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Sit Downs With Mad Ones: Lach Cotter of The Art of Audacity

Welcome to Sit Downs With Mad Ones, an ongoing series with the worlds most renowned world-changers, globe-trotters, business-starters, change-creators, and definition-of-“Cool”-bar-setters.  It’s 15 questions from witty to serious, and you’ll only find the greatest human beings here.  Today, please welcome Lachlan Cotter of The Art of Audacity.

There once lived a  man long ago with such audacious courage that he practically saved an entire galaxy from demise. That man was Picard from Star Trek. Today, Picard has taken new form as the righteously badass, wonderful, and not bald Lachlan Cotter. And today, we’re going to sit down with this guy and find out a bit about what drives him in life, his game called Spin The Globe, and even what kind of kisser he is!

Currently our man Lach is living in Thailand making moves and taking names as he builds up his courage by crossing off items form his Awesome List. He is a one-of-a-kind human being… the kind that we’re lucky exists in this wild world of ours, and we’re lucky to know personally.

So, here you have it:  A sit down with one of the most Mad To Live people I know: Lachlan Cotter.

1.) The Nomad Question: So Lach, what about travel & exploring the world turns you on?

There’s a tremendous sense of freedom that you experience traveling in far-away and unfamiliar places. We all tend to get into routines when we stay in one place or one situation long enough (like more than six months) which eventually leads to apathy. When you’re someplace new and unfamiliar, the whole world feels different. Your sense are heightened, you feel more energized, everyday is a new adventure. Plus there’s the thrill of discovering exotic cultures and country. It awes you and stretches you.

2.) The Personality Question: The If you were a star trek (or star wars) character, which one would you be? What event, trait, etc makes you want to be them?

I think I most identify with Picard. Part adventurer, part philosopher. He’s a strong leader, but in solitude he’s extremely introspective and soulful. The stories are about adventures on the “final frontier”, but really Star Trek is about exploring our humanity, and I think Picard personifies that.

Plus I just like the idea of saying “Counselor Troi: in my ready room”.

3.) The Sum Yourself Up Question: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, what would the opening scene be? The Title of the movie?

I cannot reveal the title at this time as various studios are still battling for the screen rights. Apparently Hugh Jackman is attached.

4.) The “Lach’s Blog Is Awesome” Question: So, in 3 sentences what is the Art in the Art of Audacity way of life?

Audacity is about testing boundaries, breaking expectations and facing fears. It’s necessary for the realization of a full and meaningful life because to be self-actualized requires that we push beyond our old limits and create our lives deliberately. The Art of Audacity is the art of self-actualization—the courage to be as you would be; not as others would have you.

5.) The Nobody is Mr. Nice-Guy Questeion: What kind of people do you dislike and wish you could slap without fear of lawsuit?

The following people will not receive Christmas cards this year:

  • Cynical, scowling, immigration officers who automatically think the worst of everybody.
  • The unconscionably rude and obnoxious ticketing officer at the Sydney International Terminal train station.
  • Telemarketers.
  • Anyone who abuses their official powers for the gratification of their own ego.
  • Any company who tries to use their “policy” as an excuse for not serving the customer.
  • Parking inspectors: You were an accident and nobody likes you.
  • Bigots, right wing evangelicals and others who can’t tolerate alternative world views.

Quite honestly though, I’ve got better things to do.

6.) The Job Interview Question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? How will you get there?

My Awesome List gives a clue. Almost all of those items should be licked by the end of next year. From there the plan is to more or less repeat the process but with a higher bar. To be honest, I don’t have a single, overarching goal that I’m working on other than expanding my personal comfort zone every way I can push it. I’m certainly open to finding one though. I’m sharing a message about bold self expression. I want to connect with a larger audience via speaking and entrepreneurship so that will be key focus in my life for the next several years.

7.) The “Into Lach’s Soul” Question: What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to overcome in your life, how’d you overcome it & continue to overcome it?

Feelings of heartbreak and inadequacy were most painful. But probably the lesson that took me the longest to learn is the importance of honoring who I am and what I want out of life rather than living my life to please other people. All of that took courage. So I think “overcoming” your challenges is either about healing old wounds and learning to value yourself; or it’s about finding a new perspective, a new awareness about your life. Getting past those blocks involved a good deal of introspection—learning to observe emotions without being ruled by them. Meditation helps a lot; as does a trustworthy coach.

8.) The Luvvvv Question: Tell us the story of your first kiss.

