Okay gentlemen, we’re all friends here. So I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce a few people. We at Third Millennium Man know these people personally, and we find them to be quite interesting role models. In fact, we’d go as far as to suggest that these guys are some of the coolest guys we know.
How do you define ‘coolest guys’?
An interesting question. For the purposes of this article, we like to think of these men as genuine role-models. We find them to be really inspiring people. They are all great guys, but they all have a particular story to tell.
When Roger Bannister ran a mile in under four minutes, it took the world by storm. Since then, many athletes have run a mile in under four minutes. Breaking new ground is always hard; once something has been done, it is far easier to replicate. Following in somebody’s footsteps is a great way to start any journey, even if you decide to change course at some point.
This brings us, in a roundabout way, to the point of this article.
We at Third Millennium Man are not suggesting for one minute that you become a carbon-copy of any of our ‘coolest guys’. The whole idea is to show you a few illustrations of what can be done. Greatness can be achieved. Quality of life is within your grasp.
That’s the whole concept of Third Millennium Man by the way. We want to bring you the tools, the info, that you need to make that difference.
So what better way, than to give you a few high-quality examples of what can be done? What real people, just like you and I, are doing right now (with one tragic exception).
Just to make things absolutely clear, these are real people. This is not a fictional article. None of our ‘coolest guys’ actually know that Third Millennium Man is writing this piece, and so we will not be mentioning any names. In fact, some of the details have been, erm, seasonally adjusted to protect their identities. The names are NOT important, in any case; what is important to take away from this post is that excellence, success, happiness and quality can be achieved. It is within your grasp.
So please make yourselves comfortable, whilst we introduce you to a few of our friends…
The coolest lifestyle.
The first of our six coolest guys used to work in retail. Trust me, he hated it. He worked in a Building Society branch, which was more or less just selling Savings Accounts, Insurance Policies and such. He used to work in an electrical retail outlet, and didn’t much like that either.
It was the pressure that he didn’t like. He wasn’t a natural salesman. He could quite happily talk to people, he could chat with them comfortably on pretty much any subject – including the product they had come in to look at. It was just the ‘arm-twisting’ as he calls it, that he was uncomfortable with. He didn’t like doing it. If someone clearly didn’t want to buy something, he wouldn’t – indeed, couldn’t – bring himself to try and persuade them otherwise.
Our opinion? He’s just too nice a guy to make it as a cutthroat Salesman.
So what happened to this mediocre salesman? Why is he included as one of our Coolest Guys?
Our friend decided that he wasn’t happy following this particular trade, so he learned another. He went to Evening Classes (that would be ‘nightschool’ to our readers outside the United Kingdom) and learned to cut hair. He trained to be a Barber.
To cut a long story short (and we’re sure there’s a barber’s joke in there somewhere) our friend now owns his own Barbershop. In grey old England? No, he’s on the Mediterranean Coast of Spain. Apparently, Spanish hair needs cutting too.
Down on the Costa Brava are many areas where, except for the highly agreeable weather, you’d think you were in the United Kingdom. Walking around, you hear more English accents than Spanish, and see many high-street names that you are actually surprised to see in another country. These places aren’t actually ‘Spanish’ but boast the highest British expat communities in the world.
This is where he lives. This is where he cuts hair. He owns the barbershop outright. It’s air conditioned, and is just the way you’d imagine a traditional barbershop to look. From the chrome and leather chairs that pump up and down with your foot, to the mirrors, to the sports memorabilia decorating the walls and the bottles and jars of manly stuff that he sells, you’d think you were in London. Until somebody walks in and lets the heat in, anyway. There’s even the customary red-and-white pole outside. Come in and take a seat; help yourself to a coffee from the machine, and grab one of the newspapers he has delivered daily, and take a seat while you wait. No appointment necessary.
Why is this so good? Because our friend does all of this entirely on his own terms.
He generally opens up the shop before it gets hot. That means around seven o’clock in the morning sometimes, and there are usually a small handful of people waiting for him when he arrives. With a steady flow of regular customers, he’s able to pace himself and offer dry cuts, wet cuts, and shaves at reasonable prices. Later in the morning he stops letting people join the queue. Why?
Because he closes a little after midday. “Mornings are for working” he told us, last time we were there for a shave, trim and a facial, “afternoons are for the beach. Maybe the bar.” Heck, why not? If you earn enough money in the morning, why not spend the afternoon in the sun? Checking out the hot girls in bikinis, with a drink in your hand…
He’s earned enough to own the shop outright. And to own his own impressive villa, with a pool, a citrus orchard and an olive grove; with views of the sea, and the mountains in the distance. He’s invested in some local businesses, with an interest in several bars and restaurants. He rides to work on a scooter, saving the car for the odd occasion. His social circle includes a local fisherman who is happy to swap a fresh (meaning, still wet from the sea) tuna for some tomatoes or a bottle of olive oil. We love being invited to one of his barbeques…
Our friend believes his good fortune should be passed on, which he does by offering positions to young trainees and helping them become established. Partly down to his altruism, though we secretly suspect he’s well aware of the marketing potential of employing beautiful señoritas to cut men’s hair.
So next time you’re slogging away at your desk, or rueing your 48-hour week, just remember; there IS another way, maybe a better way, to earn a living. Our advice is to keep looking.
The coolest Mr Resourceful.
The second of our six coolest guys is a retired builder. That isn’t to say that he’s of retirement age; it just means that he doesn’t need to work anymore.
Our friend used to do bits and pieces for people. You know the kind of thing; the typical mix of bathrooms, kitchens, extensions and garages that provide standard fare for the building trade. He also used to buy patches of land at auction – back before everybody watching Daytime TV caught on to doing it – and build homes on them. Some he would sell; others he would let out to tenants. The biggest plot of land he bought, he built his own house on; a grand six-bedroomed property surrounded by enough land to guarantee privacy. Over the course of a couple of decades, he accumulated a small fortune.
Impressive enough. But that alone isn’t the reason why he’s one of our six coolest guys.
Our builder was taking a break from work, visiting his daughter in Australia. Taking a few months out of the loop, to meet his new grandson. Whilst he was out there, he suffered a heart attack. Which kind of spoiled things a bit.
Upon his return, he decided he’d had enough of working. Building things is pretty hard work when it comes down to it, and he decided, on the advice of his doctor, to take things easy from now on.
The first thing he did was to bisect his garden. Nobody needs a lawn the size of a soccer pitch (well, maybe soccer players might do) but he put a high wooden fence across it, still keeping a generous portion of ground for himself but cutting off several acres of excess.
He sold that excess portion of his garden to another builder. Yes there are people the other side of that fence now, but you’d never know it. Especially with all the tall conifers that have been planted to hide the fence. He never told us, but we suspect he received a generous six, possibly seven, figure sum for that land.
Still nothing remarkable about that. We can probably name another dozen or so guys who have done exactly the same. What gets our ex-builder friend his ‘coolest guy’ status is how he busies himself nowadays.
Still having the creative spirit of a builder, he decided that he needed somewhere to work. So he built what he calls ‘the Shed’. Only it’s not a shed. It’s a huge, two-story double garage, quite near his house. It’s big enough to keep all his vehicles in; he also does all his woodwork upstairs, using a winch to transport bits up and down through a trap door, and he uses the downstairs to do all his metalwork – welding and so on – and to maintain his vehicles over the service pit.
Several months passed between the last time I saw him and the next time. In that period, somebody had given him a car; an elderly MOT failure that wasn’t allowed on the road any more. Only he didn’t need a car. He needed a tractor. So he made a tractor, out of the car.
The conifers along the eastern side of his garden were getting tall. So tall that he could no longer get the morning light in his kitchen. So he made an attachment for his tractor, which held the trunk of a conifer in place while he cut it at ground level with a chainsaw. (After the first tree he noticed that the tractor was in danger of tipping over. So he took the tractor back into the shed, where it emerged a few days later with the engine lump at the rear, not at the front). Before long he had chopped down the entire line of tall conifers – and made a wooden fence, entirely from the trees he had just felled. It looked a professional job, and indeed it was. I nearly drove past the place, I didn’t recognise it.
By now, you’re getting an idea of how resourceful our friend is. We’re talking about somebody who had a tenant leave one of his properties, leaving behind a set of bunk beds which they couldn’t take with them. Our friend took them into the shed, and made them into new bespoke kitchen units. Somebody gave him some wardrobes and a bed, he turned them down on his lathe and made a new galleried landing and bannister for his house.
He’s got a load of new planters around his garden. They used to be hot water tanks. He bought a load of old uPVC double-glazed units from a bankrupt company, and made some of the biggest and best quality greenhouses I’ve ever seen.
We are not talking about stuff that’s hammered together. He seems to have a magic touch, so that his handiwork always looks like he’s hired skilled professionals. His imagination, the way in which he can see something new in what he’s been given, are a true inspiration.
