You need to find balance in everything you do. I think the key to happiness is understanding that you need to strike a balance between work, family, downtime, health and “me time”. Those five key aspects to life are important for us as a species and an imbalance puts us completely out of sync and we tend to get moody.
As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shaun Taylor.
Shaun runs a specialist safari company called Moriti Private Safaris. Moriti offers private safaris for guests looking for that authentic safari experience without the crowds. Obsessed with wildlife and the outdoors since childhood, Shaun spends all his time in the African bush teaching people how to live a simpler life with the ancient rules of nature being a guide to life. When he isn’t doing that, you will find him with his high school sweetheart and their two children somewhere on the beach.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Ihad a simple childhood that involved being outside all the time. Growing up in Africa is awesome and you get to experience so much for little. I kept to myself and spent most of my time outside learning about nature. The friends I did have are still my friends today. I am very fortunate that I came from a good home and my parents are still together after nearly 50 years (my dad says you can get less for murder, it’s his favorite saying every year on their anniversary). I have an older sister.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
I was heavily inspired by a guy named John Varty, a wildlife filmmaker and guide. He used to travel around Africa filming the most extraordinary places and his knowledge seemed boundless. His respect for animals was just immense and he was aloof like myself around people, which made me “bond” with him even more.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
There were two people who helped me at the start of my career, both are guides and tour operators. William Cook, who owns Cooks Air Tours and Safaris was so helpful with the admin part of the business and he helped me to set up a great foundation to work off. He has also become a great friend. The other great man is Kobus De Jonge, owner of Jewel of Africa Safaris and Tours. Kobus is a very spiritual man, and he has been an absolute inspiration when it comes to attitude and self-belief. Nothing is too much for him and he is always there for advice and assistance.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
I was guiding guests one morning and we were tracking lions. The tracks were getting fresher and fresher until I eventually stopped and said, “they have to be here somewhere, these tracks are literally steaming and they move off into this bush over here so they must be up here!” I started scanning the area with my binoculars and listening intently for any alarm calls from birds or prey animals, nothing. Where did they go?? I got out of the vehicle to look at the tracks closely at which point I heard this growl and a bush right next to me exploded as two male lions ran off. They had been in the bush next to my car tire the entire time and I had not seen them. For 15 minutes I made my guests sit listening and scanning the area while these lions were literally 10 feet from us behind a small bush the whole time! Can anyone say, awkward.
The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?
Passion and a unique idea. To succeed at anything in life, you must be passionate. Not necessarily for the good times, but for the hard times. Only a love for your craft gets you through hard times. Most people give up if things get bad, but passionate people fight and that is what it takes in the tourism industry. Our industry has more peaks and troughs than any other industry and so you must do it for the love of it. Having a unique take on it and offering something different is also a must because if you do not stand out, you get sucked into the price wars which you will never win against the bigger operators.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Not so much a book, but a cassette series by Bob Proctor called The Success Series. It was given to me by one of my mentors, Kobus and it just made complete sense to me. I remember driving around listening to it as a kind of audio book one morning and became emotional suddenly. I realized after listening to a part of the Risk portion of the cassette that it was my time to shine and start my private safari business. It was not an idea as much as a feeling of definite purpose. Since then, I go to and from Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich for inspiration.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
Funnily enough, it comes from a round table interview that involved Tom Hanks. He said, “this too shall pass” and went on to describe how good and bad situations pass by in equal measure. I realized that things come and go and so the relationships that matter in your life you must put the time in, but everything else will disappear eventually and so should not get too much of your energy or the disappointment is hard to bear. Just enjoy the good and the bad because both are part of your life whether you like it or not.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I am working on yoga and wellness safaris. I have seen how being out in the wilderness has resonated with people and helped them and so I would like to start exploring that more and offering safaris that go a bit deeper than just the game viewing.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?
Habits and routine are essential to human behavior. They set the tone for success because they make you confident and they give you comfort. Anyone that is out of routine or in a situation in their life where they cannot set a routine are not happy and they yearn for stability. Habits are individual and so there is no set recipe for this, you must find what works for you.
How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?
When planning and executing a safari for people, habits and routine are a fundamental part of the success of said safari. Every set safari has an itinerary and if the timeline is too frantic or the guide is not comfortable it can really mess up the safari. The more routine you can make it, the happier the guide and the happier the guests. Beside my passion habit for the safari itself, balance is a big factor in building my itineraries. It is a holiday after all and there needs to be a time for guests to rest.
Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?