I was super shy about romance all the way through school and didn’t really find a girlfriend until after I left. After college I did a bunch of gigs playing piano for a local theatre company—theatre restaurant sort of things. One of the actresses in the show seemed pretty into me, so I eventually got up the courage to ask her out to a movie. I think it was Meet The Parents although I’m kinda hazy on that because we weren’t really watching it, if ya know what I mean. I did meet her parents though.

9.) The Mad To Live Question: What does it take for someone to truly LIVE. Not just exist, but to LIVE.

Living deeply means feeling deeply. The greatness of our lives is proportional to our capacity for passion.

To truly live requires courage. Courage to feel emotions deeply. Courage to be vulnerable, to be awed, to be humble, to be trusting, to be outspoken, to be unique, to be yourself, to surrender yourself.

Courage to step into the unknown.

10.) The Como Se Dice Question: What’s your favorite foreign curse word or phrase? Give us a brief dialogue of when you’ve used it in action?

Wow—I’m afraid I’m sadly inadequate in this category. All that comes to mind is the French: Merde! It’s good for all occasions, really. In Thai about as vulgar as I get is: bah! ning nong jing jing. Which means something like: “you’re crazy” or “you’re talking nonsense”. I say it to my wife a lot.

11.) The “Spin the Earth” Question: On your Awesome List you mention playing Spin The Planet. Tell us how the game works. When are you going to do it?!

Spin the Planet is a party game for serious adventurers. You’ve seen cartoons where they spin a globe of the earth and stop it with a finger to choose some random locale…

The idea is you select a totally random destination somewhere on the planet and then you must purchase a plane ticket for it that day scheduled to depart at very short notice (like the same week). There are a few caveats worth mentioning however. Obviously for a lot of countries there are visa requirements which take longer to sort out, so if you hit on one of those you need to re-spin or find the nearest accessible country.

After thinking further about the practicalities of that selection method I realize it admits some biases. Now I’m thinking a better method is to have a flat map of the earth on a pin board and throw a dart at it blindfolded after being disoriented somehow (like pin the tail on the donkey).

I haven’t set a date for this challenge yet. However I’m in the process of planning another travel related challenge at the moment.

12.) The “Who is the Shit?” Question: Who are your mentors in the following areas (they can be people, cartoons, bloggers, entrepreneurs, imaginary friends, etc):

a.) Lifestyle Design: Tim Ferriss—the obvious answer, but he did write the book on it.

b.) Entrepreneurship: Richard Branson—surely the hippest entrepreneur and multi-millionaire in the history of the world. He’s audacity personified. / Dan Andrews—his lifestyle business podcast is hands down one of the best resources for lifestyle designers digital entrepreneurs anywhere—love his energy.

c.) Travel Mentality / Style: Jeremy Clarkson—side-splittingly funny presenter. The Top Gear travel specials are amazingly good fun. Jeremy may just have the best job in the entire world. / Ewan McGregor—circumnavigated the globe on a motorcycle. What a dude.

13.) The Most Important Question In The Entire World: What do you think about that blogger chick Lauren Rains? She coo’? 😉

It’s like Smart and Sexy had a love child.

14.) The Big Change Question: Has anybody ever changed your life in a peculiar way you weren’t expecting? What happened in that moment? How did it change you?

I think it would be fair to say the person who changed my life most radically in an unexpected way is my wife. She’s really the reason why I started traveling when I did and living / working overseas. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been one hell of a ride.

15.) The Finali Question: Do you believe that the person reading this interview right now can change the world? What one-sentence message would you leave them with as they contemplate the very concept?

Many people who made the most radical, lasting impacts upon the world had no special means or privilege or experience. All they had was an unshakable purpose and the courage to carry it through. Empires have been built from nothing. History has been changed by a few fervent champions of an idea.

What I believe about you doesn’t matter. What you believe about yourself is what will determine the course of your life. Some of the wisest and most inspiring words I’ve heard are these of Anais Nin:

Life shrinks and expands in proportion to one’s courage.

So there you have it my friends. Check out Lach’s awesome blog, The Art of Audacity or give him a shout out on Twitter at @Lachlancotter and tell him the Smart & Sexy Love Child sent you  😉

In the meantime, let’s put Lach in the hot seat.. have any questions for him? Share your Qs and or/ thoughts & insights in the comments!

1.) What about travel & exploring the world turns you on?

