Someone has to come first.
Someone has to lead the way.
Someone has to start the next Facebook.
Someone has to come up with the cure for Ebola, AIDS and leukaemia.
Someone has to run a 1-minute mile or a 6-second 100 metre sprint or make a trillion dollars or eradicate poverty in Africa or any of the things currently labelled “impossible”.
Someone needs to do those things…why not you?
“I write, I sing, I tell stories, I launch ridiculous projects, I write movies, I dance, I bake cookies, I play air guitar, I do ballet, I play croquet, I build model engines, I take pictures, I climb mountains, I scuba dive, I attempt the impossible, I do what feels scary, I say what I think, I love my family, I stand up for what’s right, I encourage others, I beat box in the subway, I recite Anacreontic poetry, I tell really bad jokes…”
You do all these things (and more). Not so you can get paid, and not because it’s the ‘right’ thing to do. You do them because that’s just what you do. It’s who you are.
With all the opposition and pressure you’re facing, the ultimate defence is heading to the core of who you are, and saying to life:
“This is what I do. Deal with it.”
I’d give you the car, but I’m waiting on you to first say you want it, and then get serious about driving lessons.
I’d give you that life changing meeting, but I saw how you handled getting stuck in traffic and right now this is something you can’t handle.
I’ve got a whole warehouse of things with your name on it…and I’ll be ready to send them out as soon as you’re ready to receive them.
Do you want to save face or do you want to save time?
Your answer will depend on how desperate you are to make an impact with the time you’ve got left.
“In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.” – Michelangelo
There’s another expression of this thought in which a sculptor is asked how to do a sculpture of a horse. His response? “Start with a block of marble, and then just chip away everything that doesn’t look like a horse.”
The horse is your goals. The block of marble is your calendar (your use of time).
Wonder what would happen if you wrote down your goals, looked at your calendar and then chipped away every use of time that doesn’t look like a step towards your ultimate destination.
The fear is that nothing would happen.
But the truth is that by chipping away the unnecessary, you create space for the masterpiece to emerge.
“Start with a block of marble, and then just chip away everything that doesn’t look like a horse.”
Imagine having to apply for a new day of life each evening before you went to bed. And the application is simply your answer to this question:
Why should you be given another day of life?
Seriously, how would you answer it?
And just so you know, you’re application is just one of 7,259,700,900 others.
Every day, 358,192 new applicants are born and every day 154,889 applicants die.
What’s so special, distinct and unique about your application that it should be considered over 7 billion others?
Do you have a trail you can point to as evidence of the way you’re likely to spend/invest a brand new day of life?
Do you have a detailed written flight plan that shows your intended destination, the places you’ll stop off along the way…and why that should matter to anyone but you?
Will giving you another day of life make the world a better place?
Of course it will…but only if you choose to.
And the best way to choose is by imagining you have to apply for each new day of life the evening before.
If you had more money, you’d probably try to spend your way out.
If you had more time, you’d probably hustle, grind and spend more time figuring a way out.
And if you had more energy, fewer distractions, a team of developers, all your bills paid, no need to work a 40-hr job…then you’d probably use those advantages to change your situation.
But since you don’t have those things, your only option is to think “bigger, deeper, wider, faster, inside-out, back to front, dye it pink, use-it-the-wrong way” about your idea…and about how you can make it happen with exactly what you’ve got right now.
Maybe it isn’t that you need to add lots of different things, but that you simply need more of one specific thing.
In other words, you need more cowbell.
And sometimes the cowbell you need a whole lot more of…is space.
Boring, definition #1: not interesting; tedious.
Boring, definition # 2: to make a hole in something with a tool or by digging.
The only way to achieve your dreams is by falling in love with the dull, tedious, uninspiring, repetitive, monotonous daily steps that you have to take to get to your destination…to help you express your real story.
And by the way, boring takes time (more than you think).
So when you feel tempted to give up or chase the latest shiny object…remind yourself that the goal is to always be boring enough to succeed.
It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating: where you are is the entry point.
Everything you have, everything you don’t have and everything you wish you make up the stick of dynamite of this present moment.
All you have to do is light the fuse…by starting now with what you have.