An Interview with a Newly Minted 28yo.

Yeah … that is me.

What is your name?

My pen-name is Damocles, and I’ll keep my actual name redacted for obvious reasons, that are only clear to me. I’ve been called a lot of things in my life … stupid, dickhead, idiot, boss, mate but out of all of them, I think the most appropriate one has always been “hard-arse.” I’m hard on everyone, but mostly myself.

cogito, ergo sum – I think, therefore I am.

What does today mean to you?

According to time, I’m currently 28 years old, another step towards old and apparently my prime. Both of which I beg to differ.

However, if you’re mean what does today mean as a concept .. well … let’s not have that metaphysical discussion right now, except to sum it up as … it’s just another day, where I need to work on improving something about myself or one of my many interests and skills.

carpe diem – Seize the day.

If you had to sum yourself up in a few words, what would they be?

Reader, Shooter, Racer & Savant.

I love reading books, almost as much as I like the act of writing. Almost everything I’ve ever learnt, came from a physical book and it being expressed in an intriguing way.

Shooting isn’t actually something I do even though I do have plans on acquiring a rifle and a pistol one day, but I think of myself as a straight shooter. I don’t like wasting time, talking a lot or playing games. I prefer to be clear, direct and precise in everything I do, just like a bullet.

I chose the word shooter, because at the end of the day, I’ve instilled in myself a military obsession that will never fade, and I chose to hold the ethos of a military man, despite having never served.

Racing has been in my DNA since I first picked up a Nintendo 64 controller, and won my first race in MarioKart 64. That feeling of crossing the line first never disappeared and I’ve been obsessed with speed ever since. I’m a petrol-head to the core and I’ll never stop admiring cars, speed and pure performance.

Savant is just a pretentious word I chose, because it matched the S in shooter. I like to play with my words a lot, and seeing words next to each other, with a pattern gives me great pleasure. Savant is there, because I consider myself a student in all facets of life. If I’m not learning something new every day, then the day is wasted. I’m curious by nature, cynical in mindset and capable in most capacities. I relish the idea of becoming a modern day Renaissance man, and to that … I’m always learning something.

non scholae, sed vitae discimus – We learn not for school, but for life.

Do you have a style icon?

I actually have several style icons, most of them silver screen inspired. Fashion has always been something of importance for me, as part of my identity and theatrical side.

For my every-day look, I am usually rocking what I call the “off-duty cop” look, with plain cargo pants that hide their pockets well, a henley shirt and a flannel shirt over the top, for colour and an extra layer. This was inspired by one of my favourite Western TV series, Justified, in which I do my very best to copy Raylan Given’s casual Southern style. It also helps that the pants can carry a multitude of items, I deem necessary for my EDC habits and I just like the overall mix of functionality and style.

For my tennis look, I am literally decked in Under Armour gear from head to toe. My obsession with UA as a brand began, when I first started researching tactical equipment and their combat boots have been on my feet since day one. I am largely inspired by the inimitable Roger Federer, whose colour coordination, effortless style and grace on the tennis court has stuck with me the moment I saw him in the Australian Open. Whilst I know that he is most famous for his Nike partnership, and now recently Uniqlo, UA has been more affordable to me and I find that as long as I got a good colour coordination going, I can at least poorly imitate the GOAT in some shape or form. My tennis wardrobe is colourful, with lots of blues, red, and white and I always do my best to match my wristbands to my shoes.

For my classy casual look, it falls in line with the current Formula 1 racers, with polo shirts, comfortable golf shorts and sharply defined sunglasses with athleisure shoes. This is probably my go-to summer and holiday look, with this wardrobe I am able to attend classy events without standing out and be comfortable enough to not fidget in the heat.

For my suited looks, I will always fall back to Daniel Craig’s run as James Bond. His suits in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace are my favourite cuts, and he looks incredibly immaculate in those 2 movies. I also happen to adore his peacoat in Skyfall, but what really cemented him as my style icon for suited looks, was when he stepped off the plane in the Bahamas, and was casually doing up his blazer with just one hand. His serious, sexy but deadly, classy but scary demeanour was exactly how I wanted to present myself in a suit. Ever since then, I’ve loved that combination, and will be willing to extend a nod of gratitude to another style icon in his own right, Agent 47 from the Hitman Trilogy, with that beautifully tall collared long coat and the iconic red tie.