There’s a tremendous sense of freedom that you experience traveling in far-away and unfamiliar places. We all tend to get into routines when we stay in one place or one situation long enough (like more than six months) which eventually leads to apathy. When you’re someplace new and unfamiliar, the whole world feels different. Your sense are heightened, you feel more energized, everyday is a new adventure. Plus there’s the thrill of discovering exotic cultures and country. It awes you and stretches you.

2.) The Personality Question: The If you were a star trek (or star wars) character, which one would you be? What event, trait, etc makes you want to be them?

I think I most identify with Picard. Part adventurer, part philosopher. He’s a strong leader, but in solitude he’s extremely introspective and soulful. The stories are about adventures on the “final frontier”, but really Star Trek is about exploring our humanity, and I think Picard personifies that.

Plus I just like the idea of saying “Counselor Troi: in my ready room”.
3.) The Sum Yourself Up Question: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, what would the opening scene be? The Title of the movie?
I cannot reveal the title at this time as various studios are still battling for the screen rights. Apparently Hugh Jackman is attached.
4.) The “Lach‘s Blog Is Awesome” Question: So, in 3 sentences what is the Art in the Art of Audacity way of life?
Audacity is about testing boundaries, breaking expectations and facing fears. It’s necessary for the realization of a full and meaningful life because to be self-actualized requires that we push beyond our old limits and create our lives deliberately. The Art of Audacity is the art of self-actualization—the courage to be as you would be; not as others would have you.
5.) The Nobody is Mr. Nice-Guy Questeion: What kind of people do you dislike and wish you could slap without fear of lawsuit?
The following people will not receive Christmas cards this year:
  • Cynical, scowling, immigration officers who automatically think the worst of everybody.
  • The unconscionably rude and obnoxious ticketing officer at the Sydney International Terminal train station.
  • Telemarketers.
  • Anyone who abuses their official powers for the gratification of their own ego.
  • Any company who tries to use their “policy” as an excuse for not serving the customer.
  • Parking inspectors: You were an accident and nobody likes you.
  • Bigots, right wing evangelicals and others who can’t tolerate alternative world views.
Quite honestly though, I’ve got better things to do.
6.) The Job Interview Question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? How will you get there?
  • My Awesome List gives a clue. Almost all of those items should be licked by the end of next year. From there the plan is to more or less repeat the process but with a higher bar. To be honest, I don’t have a single, overarching goal that I’m working on other than expanding my personal comfort zone every way I can push it. I’m certainly open to finding one though. I’m sharing a message about bold self expression. I want to connect with a larger audience via speaking and entrepreneurship so that will be key focus in my life for the next several years.
7.) The Deep Question: What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to overcome in your life, how’d you overcome it & continue to overcome it?
  • Feelings of heartbreak and inadequacy were most painful. But probably the lesson that took me the longest to learn is the importance of honoring who I am and what I want out of life rather than living my life to please other people. All of that took courage. So I think “overcoming” your challenges is either about healing old wounds and learning to value yourself; or it’s about finding a new perspective, a new awareness about your life. Getting past those blocks involved a good deal of introspection—learning to observe emotions without being ruled by them. Meditation helps a lot; as does a trustworthy coach.
8.) The Luvvvv Question: Tell us the story of your first kiss.
I was super shy about romance all the way through school and didn’t really find a girlfriend until after I left. After college I did a bunch of gigs playing piano for a local theatre company—theatre restaurant sort of things. One of the actresses in the show seemed pretty into me, so I eventually got up the courage to ask her out to a movie. I think it was Meet The Parents although I’m kinda hazy on that because we weren’t really watching it, if ya know what I mean. I did meet her parents though.
9.) The Mad To Live Question: What does it take for someone to truly LIVE. Not just exist, but to LIVE.
Living deeply means feeling deeply. The greatness of our lives is proportional to our capacity for passion.
To truly live requires courage. Courage to feel emotions deeply. Courage to be vulnerable, to be awed, to be humble, to be trusting, to be outspoken, to be unique, to be yourself, to surrender yourself.
Courage to step into the unknown.
10.) The Language Barrier Question: What’s your favorite foreign curse word or phrase? Give us a brief dialogue of when you’ve used it in action?
Wow—I’m afraid I’m sadly inadequate in this category. All that comes to mind is the French: Merde! It’s good for all occasions, really. In Thai about as vulgar as I get is: bah! ning nong jing jing. Which means something like: “you’re crazy” or “you’re talking nonsense”. I say it to my wife a lot.
11.) The “Spin the Earth” Question: On your Awesome List you mention playing Spin The Planet. Tell us how the game works. When are you going to do it?!
Spin the Planet is a party game for serious adventurers. You’ve seen cartoons where they spin a globe of the earth and stop it with a finger to choose some random locale…
The idea is you select a totally random destination somewhere on the planet and then you must purchase a plane ticket for it that day scheduled to depart at very short notice (like the same week). There are a few caveats worth mentioning however. Obviously for a lot of countries there are visa requirements which take longer to sort out, so if you hit on one of those you need to re-spin or find the nearest accessible country.
After thinking further about the practicalities of that selection method I realize it admits some biases. Now I’m thinking a better method is to have a flat map of the earth on a pin board and throw a dart at it blindfolded after being disoriented somehow (like pin the tail on the donkey).
I haven’t set a date for this challenge yet. However I’m in the process of planning another travel related challenge at the moment.
12.) The Role Model Question: Who are your mentors in the following areas (they can be people, cartoons, bloggers, entrepreneurs, imaginary friends, etc):
a.) Lifestyle Design
Tim Ferriss—the obvious answer, but he did write the book on it.
b.) Entrepreneurship
Richard Branson—surely the hippest entrepreneur and multi-millionaire in the history of the world. He’s audacity personified.
Dan Andrews—his lifestyle business podcast is hands down one of the best resources for lifestyle designers digital entrepreneurs anywhere—love his energy.
c.) Travel Mentality / Style
Jeremy Clarkson—side-splittingly funny presenter. The Top Gear travel specials are amazingly good fun. Jeremy may just have the best job in the entire world.
Ewan McGregor—circumnavigated the globe on a motorcycle. What a dude.
13.) The Most Important Question Ever: What do you think about that blogger chick Lauren Rains? She coo’? 😉
It’s like Smart and Sexy had a love child.
14.) The Change Question: Has anybody ever changed your life in a peculiar way you weren’t expecting? What happened in that moment? How did it change you?
I think it would be fair to say the person who changed my life most radically in an unexpected way is my wife. She’s really the reason why I started traveling when I did and living / working overseas. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been one hell of a ride.
15.) The Finali Question: Do you believe that the person reading this interview right now can change the world? What one-sentence message would you leave them with as they contemplate the very concept?
Many people who made the most radical, lasting impacts upon the world had no special means or privilege or experience. All they had was an unshakable purpose and the courage to carry it through. Empires have been built from nothing. History has been changed by a few fervent champions of an idea.
What I believe about you doesn’t matter. What you believe about yourself is what will determine the course of your life. Some of the wisest and most inspiring words I’ve heard are these of Anais Nin:
Life shrinks and expands in proportion to one’s courage.

