06/03/2011 08:49 am ET Updated Aug 03, 2011

'Opa!' The Echo of Life!

It was a typical sunny day on the island of Crete, Greece. Just on the outskirts of the small village of Thronos (θρόνος), a father, Lambros, and his young son, Andreas, stop to admire the breathtaking view. Before them lay the majestic peak of Crete's tallest mountain, Mt. Psiloritis (Ψηλορείτης or "high mountain"), and below lay the vast Amari (Αμάρι) Valley. Mt. Psiloritis, also known as Mt. Ida, the "mountain of the goddess," holds a very special place in Greek mythology as the place where Zeus, the king of the gods, was born and raised. The fertile Amari Valley is rich in its own history with deep roots in the ancient Minoan civilization (circa 4,000 BC) and, in more recent times, as the center of resistance to foreign occupations.


Mt. Psiloritis and Amari Valley

Credit: Elaine Dundon

The view is spectacular and it captures both the father's and his son's total attention. As they continue their climb toward the summit of Mt. Psiloritis, the path becomes much more narrow and rugged causing their steps to become smaller and smaller. Suddenly, the young Andreas falls, hurts himself and screams in anguish, "Aaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!" To his surprise, he hears a voice repeating, somewhere in the mountains: "Aaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!" Curious, he yells out: "Who are you?" He receives the answer: "Who are you?" And then he screams to the mountain: "Stop!" He receives the answer: "Stop!" The young son, now confused and afraid, looks to his father and asks: "What's going on?"

Lambros stops and steadies himself against the narrow ridge. He turns to his young son, smiles and says: "Andreas, pay attention." He turns toward the valley and screams: "You are the best!" The mysterious voice answers: "You are the best!" The young boy is surprised but still does not understand, so his father explains: "People call this Echo* (ηχώ meaning "sound"), but really this is Life (ζωή). It gives you back everything you say or do."

This story of Lambros and his son, Andreas, shows us that our lives are simply a reflection of our actions. Life will give us back everything we give to it. Our life is not a mere coincidence -- it's a reflection of us. In other words, if we want more love in the world, we need to create more love in our hearts. If we want a better workplace, we need to offer our own actions and energy to help create this better workplace. If we want better relationships, we must do all we can first to create these better relationships. The Echo relates to everything, to all aspects of life.

Stop and think for a moment. Are you paying attention and listening to your own Echo? Are you stuck in complaining and criticizing others and then surprised when complaining and criticizing comes right back to you? Are you complaining about working with incompetent people and then surprised when someone challenges your own competence?

From what life seems to be calling out to you, what are you first calling out to life? We all know that in order to live healthy lives, full of energy and vibrancy, we first need to stop and reflect on what we are putting out in life...what are we screaming at the mountain and valley and what will be the Echo of our screams?

*In Greek mythology, Echo was a mountain nymph who was punished by Zeus's wife, Hera, by taking away her voice except in foolish repetition of another's shouted words. Thus, all Echo could do was repeat the voice of another.

Dr. Alex Pattakos co-wrote this piece with his partner, Dr. Elaine Dundon. They are the co-founders of The OPA! Way® lifestyle of "Living Your Inner Greece!" which means living all of life to the fullest with Enthusiasm and Meaning. You can find out more about Dr. Pattakos, author of the international bestselling book "Prisoners of Our Thoughts," and Dr. Dundon, author of the international bestselling book, "The Seeds of Innovation," in their HuffPost bio. You are also invited to follow The OPA! Way on Twitter ( and join the OPA! Village (