Regrets are a bitch. You never hear about old people on their death bed saying “I sure wish I spent more time at the office” it’s always stuff about “Wish I traveled the world, like I wanted” “Wish I worked less, and spent more time with my family” “Wish I took up guitar playing”.
So why the hell do we listen to people when they tell us what we need to do (or worse, not do)?
I don’t know if Jimmy Hendrix’s parents said “Jimmy, why do you keep playing with that guitar? There’s so many other people that are in the guitar business.”
If they had though, would he have quit?
I love my parents. They love me. I am clear on the fact that they just want me to be taken care of should anything happen to them. It is often well meaning friends and family that end up crushing our dreams.
When I started couch surfing, they were cool about it. At the end of one year, they said “So, what are you going to go do now?” Silly me gave my next destination.
We had words.
They thought it was just a phase, and I would only do it for a year. That was not the case. I was very happy couch surfing: traveling, meeting amazing new people, learning new skills, seeing new things, taking cool photos, telling my story…. They saw it as pointless.
This year, I visited them in February, for 3 weeks. I was working on a project from morning to night every day (I only took 3 breaks to join them for dinner during those 3 weeks).
I did consulting… and I like to pace when I consult (bloodflow to the brain, more ideas, I’m sharper, I process information better– plus by not being in front of my computer, I can’t get distracted by all the moving items on my screen), thus I had it on speaker phone, and my parents got to hear some of the projects.
One day, we’re having coffee, and they say “Wow Ori, we’re so proud of you. You work so hard. Your strategy is so solid. You’re consulting for big experts, and they’re calling you up for help. Your network is so diverse and influential. This is so much better than your first year, when all you did was travel around and look for stupid adventures.”
I was instantly furious. Everything is possible because of my stupid adventures.
I have people that go up to me at conferences “Oh my god, is that Bull Poker video real?” – now everyone else wants to know what Bull Poker is, and I have many introductions just from that.
I’ve met the entire network of everyone through my couch surfing — my friends, my mentors, my role models…. if I wasn’t couch surfing, they’d be just people I read about…. instead, I get to spent time with them, be friends with them, do business with them, and learn from them.
I’ve spent thousands of hours on the road listening to audio books, because I was going around looking for adventures.
Would any of this have been possible if I listened to them and quit couch surfing after one year? Not likely. I’d be settled down and miserable somewhere.
So, my gripe is that everything that they’re proud of, has happened because I specifically did not listen to them. I followed my own passion, and pursued my vision for my life… not their vision for my life.
Look… the bottom line is that you know your potential and passions… others don’t. They can only base everything on their experiences.
If you’re having opposition to an idea, that means you’re on the right track! Stay on it!
Caveat: Do your research, and be smart about things…
When people tell you that you can’t do something… it’s often projection, and they mean that they couldn’t do that.
If you want to break a guiness world record for something… do it!
If you want to quit your job, or drop out of school, because you want to do something else that will make you happier… go for it! (See above caveat)
If you want to go on American Idol, you should go for it.
If you want to make a new search engine to rival Google, or a social media network that beats Facebook…. go for it!
You may flop, and crash and burn… but at least you tried! If you don’t ask, the answer is always no!
I’m going to do my first stand-up comedy performance this week. Do I care if I get a single laugh? Not so much. I’m just thrilled to confront my fear, and finally do this.
I was born to make people laugh So many times at parties, or conversations, I’d break out the jokes, and would get asked “Do you do stand up?” My response was always a modest “pffft… no… ”
I never had a good reason. I never tried.
Until now. Now I’m doing the things I want to, and I’m willing to do the work.
So… I’ve been drawing every day for at least 30 minutes.
If you do ANYTHING for 5 years, you’ll be rock-solid at it (In my case, couch surfing).
I think the image at at the top really captures this. Everyone remembers this scene:
Which of course led to:
In this case, you could say that it’s about deception and mind-tricks rather than just crappy advice from someone who didn’t know that storm-troopers dreams and passions…. and you’d probably be right.
However, the storm-trooper wanted to capture the droids, then someone gave him bad advice, and he believed it!
“You do not want to couch surf- you want to settle down and get a good job” — uhhhh…. Yeah, that would have sucked if I listened.
Garry Vaynerchuk always spoke about how you have to hustle. If you want to get something done, then sacrifice your time or social life…. but get it done. Sleep less. Don’t watch television. Don’t play angry birds. Do what you’re passionate about!
These days, I’m not going to sleep if I haven’t spent at least 30 minutes drawing.
My death bed will be surrounded with cool photos and videos from my many adventures… I’ll be like that old chick in Titanic (who was so hot when she was younger)- that made sure to live her life after she survived that ship, and watched Leonardo Di Caprio plunge to a freezing death.
Well… once she got out of therapy for that, she started having a badass life. She flew planes, and rode horses, and… I can’t remember the movie that well.
The thing I told my parents so often is that “At least I’m happy! I’m doing these things now, while I am able. I’m not waiting till I’m 60 to retire, and THEN see the world, when I can barely walk. I don’t think it would end well if I tried playing Bull Poker when I’m retired.”
Don’t make excuses! Don’t rationalize away the things that you really want to do! Just start somewhere, and keep the momentum going! Start now! You really have no excuses. You can find everything on the internet (books, courses, mentors), so you can learn any skill.
So… what is it that you always wanted to do? What would you be really upset if you hadn’t done it when you were capable?