By Tim Saunders on
At the age of 19, Phil Keoghan nearly drowned during a dive to a shipwreck. The near miss inspired him to reevaluate his life, and he is now one of the best known reality TV presenters in the world.
Although millions of people know Keoghan as the host of the Emmy Award-winning hit The Amazing Race and CBC’s No Opportunity Wasted, millions more have been inspired by his philosophy of living life to the full. After surviving his diving accident, Keoghan set himself a “wish list” of all the things he wanted to do before he died – he checked off the first item straight away by returning to the shipwreck on the very same day of the mishap. From renewing his marriage vows underwater to changing a lightbulb on top of New York’s 700-foot Verrazanno Bridge to setting world records for group bungee jumping, Phil Keoghan is well on his way to checking off every item on his list.
But the 41-year-old also uses his experiences to inspire others to lead the lives they want to lead, to achieve the things they have always hankered for but “never had time for”. He uses his No Opportunity Wasted (NOW) philosophy to cut through the excuses and get people motivated. He urges that everyone should write their own “wish list” and forget about the excuses – we only have one life, and we should live it NOW. “The more I live, the more I want to live, and the more I want to help others live their once-in-a-lifetime dreams,” he told Oprah in 2001.
Look To The Stars was lucky enough to catch up with Phil recently and ask him about his thoughts on making the world a better place.
You sponsor a cycling team in LA that rides to raise awareness for Multiple Sclerosis. What led you to support TeamVRC and the issue of MS?
I actually bought my wife a cycling program and her coach happened to be one of the founding members of VRC, Eddie Monnier. As we got to know more about the team we loved their mission statement of bringing awareness to MS as well as helping under 23 [year-old] riders, and when an opportunity came up to be the title sponsor we decided that NOW (No Opportunity Wasted) was the perfect fit. The NOW MS team is one of the biggest fundraisers for the annual MS ride. The MS Society is extremely well organized and we always have a great turn out.
What other charities and causes do you support?
I am constantly getting requests for donations for all kinds of charities from all over the world. It would impossible to support all of them. As a professional speaker I have provided my services and spoken to a number of educational groups and institutions. I believe sharing the NOW philosophy is the best way for me to give something back.
What would you say to someone who wants to help a cause but doesn’t know where to start?
Look for something that has personal meaning. Focus your energy in one direction.
How could a charity attract your support?
It’s tough for me to commit to every request. I would find a celebrity who has a personal connection to your charity. Perhaps they are from the same state, went to the same school, have a family member who is fighting a particular medical challenge. Connect the dots.
Why do you think it is important to reach out and help others?
We will all need help at some point in our life, in the end it truly is more rewarding to give than take.
If you could start a charity, what would it be?
I feel we have our own charity in NOW. We just financed two international riders to join the NOW MS team in US and sharing the message of NOW is our way of giving back.
What do you think are the biggest problems facing the world today, and how can one person make a difference to solve them?
The biggest issue we face is that we continue to take the world’s resources without giving enough back in return. It’s a little like having a credit card and spending at large without thinking about how to your going to pay the bill. The solution will come from finding financial solutions to our environmental challenges. Right now many of those answers are locked away in the minds of young people. I have faith that we will find a way to create change.
Can you give our readers a final message on how they can make the world a better place?
Identify your passion. Write your own NOW Life List – a list of the things you want to do before you die. It’s only by bringing your real passion to something that you can be your best. It doesn’t matter whether that is through art, music, charity work, inventing … we have all been put on this earth with a purpose. The Life List will help you identify yours.
Look To The Stars would like to thank Phil Keoghan for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to us. To find out more about writing your own NOW Life List, visit www.noopportunitywasted.com.
Copyright © 2008 Look to the Stars