I saw him again recently. He proudly showed me his latest little project.
Having acquired some more uPVC units, he has now built himself a little conservatory. I say little conservatory, it actually runs along two sides of his house, and almost reaches the huge conservatory he already built just a few years ago. It looks the business, with polished granite tiles which he cut to the exact size and pattern he required. The only clue that he had done it himself? There were two doors in the conservatory leading to the outside, plus a new uPVC door he’d fitted between his kitchen and the conservatory. All three doors had letterboxes. I jokingly said that he must get a lot of post. I went back a week later, and all the letterboxes had been replaced with some smooth uPVC he’d had in the shed. You’d never know; it was the kind of quality workmanship people are prepared to pay a fortune for.
And our resourceful, creative, imaginative ex-builder friend just does stuff like this to fill his day. It’s effortless to him. Which is why he is one of the six coolest guys we know.
The coolest Creator.
The third of our coolest guys that we know is just an amazing guy.
What do you do for a living? What does it say on your business card? On friend number three’s, it says ‘Inventor’.
I knew this guy’s son first. He was a bit of a strange character – into loud heavy music, weed, and borderline anorexic girls – but we got along OK. I had a nice company car, and I’d always pick him up and drive him around if I saw him hitchhiking.
One day I had a callout to repair some equipment for a small business nearby. Whilst I was there, it transpired that I was actually talking to my friend’s dad. It turned out that the apple hadn’t fallen that far from the tree, and his dad was actually a really decent guy too. We got talking about, you know, business and things, and that’s when I found out he was an Inventor. An Inventor with a tale to tell.
He had already invented a few bits and pieces. The widget inside canned beer, the grass-compacting lawnmower, and one or two other mechanical items. One day he was flying back from the USA after selling another successful invention. He was sitting next to another gentleman, and they got talking.
It turns out that the gentleman in the next seat was a European. A chap quite high up in some kind of a pharmaceutical and chemicals company. He was quite interested in our friend, and asked for his business card.
A few days later, there was a fax and a phone call from the gentleman. Would he be able to come over to Germany and discuss a particular problem they were having?
Being self-employed and always on the lookout for new business, he naturally said yes. There was palpable relief from the caller, who said that a taxi would pick him up early tomorrow morning to take him to a chartered jet which would be waiting for him. Not your typical day then.
One taxi ride, plane journey, slap-up breakfast and limousine ride later, he was in the vast office of the man he had met on the transatlantic flight. It turns out, he had a bit of a problem.
One of the spheres of interest for this company is that of livestock vaccines. The trouble is, some animals have such thick skin, that a standard hypodermic syringe tends to break in the animal, who isn’t really that keen on being injected anyway. By the time you have injected your entire herd, drove or flock, you’ve broken a boxful of syringes, injured a bunch of animals, and coated yourself in vaccine. Far from ideal. So, mister Inventor – can you help us?
Immediately, he said yes. The gentleman shook our friend’s hand, and gave him an advance cheque of £25,000.
Our friend designed the device, on a napkin, on the flight home. He spent the next few months perfecting the device and making prototypes. He bought a load of leather-soled shoes. If the device can work through the sole of a shoe, it can work through animal skin.
What the device is, what it does, I am not going to tell you. We’ve got little things like an infringement of copyright to worry about, especially if I tell you that the project was a success and they ended up paying my friend SEVENTEEN MILLION POUNDS for the rights.
He’s one of our coolest guys alright. As well as one of the richest self-made men we know. Whenever I see him (I still keep in touch with his son) I hear about what he’s working on next. It always leaves me wondering, “What can I invent? Come on brain, think of something!” He is a definition of the word ‘inspirational’.
The last time we met, he had bought some of the rights to his invention back again and had set up a new company employing fifty or so people. In this era of cross-contamination in hospitals from used syringes, he can see an opening for something new. He might well be a multi-millionaire now, but he keeps on going. He does it because he loves it.
Even now, as I’m writing this – sitting here at my computer – at the back of my mind I’m thinking, “Surely there’s something I can invent!” I find this cool guy so inspirational, maybe you’re thinking the same thing too.
The coolest Artiste.
Now, this guy. This guy really IS cool. I said at the beginning that we are not about to reveal anybody’s name. But the chances are that, if you listen to pop or rock music, you’ll have heard this guy. But, you may not have heard of him.
This fine chap didn’t really excel himself at school. He was way too busy with his musical instrument. And you know what? He actually got to be really good at it.
