I was re-watching Fast and Furious 6 the other day to prepare for the final installment of this incredibly entertaining action franchise. If you are are a fan of action you will love these movies: mind-blowing fun.
But Paul Walker was more than an action hero. He was a charitable soul with an inspiring attitude that provides us all with valuable life lessons.
Matt Luber, Paul's longtime manager and close friend, is a client and friend of mine. His relationship with Paul was incredibly strong, and the loss was heartbreaking and devastating.
I talked to Matt about some of the ways that Paul inspired and continues to inspire him in his own life.
Make Family Your Priority
On the way down from our trail runs up Griffith Park, I enjoy talking to Matt about his family. I love hearing about how he is involved coaching soccer and basketball with his kids and how proud of a parent he is. A central theme of the Fast and Furious movies is family, and of being there for your loved ones. I wanted to know if Paul, as part of Matt's extended family, influenced him in regards family life.
"Paul was such a great person. Deep down at his core, he was a really great person and you can't help but be affected by that," Matt explained to me. "In life, you have to prioritize. There is a limited amount of time in each day and we have to make sure the things that really matter sit at the top of that list."
The lesson here: Prioritize the precious.
Go Big or Go Home
Matt is a great pace setter for my boot camp trail running group. The mountains we run at Griffith Park are not easy. I like the way he attacks the runs, and I asked him where he gets that inspiration from.
"When your head leaves the pillow you have to go for it. Sure some days are harder than others. That's life. But you have to make a decision to go for it every single day. One of Paul's favorite motto's was 'Go big or go home.' When he committed to something he was all in and he worked really, really hard."
Life is an Adventure
Paul was an adventurer. He was a self-described adrenaline junkie. But he was not reckless in his thrill seeking. I note that he was not the one driving in the tragic car accident that took his life.
"I've been in a few race cars with Paul. I've been skiing with him. I've been on lots of adventures with him and he was always safe," Matt explained. "He loved adventure but he was a smart guy and would always weigh the danger in what he was doing and never pushed it to where he was putting himself at risk. It was calculated. He was smart in his choices."
Life life to the full -- safely.
I am personally inspired by Paul Walker's philanthropic efforts. As part of a relief team responding to the massive earthquakes that devastated Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, Paul Walker saw a yawning gap between the need and the availability of resources and skilled personnel in post-disaster situations.
Following the trip, he contacted a group of his friends to assist him in forming the charity Reach Out WorldWide with the purpose of filling this unmet need.
"You can't help but be influenced and inspired by that," Matt says of Paul Walker's charitable drive. "It makes me want to do more." Indeed, Matt is currently organizing a Save The Rhino fundraising event.
This great quote from Paul can be found on the site: "When you put goodwill out there, it's amazing what can be accomplished."
When filming Brick Mansions, Paul was suffering from a torn ACL, but he never complained and gritted his teeth and worked through it.
"That word 'tough.' I did an interview about that film once and it was important that that word was included because that is what he was."
Paul was tough, not just on-screen but in dealing with all the adversity that he faced.
Adversity shapes our characters. I've been impressed and proud of with the way Matt has handled the loss of his dear friend. I'm proud of hearing about decisions that enrich his life, that take his life to a deeper level as we pound the trails around Mt. Hollywood. As a fan, I'm touched by Paul's stories. Matt is doing his late friend proud, and being informed and inspired by the qualities that made him special -- that made him family.