About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives.

Share with me what you're getting into that matters to you. It could be stepping into entrepreneurial pursuits, embarking on a journey of the self, making a crazy life change, or even if you're totally stuck. I want to connect with, support, collaborate with, and learn from as many people as possible through this blog (that means you!) Click the *Share* link in the main menu and let's connect by filling out the form.

"What you seek is seeking you."

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About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives. Share with me what you're getting into that matters to you. It could be stepping into entrepreneurial pursuits, embarking on a journey of the self, making a crazy life change, or even if you're totally stuck. I want to connect with, support, collaborate with, and learn from as many people as possible through this blog (that means you!) Click the *Share* link in the main menu and let's connect by filling out the form. "What you seek is seeking you."

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  • Ya it’s not secret I am part of a growing fan base that has a net-crush on Lach and his awesome site! Loved the interview Lauren, it’s cool to see two of my fave bloggers interact on a post! 🙂

    • Hey Shannyn!
      Haha I love net-crushes! Lach is such a great, kind, inspiring guy I am not even surprised haha 🙂
      It’s great to connect with you Shannyn! (I like how you spell your name btw! 🙂
      Thanks for your kind words!
      Laur 🙂

      • Who’s your net-crush then, Laur?

        • C’mon Laur. You know it’s between Collin Vine and myself. Must we duel for your e-love?

          • hahhaa Dan you are so awesome! I am so torn… E-love is such an unstoppable force! LOL

          • Skype orgy?

  • Loved this interview. It takes skill to interview someone with creative questions. Something I haven’t learned yet.

    Seen you oot and aboot on Twitter, glad I stopped in to finally take a long read. Will be back! 🙂

    • Hey!! You know what? Creating a good set of interview questions is a lot harder than I thought! So, I am really happy to hear that because it means that I passed my challenge!
      I’ve seen you around on Twitter too and so I’m super happy to have you here! Thanks for stopping by! And I of course will see ya around! 🙂
      – Laur

    • Absolutely right Jeannie. Some of these caught me by surprise alright. It’s a good interviewer who teases out things you didn’t even know about yourself. Am I imagining things or did you just give your blog a complete make-over. Looking hawt!