How good? Well, he was playing in pub bands as soon as he was legally old enough to be allowed onto the premises. He didn’t study for a ‘proper’ job at college, but went to Music College and did well there. He earned enough playing pub gigs to support himself during this time, and ended up playing his instrument for a living.
He first came onto the Third Millennium Man radar when his band was playing at a pub near us, a good twenty years or so ago. We are all musicians, and we wondered if this guy was the editor of the Techniques magazine we picked up every month, or just had the same name. Thirty seconds into the show, we knew; this man has an absolutely blistering technique with his instrument, and blows you away. Good, loud, million-notes-a-second rock and roll. And as we found out over the intervening years, a really decent, down-to-earth guy too. Top chap.
During this time, he’s backed up his magazine work with a few books and self-produced CDs which he’s recorded at his own studio. We’re not talking a home studio based on a cheap cassette tape by the way; we’re talking, state-of-the-art, digital multitrack. We’re talking about household names in music, dropping in for a visit. We’re talking about charting albums being recorded here. We’re talking about a professional studio, in his home.
He’s been involved in the design of musical instruments and their associated products. He’s got endorsement deals. He’s recently come back from the USA where a high-end instrument manufacturer made him a free one, and gave it to him. For the second time.
We went to see a well-known show in London’s west end. He was playing in, and controlling, the orchestra pit. When the show ended, they took it on the road, all over the world. He was playing, centre-stage, to packed stadiums.
All this, while remaining a thoroughly decent man, who always remembers your birthday and ‘likes’ pictures of your kids on Facebook. He’s a fellow Curry fanatic, which might be another reason we get along so well.
Why isn’t this guy famous, we often wonder. He is, without any shadow of doubt, possibly the best player of his chosen instrument in the UK right now. Maybe even the whole world.
Maybe it’s because he’s happy doing what he’s doing? Maybe it’s because he’s recently married a sweetheart of a young lady and doesn’t want celebrity status fouling things up.
In any event, this guy is a diamond. If you’ve worked out who this is, please keep it to yourself; he won’t be very happy about it, and you’d be missing the point of this entire article. The whole point of this is to show you some of the guys we know who have risen to the top of what they do. They love doing what they do. They have found their niche. And you know what? You can too. Use these guys as an inspiration, and go for it yourself.
The coolest Adventurer.
Can I just take this opportunity to remind you, we are talking about real people here, right? These guys actually do exist. I’m just saying this because the next man in our list of coolest guys we know might stretch your belief a bit. You’ve been warned.
We know this next man through his Dad and his Uncle, two very fine and upstanding gentlemen indeed. I met this young man, the next candidate on our coolest guys list, at a family barbeque to which I was also invited.
So here’s his story in a nutshell. As a young man he did the usual boyhood thing of going to Scouts, before enrolling in a Diploma in Public Services at his local Sixth-Form Centre. This to those of you who don’t know, is probably the coolest college course there is. A student gets his three ‘A’ level equivalents to access University (which are three pretty heavyweight subjects such as Law, English Language, History) as well as the ECDL qualification (a piece of paper that says you can use Microsoft Office to a high standard). Fairly run off the mill; but as it’s the ‘public services’ our Adventurer also got to go on exercise with the Army, on board a real Aircraft Carrier, offshore with the RNLI lifeboats, plus a load of other fun things like abseiling, rock climbing, canoeing and basic wilderness survival. Yeah, it beats a two-year diploma in a sterile old classroom, doesn’t it…
After that it got even better. He joined Sandhurst Academy to become an Officer in the British Army. That was the plan, anyway. Because it was while he was being assessed at Sandhurst that they noticed for the first time his great propensity for languages.
Skip forward a few years, and we have a young man with a chestful of medals from the Afghanistan conflict. He’s one of the team that snuck way behind enemy lines to converse in secret with Tribal elders, with only a crack team of SAS elite guys to protect him.
He showed me and his father and uncle some of the footage from his Helmet Camera on his laptop. Not that much to see (it was under the cover of night) except for the odd massive bang and flash here and there, with the sound of machine gun fire and desperate voices coming from all sides. Not your average ‘what I did on my holidays’ video. The bit that sticks in my mind was the SAS Commander shouting “Just checking for survivors, Sir!” to him; then sporadic gunfire; then “No survivors. Sir! Move on!” Rather them than me. God bless our soldiers, is all I can say.
