niall:
Q: So how old where you when you first felt the urge to break free from the rabblement?
A: It’s been a gradual process but there have been a few ah-ha moments where I knew I had to do something different. Perhaps the first was when I was 21 years old. I’d dropped out of college and was working in a department store, a bit of a dead-end job. I saw people who’d been working there for decades and I knew that I wouldn’t be happy living that life. So even though I was terrified of change at the time I took a big leap and moved to the US to work for a year. That really pushed me out of my comfort zone. While in the US I took the first steps to overcome my crippling shyness and began to realize that I could do pretty much anything I put my mind to.
Another big moment for me was when I tried vegetarianism back in 2009. Even though I’m not vegetarian anymore, that really showed me the benefit of questioning assumptions, thinking for yourself and challenging the status quo, rather than just going along with what everyone else was doing. I was 27 at that point, a bit of a late bloomer
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to those wishing to pursue their dreams what would it be?
A: Stop waiting, start doing. Conditions will never be perfect. You just have
to go for it.
That’s not to say that people shouldn’t do some research, save some money, and make sure they’re otherwise prepared. But at a certain point caution turns to procrastination. Deep down you’ll know when you’re making excuses, and you just have to push through those and take the leap.
Q: What was the reaction of those around you when you decided to take your leap of faith?
A: I’ve been lucky to have a supportive family, and I think I’ve done a good job of recognizing when people are projecting their own fears and insecurities onto me. I’ve seen that a lot actually. Like when I quit drinking alcohol a few years back, I would regularly meet people who would feel really uncomfortable around me on a night out, even though I’d be out dancing and having as much fun as anyone. The conclusion I came to was that people who are secure in their own choices generally won’t take issue with yours.
At the same time, when you’re going through these kinds of changes you need to be careful not to get too preachy, like I did for a while when I first went vegetarian. That doesn’t do any good. You can’t change minds that don’t want to be changed. Do it for yourself and be happy with that. Others will follow your lead if they’re interested.
Q: What’s been the hardest thing about your journey so far?
A: Getting out of India without flying was much harder than expected. I couldn’t cross into Tibet from Nepal because the border was closed while I was there. You’re not legally permitted to cross into Myanmar overland from India. Pakistan wouldn’t give me a visa unless I applied from my own country. I spent $1200 on a cargo ship to take me from Sri Lanka to Malaysia, only to find that there was no passenger ferry between India and Sri Lanka. Nor could I find any cargo ships or sail boats to get me to Sri Lanka, and it would have been illegal to arrive by fishing boat. It took me literally weeks of hard trying and hopping all around the subcontinent
before I eventually scored free passage aboard a cruise ship which took me from India to Thailand.
Q: What do you miss most about home?
A: At first I didn’t miss anything really. But as time has passed and I’ve traveled a lot on my own, I have gained more of an appreciation for having that core group of friends that you interact with regularly. It’s hard to develop and maintain deep relationships when you’re on the move all the time.
Q: What are you most grateful for?
A: Being born to good parents in the Western world. The more I travel the more
I realize I was a lottery winner at birth. I have privilege and opportunity that most people in this world can only dream about.
Q: In one sentence, what do you feel your purpose is?
A: To evolve, and to help others do the same.
Q: Do you have any tips for finding happiness?
A: Figure out your values and be as true to yourself as you can possibly
be, even if it’s scary as all hell at times. Everything else pretty much stems from that. Surrounding yourself with the right people, for example, is a natural development of knowing your values and being true to yourself.
Q: Where has been your favourite place you’ve been to so far?
A: Amsterdam. People in the Netherlands are generally well-educated,
open-minded, non-religious, and don’t seem to hate the government. Amsterdam in particular is a beautiful and clean city. And even though I’m not into drugs or prostitution, I like that those things aren’t relegated to the underworld there, but are instead acknowledged and regulated.
Q: What is the strangest thing to happen to you whilst you’ve been away?
A: I got myself into a spot of trouble in Iran when I arrived with only $100
in cash and found that my bank and credit cards wouldn’t work there. I ended up relying on the kindness of many strangers to get me through ten days. I experienced the most remarkable acts of generosity from a very misunderstood people.
Q: At Disrupting the Rabblement you provide great inspiration for others, including myself, who do you find inspiring?
I find many people inspirational. I can thank guys like Tim Ferriss and Chris Guillebeau for the inspiration to live the life I’m living now. I’m indebted to the likes of Stephen Covey, Susan Jeffers and M. Scott Peck for helping me develop a lot of my core values. And more recently I’ve been
gaining inspiration from rational thinkers such as Neil Degrasse Tyson and Phil Plait.
Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?
A: I have no idea. If you’d asked me this question five years ago I’d never
have guessed that I’d be living in Bangkok, working for myself, practicing Parkour and zipping around these crazy streets on a scooter. All I know for sure is that I’ll continue to try new things, push my comfort zone, and stay true to myself.
Q: What do you think it means to ‘live with purpose’?
A: To echo Viktor Frankl, I believe life is inherently meaningless, but that
it’s much more enjoyable and fulfilling when you assign yourself some meaning or purpose. Once you find a purpose that resonates with you, living with purpose is a matter of staying true to that. Simple, but not easy. Life demands many things of us, and it can be all too tempting to busy
ourselves with distractions and not really do anything worthwhile.
Q: What could be one small thing people could do today to help them break free of normality and begin to pursue their dreams?
A: Befriend someone who’s already doing it. And make it someone who you’d
genuinely like to hang out with, someone who shares your values. Don’t just network and leech off people. Start building genuine friendships with people who will make your life better and vice versa.
Q: What’s happening over at www.ndoherty.com right now that people should know about?
A: I’m focusing a lot on functional fitness this year, trying to build the
skills, speed and strength that will enable me to beat up anyone I can’t outrun and outrun anyone I can’t beat up . So you can expect to see me writing and talking plenty about that. I’m also working on several business projects which I expect I’ll learn a lot from, and I’ll be sharing those
lessons on the blog, as well as continuing to reveal exactly how much I earn and spend each month.
Thanks a mil for the thoughtful questions.
And there you have it – some great words of advice, encouragement and a healthy dose of inspiration from Niall Doherty himself. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Let me know what you think in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading,