Pat Divilly is a speaker, Author and Podcaster from Galway, Ireland who shares ideas, insights and exercises to support people with their physical, mental and emotional wellness. After initially getting his start in the fitness industry Pat began picking up a selection of tools and modalities to provide a more holistic approach to wellness. He now teaches meditation and provides workshops around energy and stress management, resilience, improved communication and self inquiry. Pat is passionate about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, sea swimming and travel.

Pat, what is your ethos?

The three values I try to lead my life with are curiosity, compassionate and playfulness. So curiosity to me is about not living within a box, not living within the confines of how I currently see myself. It’s about being willing to question and challenge my stories about myself and about the world, and being willing to challenge my assumptions, beliefs and judgments and stay curious and open to learning about myself, about other people and about the world. Compassion is about being kind to myself and being kind to other people. Its about not boxing myself off or judging myself for judging other people because they don’t live up to or I don’t live up to my expectations. Finally playfulness is about maintaining that childlike curiosity and spontaneity that we have before the world hardens us. I want to keep that playfulness of being in the present moment and not being stuck in the future or the past. It’s about not being confined by the head and living from the heart, which I think has a lot to do with playfulness.

What brings energy into your day?

I think I’m fortunate in that a lot of the different parts of my day are energizing. I get to do a lot of what I love in my day and I’m grateful for that, so my work is something that really energizes me. I speak, I teach meditation, I coach, I record podcasts, I write books and all of that is around helping people with things that I’m also passionate about. So again, meditation, journaling, self-awareness, self-inquiry psychology, all these different things that I’m really fascinated with and I get to share with other people. Sea swimming, jiu-jitsu, traveling, the conversations I get to have with other people on my podcast, interactions I have with friends and family. There’s lots of things in life, thankfully, that that energize me.

What is the biggest challenge in your life right now?

I think my biggest challenge is just the lack of freedom to socialize and to connect in person with people. Pre COVID I was probably traveling three to four months a year, meeting new people, going on adventures, climbing mountains, going on expeditions. I was training jujitsu five days a week and my work was mainly speaking on stage. I was meeting a couple of hundred people a month at talks and seminars. That’s obviously all changed to meeting very few people over the last year. The biggest challenge is missing that in-person, human element of life.

Do you have a ritual you practice for achieving a positive mental state?

I have a lot of rituals for trying to attain and maintain positive mental health. Journaling and meditation are the two fundamental steps and processes for me on a daily basis. Meditation allows me to slow down the car. This is an expression that I use because life gets fast, sometimes the mind gets fast. Meditation to me feels like slowing everything down and getting back in control. Journalling is about seeing my patterns, cycles and assumptions and seeing my judgments, the madness of my mind on paper and allowing myself to make sense of the thousands of thoughts that I have every day and recognize where I’m living on autopilot and where I want to create of changes in my life.

Where are you most at peace or in flow?

I would say I’m most at peace or in flow when I’m on stage, when I’m sharing something I’m passionate about. I love learning and I love teaching what I’m learning. My process is to study different courses, books and processes and learn from different people. I then really try and go live those experiences and then stand on stage and share my own perspective or my own experience of the learning. So when I’m on stage time tends to disappear for me and I feel very much in the moment, not in the future of the past, but very much in the present.

Pat Divilly
Are you a spiritual person? Have you a take on life’s meaning?

Yes I am a spiritual person. I believe there’s something there that’s looking out for us, that’s keeping us going, that has our heart beating in the background without us having to think about it, that has us breathing without us having to think about it. My belief in life is that we’ve all got a unique path and you have to be honest with yourself about your path. That honesty is a case of listening to your inner voice and then acting on what the inner voice tells you and doing that consistently. So that you can trailblaze, do your own thing and not get caught in trying to live someone else’s life.

I think you can only really come from a place of giving and serving other people by first serving yourself. Serving yourself is about listening and acting on that. So I think the meaning of life is to listen to your inner calling, to act on it and then from that place, you can help other people do similar.

Are you a happy person Pat?

