Michael Mol may be a medical doctor, TV presenter and public speaker but he also has a passion for helping people find true significance and a holistic, balanced approach to the world they live in. It goes without saying that he’s passionate about health and fitness as well. His charisma and ‘go for it’ attitude is infectious.
You’re a medical doctor, an executive television producer, presenter, international speaker, business consultant, company director, a husband and father of three. Can you describe yourself in one word?
‘Busy?’ Nah, that’s a false badge of honour that nobody should be flaunting – so what about FOMO (fear of missing out)? Nah, to be driven by fear is no way to live. The most appropriate one word I can think of is… ‘Yes!’ Now when I grow up, I’ve got to learn to say ‘No’.
Health and fitness is becoming more and more ‘popular’. Do you think it’s just a fad for some?
Hope not – if ‘attention to health’ comes and goes like a fashionable trend then we’re all in trouble. No, I think the ‘popularity’ of health has come about because of the quality of information that is now freely available to so many. What was once the exclusive domain of your GP has now become an open book for anyone who can spell google. As a result of this overload of collective enlightenment, we’re forced to listen – and once you’ve heard and understood that being overweight or obese can shorten your life by more than a decade, you’re bound to do something about it. Despite some of the dodgy health information on the web (which means there’s still an important place for your GP) it’s meant that more people are taking responsibility for their own health – and that’s a win in my book because even though I’m your doctor, I’m NOT responsible for your health!
You’re a bit of an adrenalin junkie. What’s the most crazy thing you’ve done?
Skydiving out of a hot air balloon at low altitude was a little whacked, but the craziest thing I’ve done was probably wing-walking on a biplane. It wasn’t just level flying either… try keeping your nerve when your only connection to a plane is a non-slip mat and an old leather belt attached to a strut on the wing of a plane that’s not only flying inverted but doing barrel rolls. My kids were suitably impressed – my life insurance company not!
Any embarrassing moments for you at this year’s Epic?
Just one… and it’s one I dreaded – a visit to Mediclinic under the pretense of catching up with an old friend and colleague Basil Bonner, the chief race doctor, and his dedicated team, only to surreptitiously slink off to the ‘Bum Clinic’ to have a saddle sore treated. I could only face one visit – after that I decided the physical pain was not as bad as the pain of embarrassment. The saddle sore has gone, but the memory remains… what’s the idiom? “Pain is temporary, gory is forever!”
You’re now over 40 (sorry we had to let it be known). What would you still like to achieve in your lifetime?
Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. If I could achieve that I wouldn’t feel over 40! Seriously though, I don’t think that far ahead, I believe God’s created me for a purpose and I get closer to realising that calling by living life one day at a time. In context of the Epic though, an achievement I’ve set my sights on is doing my next Epic with my son Joshua, who’s currently 28 years away from his 40th birthday!
You’re a natural when it comes to public speaking. How do you stay so cool, calm and collected? (We hope you don’t picture everyone naked)
Naked! Never… that would seriously take my attention off the subject I’m addressing (pun intended). As a rule, the more prepared I am, the more calm and collected I am. I also never focus on what people are going to think of me when I stand up to speak, but rather get them to focus on the subject. It’s such a privilege to be given a public platform – what I do with it and what message I share I take very seriously.
Is there anything you’ve wanted to do but just had to back out because it was too scary?
Having a fourth child… seriously though, I’ve never backed out of anything I’ve set my mind to doing – mostly because those kinds of decisions are best made long before you’re standing on the ledge.
How do we teach the next generation about the importance of staying fit and healthy?
We don’t teach them, we show them. My kids will probably remember a total of three or four things that I ever told them, but they’ll never forget how I lived my life – so the best way to engender the importance of a healthy life to the next generation is to live it – and be the role model your kids need (preferably not the roly-poly model).
Taking into account your busy schedule, do you ever have time to relax?
Doing nothing actually stresses me out – so my form of relaxation is an active pursuit of something that gives me a lot of joy… hanging with my family, be it surfing, mountain biking, playing a board game or even having movie nights with them – it’s all relaxing. And when I need to find some alone time, I can lose myself in a personal journal – musing about life, lessons I’ve learned and moments I want to always remember.
Finally, have you ever had any embarrassing on-camera moments?
Sure have, but you won’t see any of them – cause that’s the nature of pre-recording… we get to cut out the fluffs and instead give the impression of a near-perfect performance time and again (usually after take five!). Imagine if real life was like that. Come to think of it, if I could go back and do a few re-takes on my life, I wouldn’t change a thing. No regrets – thank God for that.
Originally published in the May/June 2013 issue.