“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less without that missing drop.”
I love books that inspire us to work toward our goals with enthusiasm and determination; they are reminders to keep our purpose and intention at the forefront of the mind.
Harold Cabrera is a husband, father and full-time software developer and data scientist. He works full-time from home, but he is also an athlete. He has a passion for running, swimming and biking. In 2017, a few months before turning forty years old, he decided that he would run the Paris marathon, complete an Ironman and climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
After losing loved ones to cancer, he thought it would be a good idea to raise funds for cancer research as part of his athletic commitment.
As a child, Harold had not done sports. He only biked on weekends, with his friends. He did not even have the opportunity to learn how to swim during his childhood years because he lived in a place where there were no swimming-pools nearby. Harold was an adult when he decided to participate in his first triathlon in the year 2008—and he did not even know how to swim. He managed to learn how to swim in time for that specific event.
CHASE THAT SMILE shares the path that led him to complete his goals for his fortieth birthday. The book has a friendly, entertaining style that entrances the spirit and makes you smile. You can’t put it down.
I love what he said when he compared the art of swimming with Ikebana art. The Japanese art of putting flowers in a vase is in fact an art steeped in the philosophy of developing closeness with nature.
“An ikebana master described himself as being on a journey where the path has no end and the main purpose is to learn and improve his art continuously.”
Harold applies this idea to the art of swimming. It is an ongoing process. Every day we can endeavor to tweak our skills on whatever we choose to do, accepting the learning process as an endless path.
Harold has lived in three different countries: he was born in the Philippines and lived there until age 13, when he and his family moved to Canada. Later in life, he moved to London. I appreciate the way he threads into the narrative gripping anecdotes and experiences about his past, adding words of wisdom about facing setbacks and dealing with hurdles, and he does so with a sense of humor. By the end of the book, you will feel that you have made a new friend.
The climb of Mount Kilimanjaro with his wife and a group of people is another fascinating aspect of Chase that Smile. During that trip, in that intimate connection with nature, the members of the group bonded like family; I know the sense of camaraderie and friendship that thrives in that kind of setting, and Harold makes it vivid and interesting, reminiscing over the details of this unique trip filled with laughter, dance, songs and human connections.
Harold Cabrera has travelled the world, and his experiences in different places add a unique touch to the read, opening up our eyes to broader perspectives and encouraging us to pursue our goals with optimism.
“Perhaps, there are many treasures hidden within ourselves, and sometimes it takes challenges to unearth these personal riches. Taking myself out of my comfort zone forces me to dig deep within myself and allows me to discover my hidden gems. I’ve done this by doing sports, travelling, being in a relationship, being a father, or just by trying to fully experience life. Seeking these treasures makes life one big adventure.”
His love for his kids and his wife Tania is the essential foundation of his journey, and I feel thankful that he shared his book to inspire this post for My Writing Life.
I hope Chase that Smile will buoy up your spirit and brighten your days with the energy of your own goals, supporting you to keep your intention strong.
Like the Ikebana Artist, we can all choose to embrace the endless path of learning with gratitude, as we do our best in each moment.
Each challenge can be approached with a curious mind.
Each challenge can be viewed as an invitation to become stronger.
No goal is too small when we follow our path with love, motivation and optimism, and, like Harold, we can share the sparkles of this energy with others.
You can visit the author’s website here:
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to read my writing on the following books:
Running for Good by Fiona Oakes
Marathon Man by Alan Corcoran
Till next time.