Life is fast and you are going to die.
The above nine-word sentence is the ultimate fuel for my obsession with “dreamchasing”. I’m going to talk about that today.
Life is brutally fast. If you blink, the entire world can change before your very eyes. In a previous blog post I wrote about the idea of being forced into change. Maybe I said something similar to the following, but there really is no better way to sum up how life moves: It’s fast. There aren’t any timeouts, halftimes, or water breaks.
In fact, I would argue that life is so incredibly fast that we often get caught in a loop. We get sucked into microcosms of self-sustainability. We get trapped into the daily grind to survive — The daily struggle to make ends meet. The expectation to meet your obligations: to pay your mortgage, to have dinner on the table, to support the community.
I would argue that – Friends – most people spend a significant portion of their lives in a channel.
Similar to a current of the ocean, channels are consistent. At times, they can have quick and quirky turns, but – mostly – they are routine. Their routineness is sometimes fun. Yet eventually this subsides, and the growing inescapability of your reality begins to set in. Channels are very difficult to escape.
Before I trudge any deeper, I feel the need to explain myself to a certain extent. If you’ve had a conversation with me in the past year, you probably have observed that I can go a little over-the-top on the whole leadership/FollowYourDreams train. Some people may think that I just don’t understand how the world works, or the immense responsibility that rests with every working parent.
And maybe you’re right to an extent. But I do know how easy it is to get trapped into the daily grind. I’ve watched my mom and dad make sure that breakfast was on the table, work all day long, and spend their evenings scrambling from practice to ball game; only to wake up and do it all over again. For the rest of this blog post I’d like to ask you to put aside your preconceived notions of what it means to be responsible and successful. There’s a quote that I like by Warren Buffett that says: “The chains of habit are too light to be felt, until they are too heavy to be broken.” This applies to channels, just as it does habits. Those who are younger with less responsibility may very well be able to utilize this knowledge of channels better than their parents.
In the exponential age of technology that we are living in today, this is vital information.
So back to the idea of channels.
It’s not that routineness is inherently bad. I have a decently regimented routine that I adhere to. It’s the unhappiness in the routine that bothers me. I don’t subscribe to this idea of “sometimes in life you have to do stuff you don’t like”. I think that’s a very authoritarian and antiquated argument that quite frankly has been proven wrong if you study the mega-successful.
“Hey, mom/dad, did you read Harrison’s latest blog post? He said I never have to do anything I don’t like again…I’ve decided to drop out of high school and drink beer professionally”
Ehhhh… I hope that’s not a conversation that I actually inspire.
Here’s the jest of what I’m saying – You need to quadruple down on your talent and passion. If you hate math, forget math. Learn the basics of algebra (That’s important for everyone to know – I don’t care, if you hate that or not), and spend your newfound time doing what you love.
Obviously, it’s probably not the best idea for this love to be watching Netflix all day. But I’ll give you an idea that’s fairly close to that: make YouTube videos reviewing your favorite shows or movies. The entertainment industry is one that will certainly stick around in the future and there might not be a better way for a person to get started than by making YouTube videos.
So, what’s the benefit of escaping these unhappy channels? (Aside from being happier, obviously)
I’ll talk about that next.
The majority of all channels breed average individuals. And I am absolutely terrified of being average.
I don’t define average by position, salary, or beauty. I don’t define average as the number of vacations you take, the make of the car you drive, or the age that one retires.
I define average by the impact one makes. And I would argue that it’s not really a sequential scale – It’s binary.
Did you seize your opportunity? Or did you let it pass?
Let me explain. First by picking apart what it means to be a “success”.
Some people can skip through life. They can go through the motions, and as long as they don’t break the rules, they “make it”. These people were fortunate to be born to the right family, in the right location. For all practical purposes, they were lucky. However, others face a constant uphill climb – a journey that they themselves did not choose. A number of these folk overcome their circumstance – they also “make it”.
But what about the ones who are still on the hill? What about the single dad who’s having to take care of two kids? When he’s not working and parenting, he’s grasping at lone minutes throughout his day looking to educate himself – looking to climb the ladder. His story will most likely remain untold.
The lucky person – the one who skipped through life – was born in the right circumstances, and simply didn’t break the rules. He’s got the nice car on the corner lot. He’s got a family of four. He’s got a job that makes a lot of money. He’s got a dog. He takes four vacations a year. He might even buy a boat in the fall.
This guy, he’s made it. He’s a success, isn’t he?
Here’s what I think. I think none of that matters. How many lives has “success guy” changed? How does he treat people? What does he do with his money? How does he spend his free time?
Who’s really impressed by the fact that a kid with every opportunity “succeeded” in America?
This guy never ventured off his floor. Did you get that? He didn’t push himself. He’s at the bottom of his imaginary impact graph.
This dude was born with success in his hands — all he had to do was not throw it away. And that’s someone who has “made it”?
I’m not interested in that sort of life. I want to exceed my potential. I want to create so much value in the world that people don’t know what to do with it. It’s not about the money, or the recognition, or a lifestyle for me. It’s about people. I want to see others succeed.
There’s nothing wrong with the “success” guy’s possessions. But life is about so much more than what you have in the bank.
Success isn’t about where you land. It’s about how far you’ve come. It’s your distance, not your destination that determines your success. The benefit of escaping the channels that most people are trapped in is the ability to do something incredibly miraculous. The ability to pursue a dream that most people would deem crazy.
I’ve gotten a little off topic, but this is something that’s important. I believe that no matter where you come from or where you currently are in life you can reach your dreams.
Don’t buy into this scam that you have to be good at this, or that you have to go to that school to “make it”. Write your own story, and follow your own path. I’d encourage you to bring as many people along for the ride as you can – and help them to escape their channels. Because there is nothing worse than working your entire life to support someone else’s dream, just so that you can survive.
That’s all I’ve got for today. I hope you’ll pass this along to someone who needs to read it. All the best.