Habits are individual expressions of comfort. You must be honest with yourself and set habits that suit your life and make you as productive as possible. It is trial and error and I find missing deadlines or making mistakes are great ways to teach good habits. When you make a mistake that lesson sticks with you and it sets the tone for creating a habit that helps you work smarter. In the same way, making mistakes should show you what habits do not work. If a habit has affected your life negatively or your health, then you know you must break that habit. The best advice I can give you, to change a habit you must trade it with a new one.
Let’s talk about creating good habits in three areas, Wellness, Performance, and Focus. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum wellness. Please share a story or example for each.
Live your passion — we have passions for a reason. Some are hobbies, but there will always be one that you are “obsessed” about. It is not by mistake; it is by design. Turn that passion into a business and you will never work another day in your life.
Stay active — whatever you want to do, whether its walking or triathlons, stay active. Your body needs that, and it will transform your mind and keep you focused. Work it into your life and make it a routine.
Balance — this is my number 1. You need to find balance in everything you do. I think the key to happiness is understanding that you need to strike a balance between work, family, downtime, health and “me time”. Those five key aspects to life are important for us as a species and an imbalance puts us completely out of sync and we tend to get moody.
Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?
There is no set formula to this. Everyone is different and I can only talk from my experience. For me, being honest about who I am and what I want has been the clincher. With the world we live in, a certain image and way of life is sold to us daily. It is so easy to get caught up in that and become just another sheep in the flock. You then develop habits that are not true to yourself and that creates imbalance and then life gets hard. If you are honest and stay away from bad influences, you tend to develop healthy, unique habits that support you and you then become confident. Confidence then breed success and you can then become an inspiration.
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each.
Passion — if you love what you do, then life makes so much more sense. You feel good and your enthusiasm rubs off on your customers and just your passion becomes a huge selling point for your business.
Fulfillment — we you exercise, it must become part of your routine and you need to get fulfillment from it. Choose something that you can set regular goals for and never allow what it does to your body aesthetically to become the goal. Exercise is for health, not looks. Do not fall into that trap or it will suck all the passion out of you because you will forever compare yourself to others.
Balance — you cannot have a family without work, and you cannot enjoy your downtime without family and friends. These two need to be balanced and deserve has much as the other gets. Never allow one or the other to rule or the imbalance will cause issues in your life.
Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?
Again, be honest with yourself and pay attention to your life and not what everyone else is doing. I also highly suggest watching documentaries and podcasts involving your industries/passions leaders and mentors. They have been to the top of the mountain and can help you navigate the terrain. A story from them could resonate deeply within you and breed courage and resolve. Never ever stop learning from these people, they are a wealth of knowledge.
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal focus? Please share a story or example for each.
Stay away from the media — find a small, independent news house that deals with honest, factual news with balance between good and bad news to stay relevant within your industry. The rest is all propaganda and is none of your business.
Surround yourself with industry leaders — whether it be YouTube, podcasts, or seminars, surround yourself with kings of your industry and glean as much knowledge from them as you can. Practice makes perfect
Never ever stop learning — keep moving forward and learn a new skill as often as you can. The more you know, the more you can navigate your business in the right direction and keep in relevant.
Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?
Be thankful — always be thankful of where you are and for the talent that chose you to express itself. Your unique outlook can change the world.
Be humble — you are just a cog in the wheel of life. At times you will be the man and other times you will be the loser. Never forget that.
Be unique — do not focus on what others are doing. Learn from others but stay unique and filter your knowledge into something that you can be proud of.
As a leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?
Be passionate — passion creates that flow. When you enjoy what you do and are confident in your abilities, your inner jedi makes an appearance and people will notice you and your business
Have balance — make sure that your daily habits and routines are balanced. We all need work, downtime, love, an outlet, and some time to yourself. These are all important and deserve as much effort as the other. Work is not everything, work is a means to happiness and fulfillment.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I think tolerance. People seem to think that, to be friends and bond, you must have the same beliefs and ethics. However, what people miss is that everyone is unique, and every culture has fundamental differences. I would love to see people embrace that and to explore it rather than to mock it. Imagine if the packet of candy had only one color to it, how boring! Life is so much better when there are different colors and flavors. You may prefer one over the other, but that is your unique slant on it and that is fine. You need to see life as simply, I do not like the green candy, but you do. You do not like the red candy, but I do. Let us exchange candy and love the fact that we can bond over our different tastes.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
Inspiration is found in the strangest places. I would love to sit down with James Hetfield from Metallica and enjoy a free-range meal with him. He wrote the book on making mistakes and dealing with past problems. His openness and truth inspires me every day to communicate and be the best person I can be.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I have a blog on my site that I write cool posts on if you are into wildlife and the outdoors. Otherwise I am on social media and post videos of me forcing my kids to go on weird safaris with me all the time.
Thank you for these excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.
Much love to you all!