To sum up, Roger Federer, James Bond, Charles Leclerc, and Raylan Givens.

citius altius forties – Faster, higher, stronger.

How do you handle stress?

I think I handle stress well. I’ve always tried to instil in me, a good ability to multi-task and operate efficiently in everything I do. I enjoy the feeling of making a way out of things. I’ve never been one to really stumble over stress too much, partly because I see time as such a lengthy thing. If you can spit out 5 words, clap your hands twice, and overtake a car in 1 second … just think of all the things you can accomplish in a minute or an hour.

When time is that slow, stress just tends to melt away. You always know that you have plenty of time to do everything.

I suppose the only time stress is a really big factor, is when I am forced to rely on others, then I suppose the hard-arse in me comes out. Even then, it’s never too awful, because I build up such a strong team around me, that a lot of that stress melts away, when I see their competency and initiative-taking.

Stress is always easier to deal with, when you got plans in place before hand and you know how to execute them. But be loose enough to deal with anything surprising along the way.

labor omnia vincit – Hard work conquers all.

Where do you feel most at peace?

On my own, when I’m walking around the city, wandering aimlessly. Peace to me is rare and I only ever really get that feeling when I’m alone and walking in a place where there are people, but they’re not aware of you. I like to know that I’m alone, amongst strangers.

It’s a weird feeling, because that is the only time where I really achieve some type of zen. Every thing else, I do, I’m either riding an adrenaline high or I’m bored stiff and anxiously trying to scratch the itch to do something. No matter whether I’m playing golf, tennis, racing cars or writing, I wouldn’t label those things as peaceful, but focused intensity.

So I suppose, peace is rare in my life then, because I hardly walk aimlessly anywhere. I’m too busy trying to be busy.

flectere si nequeo superos, ancheronta movebo – If I cannot move Heaven, I will raise Hell.

What are you afraid of?

The biggest fear I have right now, is my failure as an individual to reach my full potential. Everywhere I look, I see other people surging ahead of me, and it makes me envious and more determined to maximise myself.

If I had to boil it down, it would be my career. That is what makes me the most anxious and afraid. I’m terrified that I can’t get into the events industry and that I’ll never really amount to anything beyond what I am now.

morte magis metuenda senectus – Old age should rather be feared than death

When have you felt uncomfortable in your own skin?

I’m honestly not sure, probably 3 years ago, when I really studied myself in the mirror and wondered what could be done better. I was overweight and only getting chubbier by the day. My clothes weren’t fitting properly and there was a lot of excess flub on my face and neck.

I also knew that this excess weight was slowing me down, whenever I raced in go-karts.

It was around that time, I made that B30 Challenge for myself, to get “race-ready” and honestly, I’ve never looked back since. I enjoy exercising now, getting out in the sun, and really pushing my physical skills and limits in tennis and endless sprints with my weight vest.

Sometimes, it takes that critical look at yourself, and the acknowledgement that you’re not happy with how you look, to really help swing things around.

non progredi est regredi – To not go forward is to go backwards

When have you felt the most lucky?

Honestly, all the time. I think I’m a very lucky person. I’m surrounded by a lot of great friends and people, supported by clever mentors, my family isn’t a mess like so many others, I live in a country that has incredible citizen benefits, fresh air, water and huge expanses of land …. and I’m currently living in one of the most liveable cities in the entire world.

I’m not terribly ugly, my face is relatively symmetrical, I’m healthy, slim and confident, with a huge ego and self-esteem. I got a gorgeous girlfriend, and I like to think I’m intelligent, emotionally-savvy and funny.

There isn’t really a day that goes by, without me thinking to myself, I’m lucky to have all of this.

annuit coeptis – He approves our undertakings.

What keeps you up at night?

Writing honestly. Whenever I write, it’s a pure burst of creativity that refuses to relinquish control until I finish it. I can’t control the flow of words that come out.

My fear of poor career prospects doesn’t keep me up though, if you thought that. Oddly, I know it’s not rational and I pay very little mind to it, because I am actively working on avoiding that issue.

If I am working on something, you’ll find me burning the midnight oil often, simply because my mind operates best when everyone else is asleep.

ante meridiem – Before noon, A.M.

How do you deal with people looking up at you?

Not very well. I struggle a lot with people admiring me and looking up to me. It’s a weird feeling, since I don’t feel worthy of it. However, I do take it seriously, because having been in so many leadership roles, whether I wanted them or not, I know that I have to work twice as hard as the people serving me.

