Paul Walker was never my favorite actor. And I never found myself intellectually drawn to him, like I am to Russell Brand or Will Smith.
But every time I’d see him in a movie, or that one time on Kimmel a few years back, I’d always think to myself, “he seems like a genuinely nice guy.”
On the same evening of Paul’s passing, I felt compelled to find out a little more about the man. What I found left me inspired and mindful that there’s always more to a man than his public persona.
Here are three of Paul Walker’s secret lives that may teach you a few priceless lessons about yours:
Paul’s Secret Life #1: He was an extraordinarily active philanthropist who realized charity is better with a personal touch.
Fellow Hollywood celebrities have described Paul as a “devoted philanthropist”. Like many stars, he started out supporting various charities through donations and appearances. But unlike most, he soon felt the urge to get more involved in his charity work. So, in 2010 he founded Reach Out Worldwide: a rescue and recovery organization for victims of major natural disasters.
Paul would spend months at a time rolling up his sleeves and traveling to countries like Haiti and Chile to help earthquake and typhoon victims. In fact, he was leaving a charity event at the moment of his passing. This makes me smile because that means he passed on doing what he loved.
Do you have a routine in your life that allows you to actively give back? Apart from the obvious benefits to society, you’re probably aware that donating money to charity is good for your soul. But I’d venture to bet you aren’t aware of just how deep those benefits run. A recent study in the International Journal of Happiness and Development shows those who personally contribute their time and skills to those in need—instead of just money to large organizations—enjoy a much deeper sense of satisfaction, connectedness and self-worth.
Paul’s Secret Life #2: He was a Hollywood star who chose to detach from the aspects of his career that didn’t serve him, and focus on the ones that did.
Apart from a weakness for rockets on wheels, Paul was a simple and frugal family man whose biggest inspiration was his race-car driver grandfather.
He had a long-standing reputation for staying away from the more vapid social circles in Hollywood. And in interviews he’d state his biggest priority was to be known as a “good” and “nice” guy. Judging by this video, he succeeded:
I much prefer Paul’s approach to stardom than, say, Kanye West’s. But I believe the bigger lesson here is that two of the most important things in life are knowing what you want out of yours… and having an inner game, or a perception of it that serves you. Perception is a popular subject in psychology and multiple studies have shown that a person’s conditioned perspective on their job, finances, or relationships can have a profound impact on their success in these areas.
The question is, do you take the time to connect with your highest self, your deepest desires and your strongest purpose? Meditation and energy work are two great methods for doing that.
Apart from that sense of knowing, what reality are you creating for yourself every day on an internal level? If you’re not making the money you want, are you telling yourself you’re stuck… or that you’re in the process of creating opportunity? If you’re trying to mend a broken relationship, do you spend most of your time thinking about each other’s differences… or focusing on the common ground? If you’re unhappy with your perspective, try affirmations. Or visualizing the outcomes you want. And draw a little inspiration from how Paul framed his situation to his advantage.
Paul’s Secret Life #3: From marine biology to architecture to jujitsu, he enriched his life with passion and personal growth.
Paul’s list of hobbies included playing the guitar. Hiking. Jujitsu. Architecture and interior design. Motorcycles. Surfing. And probably biggest of all, marine biology.
In fact he was so passionate about aquatic life, he once said, “I could take you for a walk on the beach, and I could point out just about any creature and give you their Latin names.” In 2009, he even fulfilled a lifelong dream by starring in the National Geographic shark series, Expedition Great White.
Now, people sometimes have a habit (I’ve been guilty of this too) of writing off the achievements of successful people as “lucky”, or “because they’re already rich”, or “because they knew someone on the inside.”
Why? Because it protects our egos from facing the truth: that we could be doing and creating amazing things too. We just need to take that second and choose to step outside the comfort zone of the limiting beliefs and negative habits that keep us playing a small, frustrating game.
The beautiful thing is, the more you start stepping outside this comfort zone, the more your brain starts building new neural pathways, turning that sense of adventure and personal growth into a lifelong habit.
Paul’s movie star status had little to do with many of the amazing things he achieved. His inspiring life was carved with grit, resolve, positive energy and authenticity. The same ingredients I hope you’ll use to create yours.
Rest in peace, Paul. And thanks for the lessons.
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