Boxing Day special 2/2: Lessons from the CTO of a top Finnish company

[Continued from Boxing Day special 1/2: A soulful afternoon]

It seemed like a long time had passed that I sat there indulging in my fantasies. I suddenly caught a movement from the corner of my eye and turned to see a man on ski skates zipping across the submerged path, determinedly pushing his way along with his ski poles. It looked like he was gliding on water. He reached dry land, slowed down and walked towards me. Awed, I exclaimed, “That was cool!” He smiled and replied that is was only 5 centimetres deep. He climbed onto the lawn behind me, headed for the house, and started taking off his gear. So this is the owner of the house! I mused as I realize that just a moment ago, I was fantasizing about the house, and in the next moment, I had met and spoken to the owner. Isn’t that a powerful manifestation or what?

I watched as he stayed there washing his gear. He was suitably-dressed for sports in the cold winter, and had a lean and well-built physique. This observation led to thoughts about other successful people like Da Vinci, Tony Robbins, Bill Clinton, etc., and I realized that they all share something in common – exercise. They don’t just exercise occasionally like most of us do. They are ruthless about observing their exercise routines and keeping their energy levels in check. They know that to be able to do the work that they do, live the life that they live, and sustain it, their physical health and energy comes first.

He was still around after a while, and a curious thought flashed into my mind. What if I asked him…? Inspired by Will Smith’s character in The Pursuit of Happiness who asked the owner of a stunning car how he did what he did, I mustered enough courage to shout across his lawn, “Hey, can I ask you a question?”

“Sure”, half-amused and curious, he walked over.
“You have a really beautiful house, what do you do?”
“You mean, professionally?”
“I am the CTO of Company X”, he replied humbly. I have censored the company here for confidentiality purposes.

He has been working there for 5 years, and before that, he was a consultant. The details of which, I did not probe. I asked if he was happy, to which he smiled and said yes. He shared about living by the sea, and how it suited their (his family, I presume) lifestyle. In winter when the sea freezes, one can go ice skating on the sea (imagine!), and in summer, canoeing.

Before leaving, I threw him a final question – I asked for his advice to someone who desires to live a lifestyle like this. By ‘this’, I was referring to a lifestyle of abundance and happiness. His interpretation, after a moment of deliberation, came across differently though.

“You need to have the suitable attire for this kind of weather in Finland. You can’t just stay indoors and wait for the perfect day, like today.”

This unexpected response surprised me, and yet it was very true. I bided him a merry Christmas and hopped onto my bicycle, half-delirious over the bold move. Sometimes, we run crazy little stories and fears in our minds, when all it takes is to just ask! He had politely stood there and chatted with me, when he could have gotten irritated by the unexpected intrusion, or he could have easily excused himself and left this stranger to entertain herself by his lawn. Either way, I wouldn’t have known unless I try.

As I cycled back home, his words swam in my mind. In essence, the message I had gotten out of it, is to be prepared for our environment and the unexpected, and not sit around waiting for the stars and moon to align for us. In our lives, how many times have we succumbed to excuses, taken the easy way out, and then justified our inaction with those excuses? This is definitely nothing new to me. In case you might doubt the relevance of that reply, be reminded of the saying that “how you do anything is how you do everything”. If this is happening in one area of your life (e.g. exercise), chances are, it is also playing out in a greater part of your life, and it is affecting the kind of lifestyle that you have. What can we do to get ourselves into a state and habit of being ready?


  1. There are no perfect conditions. Use what you have, go out into the world and play.
  2. There are many who would love to share or teach, if you would only ask.
  3. There is a lesson in everything and a teacher in everyone, as long as you are ready to learn and to be a student.

Back in the apartment, hungry and cold, I thought about making myself a cup of hot chocolate. I remembered the lessons on taking care of our body, and ended up preparing a refreshingly simple (or simply refreshing) tea break of wildforest fruits tea and juicy apples drizzled with honey and cinnamon. Sweet.


One thought on “Boxing Day special 2/2: Lessons from the CTO of a top Finnish company

  1. Pingback: Boxing Day special 1/2: A soulful afternoon « Living in Beauty & Excellence

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