      • Oh, that makeover happened a few months ago, but I’m glad she still looks fresh and hawt. 🙂

  • Two of my favorites on the web, together on one maddeningly mad interview. I loved the set up, Laur.

    Lach: I loved what you said in the job interview question. Life doesn’t need over-arching goals, it needs overarching principals. To my mind life shouldn’t be about setting a big goal like “I want to writer 20 books when I die” but rather “I want to live my life as one who writes consistently and excellently, pushing the boundaries of what it means to be myself.” The things we do are a vehicle of self discovery, not the ends in themselves.

    Be MAD

    • I really like how you articulated this, Dan. I think principles are more important and goals based on arbitrary metrics (like writing 20 books) are silly. That said, I’ve found that having a compelling vision of something specific you want to create in your life—especially something that stretches you past your limits—is hugely valuable because in order to achieve a goal like that you’re forced to expand your consciousness and to grow in ways that you might not without a clear direction. You’re definitely right that the value is in how the process changes you, and not so much the external result.

  • Damn, that’s a lot of great points!

    I loved the answer to the nomad question. There is something about being in a completely unfamiliar place that just energizes you and gives you this sense of vibrance. It really does stretch you by expanding that frame of references.

    But I have to say the winner for me was Lach’s answer to question 9. Courage. It is the essence that pumps vitality into all of our virtues. Without courage our actions would merely remain passive thoughts and hopeful intentions.

    Great idea with this post Laur!

    Cheers!

    • I think Steven Covey said something to the effect that courage is every other virtue pushed to it’s limit. I see where he’s coming but I think of it a little differently. I don’t think it’s so much about being virtuous as simply being real and living on purpose instead of in reaction.

      • Stephen, even. 😛

  • Excellent interview, Lauren, you did a great job with the questions and making Lach think hard. “Smart and sexy had a love child”…I love it 🙂

    “What I believe about you doesn’t matter. What you believe about yourself is what will determine the course of your life.” Lach, this is one of many reasons I’m so glad to have gotten to know you. Worrying about what others think takes so much energy and is so detrimental, and unearthing what I believe about myself is getting me on the right road. You have a real gift for helping others see those things.

    Here’s a question: why do you think people so quickly and automatically find the negative in themselves and others, when there are so many good things in there as well? Why don’t the positive aspects “stick” as tenaciously as the negative ones?

    Thanks again both of you for one of my fave posts this week!

    • Thanks for your kind words of support, as always, Laurie! And great question, I’ve asked myself that many times. The main reason is that it’s easier to repeat old, established patterns than it is to train new ones. It’s not because negativity is inherently easier; it’s simply because in most people, it’s more practiced. It’s equally possible to train a more positive set point which, when practiced enough makes you inclined to find those positive aspects by default rather than the negative ones. But until you’ve programmed the habit enough, it takes more effort.

      What often triggers the negative thoughts in the first place is some fear or hurt or judgement we have in ourselves that we project out onto another person. So, working to heal those things in your own life makes it increasingly easier to stay in positive emotions / thoughts more often.

  • My world…”Shrinks and Expands based on courage” I LOVED THAT… So true, that is why I do these dumb comfort challenges… It is like Courage strength training, getting me ready for a bigger battle…

    You ROCK GIRL, I just grabbed your RSS cause I can’t miss a MAD thing you say!!!

  • By the way, Laur. Am I supposed to be the pig, or the toddler?

  • What a cool dude! LOVE the idea of the map and darts… I am hoping to play that one day in the next year or two (pause and write it down on my list). Been thinking about life and living a lot lately, loving my time catching up on your posts. We vibe and I have to meet you in PERSON sometime soon! I feel we would have long walks on the beach and totally figure out life in the most fun way ever. Thank you for being such an inspiring and fun person to turn to when I feel like I’m not quite mad enough : ) Much Love chica!

    • Hey Kristin! THank you so much you rock!!! I appreciate your support in so many ways! You are freaking cool as hell!!! ANd stay tuned b/c I have some exciting components I’ll b dding to this!
      – Laur 🙂

  • Dan

    Lach, dude, I had no idea I was on your the shit list until now! We need to hang… 🙂

  • What an awesome interview! This is the kind of interview I actually enjoy reading…creative questions lead to creative answers.