I think I’m a much happier person today than I was a couple of years ago. I now consider myself a happy person. Happiness to me is about letting go of expectations and accepting life as it is and not fighting with reality. I know some of my least happiest times in life have been the times where I have fought with reality or I’ve tried to change things that are outside of my control. So I’ve tried to change other people. I’ve tried to change the external world. Happiness to me is about coming back to yourself and checking your assumptions, checking your own judgments and changing your perspective rather than trying to change things outside of yourself. I think that’s what happiness is. Happiness is largely about acceptance.

Is your life controlled or affected by fear in any way?

I would say for a long period, my life was largely run by my fear of what other people thought of me. I feel like I’ve gotten past a lot of that. I’m sure there’s still remnants of it there. I’m not overly impacted by the effects of fear, but I definitely have been in the past. Fear of judgment would have been my biggest fear in life and probably still is.

What do you love about yourself?

I love my willingness to be wrong, to stay open and stay curious to life. I love that I am humble enough to know that I know very little and I love my willingness to evolve, change and not be confined to a box or feel pressured to have to be a certain way. I let myself go, develop and fail in public and make mistakes and I learn from them. I try not to live the same day repeatedly and call it a life, but live every day like a new day and be willing to expand and grow, learn, develop, fail and challenge and reinvent myself.

What are you most proud of?

I would say I’m most proud of the self-acceptance work that I’ve done over the last 10 years. I achieved a lot of things externally that I always thought would make me happy in terms of business, finance and achievements. But I still wasn’t happy when I achieved all those things. I had to put the work into understanding myself and accepting myself. I had a lot of judgements against myself. I had a lot of self-worth issues and I had a lot of self-esteem issues. I’m most proud of the work that I’ve done in self-acceptance and self-love. I’m also proud of the work I’ve done in meditation, journaling, running around the world, learning from different coaches, seminars, learning psychologies and therapies: all the different things that I’ve done to heal myself.

Pat Divilly
Knowing what you know now, what would you tell a young Pat?

Knowing what I know now I’d probably tell a young Pat the same thing that I think a lot of people would tell their younger selves, it’s a little bit of a cliche, but I think it’s true. It’s not to worry about what other people are thinking about you because they’re probably not thinking about you. So much of my life was limited by the fear of what other people thought of me and the judgements other people had toward me. I’ve come to understand that the judgments we think other people have toward us are really judging us, we have toward ourselves. If I’m afraid to do something because I’m afraid of what you’ll think of me, really, my judgment there is toward myself. What would it mean about me if I was to fail? What would it mean about me if someone else didn’t like me? I tell my younger self accept yourself as you are, let go of all this fear of what other people think of you and recognize that they’re probably not thinking about you.

Who have you learned most from in your life?

I learned the most from my dad in my life. My dad is a stoic, wise, generous and genuine person. Growing up I wanted to know everyone, I wanted to be popular, and I wanted to be externally successful. My dad always encouraged me to have a simple life and lead a simple life. In many ways I went against everything he ever told me. It’s only as I got older that I really came to see the wisdom in the simplicity of how he’s lived and how he’s encouraged me to live.

What’s the next challenge in life that excites you?

The next challenge in life that excites me is a couple of breathwork certification trainings that I’m doing in the coming months. Meditation has had a huge impact on my life over the last four years. I’ve done my meditation teacher trainings and I’m really happy that I’m enjoying teaching meditation now. Breathwork is in some ways even more powerful so I’m becoming certified now as breathwork instructor. That’s something I’m really excited to share, to teach, to lead and to continue to practice in the coming months and years.

Pat runs a number of coaching programs to help you live with purpose. If you’re interested in these, you can check them out on his website here. Pat also runs an incredible podcast where each week he shares simple and practical ideas to help you develop more confidence, clarity and certainty – we highly recommend giving this a listen!

#myethos is a series where we meet with creatives, pioneers and social-change makers (just like Pat!) who either have a unique connection to nature that has fuelled their life ethos, or who are using their talent as a medium for creating positive social impact by empowering others. Follow us on Instagram to hear about more upcoming features.