I remember going to the school book fair’s when I was in elementary school.
I used to love having a couple of bucks to invest into my early self-education, whether I bought a new book or a few cools pens or pencils to write with.
One of my favorite types of books to look for at the sale were those ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books.
You know the ones, where you get to a ‘fork’ and then it gives you the choice to turn to page x or page y depending on what direction you wanted to go.
It’s a brilliant idea.
You could essentially read the book dozens of times and never read the same book. I am not sure if they even make those books anymore, heck, I am not even sure if they have school books sales any more.
By the way, even as an adult, a book must be read multiple times (up to 10) to fully grasp it. And I am not talking about the choose your adventure books, I am talking about normal books. You are better off reading 5 books ten times each until it becomes a part of you, rather than reading 50 books.
Back to the point.
Your life is a real version of ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’. However, most people don’t realize this fact. They think that life is what it is. What a sad mistake to make. A mistake that has led to billions of wasted, unused potential LIFE.
But it’s up to you, the individual to learn and internalize the fact that life can be what you want it to be. We aren’t taught this in school. Why you might ask?
School wasn’t designed to create dreamers and rebels. It was designed in its current format to fill the needs of people like Carnegie and Rockefeller. Moguls and giants of industry and believe me, I am not hating here, but they were very influential in creating the modern-day school system that was made to create ‘worker bees’.
The masses just go along with the flow. Worker bees are taught to stay in line, do their job, don’t question the higher ups and kind of go through the motions.
Remember that I myself was a public-school teacher for 7 years and I come from a family of teachers. Devon was even named the teacher of the year a few years back in Bridgewater, a HUGE school district.
So this is not a slight to teachers. Their hands are tied. The great teachers though inspire and encourage dreaming in their students.
When I made the decision to resign from a job I loved in 2012, which literally brought me to tears many days, a lot of the third graders didn’t understand why I was leaving them.
They started a petition to make me stay. And it was rough because it was like a slow march to death of sorts. I didn’t just cut the cord. I put in my letter, ironically enough, the Friday afternoon before Hurricane Sandy ripped the literal roof off of Newell Strength, which was in late October of that year.
I had to go 2 more months until the winter break to fulfill my obligation of 60 days’ notice.
The third graders persisted in their efforts though. So one day, I took a group of four of them aside and said, ‘Guys, what is the one lesson I have always taught you each lesson, from day one of the school year?’
They thought for a few moments and then Gia, one of my all-time favorite students said, ‘That we could do anything we want to do in life and that if we have a dream, we must go for it, all out.’
Not bad for a third-graderJ.
Turns out that they were paying attention.
I replied, ‘Exactly! The greatest lesson I could ever give you guys is what I am doing. I didn’t just tell you to go for your dreams, I am going for my dreams too. I am living the example of what I want you guys to do one day.’
The look of ‘got it’ came across their faces. And that was that for the next few weeks. We enjoyed each other’s company but they now knew that there was no going back for me.
If you are one of the 99% of the ‘walking dead’, and I do say that affectionately, it’s time to wake the hell up.
And I am not kidding about being affectionate and compassionate towards the 99%. I know part of my mission in life is to inspire people to step into their greatness. I have a different relationship with the people that are already living their dreams, we mastermind together, we chat and we inspire each other, let each other know that we aren’t on this path alone.
Before you step onto this path, I want to warn you that it is the ‘loneliest planet in the galaxy’. Why?
Because, most people won’t get it. They won’t understand why YOU, are taking such a risk. Why YOU are getting up an hour early to work on your passion.
Heck, even some family and friends will secretly want you to feel. It’s a secret to them though too because it’s not consciously thought on their end. But you will become a walking example of what’s possible in life. And you know what that does to other people?
It reminds them, deep in their subconscious, that they aren’t living the life of their dreams. And if they aren’t, then why the hell should you have the right to live your dream? Who gave you that right?
Remember though that it’s not personal nor even logically thought about on their part.
When I was in the midst of making the decision to resign from my ‘cushy’ job, 99% of the people told me I was nuts, I would regret it, I was making a mistake and that I was flat out stupid.
But the 1% believed in me, Devon and my brothers and most importantly myself. I knew that if I failed, I was still going to be in the game.
I wasn’t going to curl up in the corner and starve to death. That is a paradigm shift in thinking for most people. This fear that you may have about stepping out the limb of life is an illusion.
Your brain is hard-wired to think this way, so you must re-wire it. The first thought one has when stepping out their comfort zone or in the case of a career, a secure paycheck, is the lack of security.
The thought of, ‘Wow, if I don’t make it, no more money will be coming in and me and my family will starve to death.’ That is coming from your emotional brain though. When fear strikes, we think emotionally and emotional thought is the antithesis to logical thought.
The second factor of fear in these situations is again brought on in a roundabout way by survival. The thought of judgment from people in your life is just too much to bear for most people. If you fail, if you make a mistake, the brain thinks, ‘All these people will be able to tell me that they told me so. They will laugh and revel in my failure. I will have to go find a job with my tail tucked. And I will forever have ‘lost face’ in their eyes’.
Yes, my brain went through all of these thoughts and stages but I made the decision to say F-YOU. Failure isn’t final, it isn’t the end.
Think about this because it was a super powerful thought that kept driving me forward: One day, your kids or grand kids will tell you that they want to be a ball player or an astronaut. And you will tell them to go for it, go for your dreams!
But what if they look at you and say, ‘Why should I listen to you? You didn’t go for you dreams.’
BAM! That would hurt and it would be a painful reminder that they are right.
Listen to me dammit!
You have one life. I don’t care how old you are. I don’t care that you have a wife, 3 kids and a mortgage. Those are all excuses.
And no one said you had to make the jump cold turkey or that you even had to leave the security of your J.O.B. You can stay, that’s fine. But staying does NOT mean that you can’t work on a dream or passion on the side.
Is it writing that you want to attempt? Then make a decision to start writing ‘x’ amount of words per day. Yes, you may have to get up a little earlier or you may have to not watch as much television. Life is about choices and those choices are about how choose to frame each situation and experience.
You are at a critical impasse in your life. The literal fork in the road to decide whether or not you are going to choose your own adventure.
It will not be smooth sailing. The further on the path I go, the more obstacles I have faced. But I wouldn’t give up my freedom to live my life on my terms for anything in the world.
What’s your choice gonna be?