He gets sent all over the place. He’s parachuted in to Africa and the Middle East to consult with inaccessible leaders. When he’s not doing stuff like that, he gets to go sailing with his SAS mates, or skiing across Antarctica with the Coldstream Guards, or fencing or shooting or playing polo with royalty. He’s got the best photo album I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen quite a few. The jungle, the desert, the packed cities of the Far East; he goes all over the place. What a life….
Last time we met, he was a little perplexed though. He earns really good money as an Army Captain (somewhere around £40,000 – £60,000 we’d guess) which is a lot as a 25 year-old. The thing is, he’s been invited to work for Government Intelligence (think along the lines of James Bond) for a heck of a lot more money. He’d retire before middle age as an extremely wealthy man. It would mean an end to all the Army high-jinks though; nowhere near as much adventure. If it was you, what would you choose?
I have no idea how the story ended. I heard that he still hadn’t made his mind up, but that was some months ago. But what a heck of a choice – all the money you’d ever need, or all the adventure you’d ever need. What an excellent dilemma!
I have my suspicions that he’s going to stay in the Army, but get promoted yet again. He’s too good for them to lose, I suppose. All I know is that he’s at home right now. And home happens to be in South America with his gorgeous girlfriend and their two kids.
By the way, his age isn’t a misprint. He is twenty-five years old. And deserves to be one of our six coolest guys. Don’t you think?
The coolest Explorer.
The last in our list of six coolest guys is a gentleman who happens to be no longer with us. His story as it relates to this piece remains a good one though, and he died while doing something that he loved doing. If that isn’t cool in the extreme, I don’t know what is.
Our Explorer had what we at Third Millennium Man universally agree is one of the best jobs we’ve heard about. Allow me to describe to you a typical day.
Our late friend used to write Travel Guides. The cheap paperback ‘Lonely Planet’ or ‘Rough Guide’ type of things. He’d be sitting at home, maybe in his Study, when an email would arrive from his Editor. “The guide to Malta is out of date” would say the email. “Go and revise it. Your deadline is in three months.”
So he’d pack a bag, book a ticket, and go there. And once he’s there, it’s his job to try every restaurant, visit every beach, stay in nice hotels and try every Theme Park. As it’s a business trip of course, everything is a legitimate business expense. So he gets to do all this stuff for free – while being paid, and while getting a sun tan. He’d take a nice Canon DSLR and pocket a photographer’s fee as well. Not having kids to worry about, his wife would often accompany him depending upon her own work commitments. At the end of it all he’d write it all up on his Macbook, send it all in, and be rewarded handsomely.
What would he do while in between assignments? Oh, just publish a few really good books here and there. And write a regular restaurant review column in a national broadsheet newspaper.
Did I mention his Study? It must be nice to sit at a huge antique leather-topped Partners Desk in your Study, surrounded by loads of gold discs from when you were in a band many moons ago. We at Third Millennium Man wouldn’t know what that feels like. He also used to make the best coffee ever, from this strange-looking machine that made one cup at a time, made a little bit of a mess and needed to be cleaned thoroughly after each individual brew. Labour intensive, but seriously, seriously good coffee.
Our friend’s passing is something that we are still coming to terms with at Third Millennium Man. His advice on writing, while I was learning my craft, still touches what I do, even while writing this. He was never too busy to help others. Never too important to speak with the little people. He is deservedly on our list of coolest guys. On behalf of us all at Third Millennium Man, old friend, THANK YOU.
Yes, it was a long post, wasn’t it. There’s a lot to pack in there. These six guys are like superstars to us at Third Millennium Man. Not that we are teenage girls or anything. We haven’t got posters adorning walls of these gentlemen. They have a higher purpose than that.
We believe that every man aspires, or ought to aspire, to do well. For himself. For his family. For those folks who are important to him. What do we mean by ‘do well’? That’s down to the individual. It’s down to him and whatever principles he holds dear. And we see it as our role at Third Millennium Man to assist you gentlemen as well as we can to help you along on your journey to greatness.
These six men, the six coolest guys we know, are there as a reminder. They are there as a kind of a signpost. Not so that you can follow directly in their footsteps, but to encourage you the reader to read their stories and feel inspired.
So go on – be inspired. Go on to do great, wonderful things. Brilliance awaits.
We would absolutely love to hear from anyone that’s been prodded into action by this piece of writing. Why not leave a few words in the Comments box below? Or even better, drop us a line with the Contact Us page? That would absolutely make our day – to rewrite this article, because someone that’s read this has gone on to do great, wondrous things. Suddenly we’ve got more than just six coolest guys to write about!