Inspiration To Positive Change – Mark Peterson

Hi. My names Mark. I’m 27 years old, and I work at Coles, live with my parents, and generally lead a rather boring life. Except, over the past few years I’ve managed to find happiness, and a true appreciation for life. How? You ask?

By doing the simple things, and adopting a positive attitude towards everything I do.

I wasn’t always like this. Im a short, 5 foot 7 guy with glasses, no girlfriend, who suffers from anxiety disorder, and a chronic fear of failure. I may never beat it. But above all else, I have determination. And determination will always overcome failure. Always. Whether its work, travel, or anything you want, as long as you work your guts out to get it, you will achieve it

The last few years ive juggled anxiety, weight issues, depression, work issues, most of all at the same time, and at no stage was it easy. The summer of 2005 saw me lose my apartment in Maroubra, my independence, my job, and a forced relocation home. I went from having a trainee-ship lined up (which id achieved in 11 months at my previous job) to absolutely nothing. I could have wallowed in my own self pity like which would have been so easy to do.

I went home. I started a new job. I started from the bottom. I worked every weekend I could. Learnt everything that I possibly could, worked hard, and it took a bit longer, but after 2 years working my way up, I was picked out of 7000 people for one of 70 positions to be a leader in my company. By not giving up and working hard, id earned another shot. Eager and ready and willing, I threw 5 million percent into it.

I failed.

Suffice to say this destroyed me. After all, how could this happen? How could someone so driven and so intent on making it fall flat on his face? The answer was simple. Sometimes in life, you can do everything in your power, but for some reason it just doesn’t work. You can get upset about it all you want. Or you can take some time, refocus, and try again. Right now, i’m in the middle of trying again. Am I sad? No. Because refocusing has its benefits. It allows you to see your mistakes, and learn from them. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Usain Bolt didn’t begin running marathons in 9.79 seconds. But relentless persistence got them there, and ultimately will get me there too. But this break lead me to my other passions in life. The one thing I’ve learned over the last few years is you cant achieve anything without balance, and its something I practice everyday

I love to dream big. One of my passions in life has been travelling and exploring the world, which brings with it its own challenges. Ive never shared with anyone the various meltdowns I’ve had in far off cities, a product of my own belief in challenging myself to the fullest, intermixed in with the divisive polar opposite when it rears its ugly head. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  I believe in the idea that “Today sucked. Tomorrow is a new day.” And with this, life goes on. Ive been to 18 different countries in the past two years, no mean feat for a kid that works at Coles, and I do this by myself, with full realization of my limited capabilities. Each trip gets harder. The first trip I went on was a 25 hour flight to Europe, when id never been on a plane before.  A month later I came back with a new concept, “embracing the awesome” which I still practice to this day. Fiji followed (a failure in its own right, but a journey nonetheless), then New Zealand, where I jumped off a bridge and made one of the best friends Ive ever made in my life (you know who you are) and then an amazing trip to a Football World Cup in South Africa, which ill treasure forever.  The next trip I undertake is even bigger. In 64 days I go around the world for 10 weeks. By myself. 30 different cities, and all me. And I do this for no other reason but the challenge and the opportunity itself. Few people believe in themselves enough to say, “To Hell with it, I’m doing this.” I do, and that, is the most powerful gift of all.

The last thing I’ve done happened more recently, and it was possibly the most physically hardest of all, but equally as rewarding. I gave up alcohol. I started running. And from that skinny fat kid with glasses who weighed 86 kilos in December of 2010, I’m now down to a healthy 73.6 kilos. Ive put down 68 runs since January (its now May 2nd 2011)  dress better, look better, and genuinely regard myself as a superstar. I talk about myself as “A better version of Usain Bolt” because he stops after 100m and I keep going. I talk about my “58 goal season” with my new soccer team. And generally love everything about me. Because realistically, you only get one shot at life. So its much better to love the life you live, than to wallow in self pity. I may never be as fast as Usain Bolt, but if I run until my legs fall off, that’s good enough for me. I’m not a superhero, but I am an amazing human being. Everyone has the power to be awesome, you just have to embrace it. And for those of you who have read this far, here are an abridged version of some motivation techniques I use

Motivation Techniques to achieve goals

Running in the morning or After Work – for me these are the two best times of the day to run, because they are the two times of the day you want to just sit down and rest. Your going to go sit down or go on with your day after it anyway, so whats another ½ an hour run around the block? Gut it out, and youll feel really glad that you did it

Hill Climbs – yeah, they may seem like hell, but if you can add a hill in between your runs somehow, getting over them is an amazing feeling… and with every uphill, theres always a downhill… youll feel like Usain Bolt screaming down the other side at a zillion miles an hour

Social Media – I use facebook a lot (much to the annoyance of probably most of the people around me) but I find that posting about a run or an achievement, a hill ive conquered makes me feel good. I also put a mark against a calendar to indicate the number of runs ive done. If you start with one, then ten, etc etc it really helps you focus and get motivated on achieving your goal

Sports Teams/Friends – while running is a singular event, ive found the most fun I tend to have are with the various football teams that I play with, because we are all working towards one goal. Not only is the social aspect of it awesome, but it’s a different type of workout so it variates what you do. Sports teams usually play once a week too so that’s one “free” run you don’t even have to think about

Books – When im not running, im reading about someone whos run a marathon, or im reading about someone or something who can give me ideas and advice on what im doing… the answers are all out there, we just have to find them. So many people have done inspiring things and just make me want to be a better person, so the more I read the more motivated I feel. Book I suggest reading include;

  • Its not about the bike by Lance Armstrong – an amazing story about the journey from the fight against cancer to the tour de france podium
  • Broken Open by Craig Hamilton – a local sports journalist and his battle with bipolar disorder and the fight to overcome it
  • 50 marathons in 50 days by Dean Karnazes – one mans journey across America raising money for charities
  • Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert – for those who love reading about travel and self discovery
  • After Bali – Jason Mccartney – an incredible journey about not giving up


  1. You are right Debora, he is an inspiration. He is a shining example of how someone can focus on their desired goal and then achieve it. I wish there were more people like Mark with his drive.

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