I’ve always been a firm believer in leading by example and being the person that can predict trouble and steer the team clear of it. I’m passionate about the people who work for me, and I think I’ll always try to protect them the best I can.

I suppose that is the only way, I try to address admiration. I just keep on trying to be better than I was yesterday.

But in all honesty, I suck at dealing with compliments. I break out in a rash and will dismiss it.

Terribly rude.

I should just accept it more gracefully in the future.

non ducor, duco – I am not led; I lead.

How about down?

I love it when people talk down to me or treat me in some type of horrible way. My inner competitive side comes out, and suddenly, it’s a measure of who is the bigger asshole. Usually I come out on top, with my disrespectful, sarcastic and downright rude observations and attitude.

Savagery is something that I am well versed in, receiving and delivering.

In a lot of ways, it’s easier for me to process insults than compliments, because I can always use it, to improve myself. With a compliment, there isn’t much encouragement to better oneself. However, with criticism, feedback and insults, there is always a grain of truth to be discovered, and you can always find a way to address or ignore it.

Recently, there has been a lot of slander about me, thanks to the post I made a few months ago and I find myself immensely enjoying it. There is no better feeling than when people have a misconstrued perception about you, and you know it to be completely false.

It’s hilarious.

In the end though, I’ll always appreciate when people call me out for my shit. Honesty is always welcomed, especially because I value the truth a lot.

I can’t grow as a person, without other people helping me see my flaws along the way.

nosce te ipsum – Know thyself.

Do you have any advice for people who are struggling with something right now?

I used to think that I had good advice for people. But now I realise I’m just as full of shit, as the next person.

So my advice is … tough it out, learn to take a breath, and keep on going. Don’t just think about it, commit to an action and see it through. Good or bad, either way, it’s going to be fun to find out.

aut viam inveniam aut faciam – I will either find a way or make one.

What does it mean to be a man?

A man is a person who stands by his word, but acknowledges all his faults too.

Too many men out there, do the first half, but not enough of the second. They treasure their word, their respect and their reputation too highly, to the point that when they do fuck up, they never admit fault.

You can’t be a man then. A honest, and true man would admit his wrongs and work hard to never repeat them. Apologise and don’t fuck up again.

You can mess up in another way, but the same mistake should never be repeated. To do so, means that you haven’t grown as a person, and remembered your faults. That isn’t manly, or even human. That is stupidity.

The other aspect of manhood I want to address is also self-sufficiency. I believe that a man should be have skills in everything, and any environment he finds himself in. Whether it is the kitchen, the hard-courts or a garage, as a modern man, he should possess skills and a familiarity in all those environments.

This is the 21st Century …. the internet exists and there are no excuses why you shouldn’t be able to know how to change a tire, iron your clothes or whip up a French Omelette.

Being a man, is about learning as many skills to be as self-reliant as possible, staying true to your word and being open to frank, honest conversations about your mistakes or attitudes.

If you think you can do all of that, think again. Being a man is a process, not a destination.

astra inclinant, sed non obligant – The stars incline us, they do not bind us.

If people had to remember one thing about you, what would it be?

That I was a semi-pro in everything I was ever passionate about.

There is such a strong desire to be a Renaissance man, that I honestly have such a long list of skills and things I want to be good at. Even impossibly expensive desires, like to be a pilot or be SCUBA qualified, still rate highly on my wish-list of skills I wish to possess.

The degree of skill is also a huge factor for me …. it’s not enough that I want to be good at it, I want to qualify at a level where I can compete in them too. I may never reach the height of that industry, but I want to be good enough to enter that field and hold my head high, amongst those who made it their life dreams.

Tennis, Golf, Badminton, Cooking, Writing, Racing, Martial Arts, Film-Making and Critics, Entrepreneurship …. I want to be remembered as the guy who did it all, and never rested, until he got near the top in everything.

Life is too exciting, too wondrous and too short to not try to be good at everything.

Who Dares Win.

fortes fortuna adiuvat – Fortune favours the bold.

Any final words?

Thanks for celebrating my birthday with me and reading this faux interview.

I’ll just leave you with one final Latin quote

Faber est suae quisque fortunae

Every man is the artisan of his own fortune.

~ Damocles

P.S. quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur – Anything said in Latin sounds profound.

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