That wasn’t in the business plan
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Richard Hughes-Jones did it. After 10 years as a management consultant, he took the plunge to start his own practice — fueled in part by his love for backcountry skiing. Then on a routine check up, his doctor states “That’s not supposed to be there.” Stage 3 Colorectal cancer. It’s the news we all dread — what happens next? Do you take the Anti-Fragile approach of “that which does not kill me only makes me stronger” or the Buddhist approach of “relinquishing control.” How do you deal with experts (i.e. doctors) and is information your ally in the battle? And do you ever get “closure?” Richard is a kind, open, and warm spirit. We talk mortality, second-guessing your prior lifestyle, decision-making, and his 26 line item sneaker collection. And yes, he’s back on the mountain.
More about Richard
- Richard’s Website: www.richardhughesjones.com and sign up for his book club!
- @rhughesjones on Twitter
- ReBoot Podcast w/Richard: Everything is Workable
- Anti-Fragile, Nassim Taleb
- Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl
- Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman
- Sapiens, Yuval Harari
- Understanding Stress-Disease Connection, Gabor Mate
On Wearing “the Mask” while consulting
I’ll never forget a partner telling me to get rid of my beard if I wanted to be considered for promotion and you know, I couldn’t wear red shoes. I just thought, “hey I think there’s another way of doing things.”
On the community of backcountry skiers
One of the defining points of me was meeting a lot of people who had a passion; they were really passionate about something about something but it wasn’t necessarily career oriented.
I found it really refreshing to me this group of people who had just as much passion and focus, but it was channeled in a completely different direction. They were all happy smiles on their faces, yet they weren’t chained to the desk in a way that I’ve been used to.
On Reading about his Cancer
I managed it by geeking out about my illness. I spent a lot of time reading a lot, but also thinking about what you’re reading with skepticism. To avoid confirmation bias, I realized that I need to focus on medical texts and not reading forums and all that sort of stuff. The forums you’re reading reading represent just 1% of people who actually post things on the Internet.
More on bias:
20 types of common cognitive bias that we all need to be aware of: https://t.co/l05u07LTpQ #HR pic.twitter.com/w3wljQYkaV
— Tony Horan (@t0nyh0ran) May 10, 2017
Exploring the Stress-Disease connection
I think we create potentially stressful situations in our heads — which goes back to the fight-flight system trigger which triggers hormonal responses, that leads to imbalances within our body. I think I’m probably getting the science slightly wrong, but it can that can contribute to odds.
Understanding the Stress-Disease Connection by Gabor Maté
On returning to baseline happiness, post-Cancer
I can feel myself returning to my Baseline happiness as time passes since my illness. And it’s really annoying me, because without a doubt, post my illness there I was floating around, like the Buddha. I was just so chill, money didn’t matter, it didn’t matter how people saw me, you know all the things that occupy our mind. But now I’m getting a bit more stressed out thinking about these things than I would have six months ago.
It’s not an antidote, but it does help (and I’ll never forget) the moment that the surgeon told me that I had cancer.
I started meditating or just taking time out to stop and feel. For me, meditation is less a spiritual thing and more of a physiological thing, in the sense that you’re just bringing your body back to that balance state. But I believe the physiology drives the mental state.