This Is Not My/Your Life

There are some people who tell me they haven’t a clue how my mind works and wonder why I would write about what tools you need to fight a hippo.

Some of them are the same people who asked me if I worry about my reputation in blogging because they have heard I can be unconventional.

I told them I do my best not to think about those things and referred them to a post where I said “I am called The Great Bamboozler Of Blogging, The Captain of Copy and The Old Obnoxious Dude In The Cave.”

One of them suggested I should think about reining in my desire to be me and do a better job of going along to get along.

I asked why it was ok for Steve Jobs to say Think Different or for David Bowie to have 83,168 personas but not for others.

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They told me some people thought I was weird and that others would too.

I smiled and said I didn’t care. I know how to be part of a group. I know how to be silent and just go along with things and I know how to be me.

I like being me better and I think the people that matter do too.

That is not a reference just to the proverbial group of people who are supposed to love me for being me.

It is not me talking about friends and family, but everyone who has gotten the chance to know me in whatever capacity that might refer to.

I Can & Will Move The Needle

Many years ago a former employer told me it had taken him a while to recognize that the best way to help me be successful was to get out of my way and let me be me.

I appreciated what he said but I don’t think  I appreciated how important that was and still is to me.

I do my best when I just let loose and be exactly who I am. If that is weird or strange to some people, well that is ok.

I won’t lose any sleep over whether they think it is smart or silly to figure out how to beat a hippo or a Silverback gorilla in combat.

It is part of how I problem solve. It is part of how I figure out how to move from A to X to Z.

Yeah, A to X to Z.

Someone once asked if I thought that was problematic and I said it was the wrong question.

The right question was to ask what the desired end result was and to figure out if moving from A to X to Z made it happen more effectively and efficiently than the conventional way.

Ask me if I can move the needle and I’ll say that I can and I will.

I can do it from inside the chains of the box but I really prefer to be on the outside.

Why?

Because we let fear of mistakes and failure color our approach and that limits our ability to be effective.

This Is Not My/Your Life

My teenager and I have had several conversations about life in which we talked about how things are and how they should be.

I told him I have had the same conversation with people younger and older than I am and that most of the time it goes the same way.

“This is not the life I planned on living. I wish XYZ was different.”

And then I told him there are days when that is exactly how I feel.

Days where I look at friends or family and think I made some significant mistakes because I could have what they have.

I could have the bigger house, nicer car and better vacation.

And then I remind myself that we never know what is going on behind closed doors and that all of those things might not make a person happy.

But that doesn’t always snap me out of the funk or moment I am in. It doesn’t always make me feel better.

I don’t jump up and say “Shucks, my life is pretty damn good and I am grateful for all that I have.”

Because that is not how I work.

Sometimes I look out that window and think, “fuck, I would have made a great attorney or a fantastic doctor and I am stuck in this place because I chose not to apply myself.”

And sometimes I think, “hell, I could have done those things but I didn’t because ultimately they didn’t fit with who I was, who I am and who I want to be.”

Because I am the guy who thinks about the adventures I have had and those I haven’t been on yet.

I am the guy who thinks about how many stories there are left to tell and to discover.

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That is not to say you can’t have adventures or tell stories as a doctor or attorney because believe me, I know doctors and lawyers and have heard them spin a few tales.

But it is a different sort of racket than the ones I like to be part of.

BTW, I love the shot of the balloon over the water but I am not sure if I would be the guy who uses a hot air balloon to travel around the world.

Not just because I want to be more of a modern day Phineas Fogg but because I am the guy whose balloon would be knocked out the sky because it was hit by a breaching humpback whale.

You have to understand I don’t fear falling from skyscrapers, cliffs or airplanes because I worry about dying because that part doesn’t scare me.

I fear becoming paralyzed and having to learn how to live like that.

If you had seen some of the collisions I have been a part of and or walked away from you’d understand it better.

Find Your Purpose

The teenager tells me he doesn’t understand the point of some of the homework and projects he has and I tell him I agree.

He says he is surprised that I just didn’t take the side of the school and I tell him I don’t just take sides on many things.

I also tell him his old man has fought anything and everything for no reason than because I could and decided a long while ago there was no point in just fighting.

“Find your purpose and pick your battles. If you fight, fight like hell but don’t go for it unless it is worth it.”

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7 Comments

  1. Danny Brown January 18, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    Hi there mate,

    Wonderful post. See, this is blogging, right here. Real, honest, personal.

    I always laugh at the amount of people that know what’s best for me. Or what’s best for others. Sure, you can say, “I did this at your age, and it didn’t work out too well.” Well, yes – but that’s because you probably never had a fucking contingency plan, asshat! But I digress…

    I’m a big fan of growing as we learn, and learning as we grow. Will we make mistakes? Hell yeah – but the victories are so much sweeter because of it.

    Thanks for this one, mate – it’s a keeper.

    • Joshua January 19, 2016 at 12:23 am

      Hey Danny,

      Much appreciated, thank you.

      If someone tries to tell me a story about who they are and what they did I might listen to what they say, depending on the situation and context.

      If it is sincere and they are trying to help, well it is polite to give them an ear. But far too often you find people telling you stories about their lives because they are more interested in talking about themselves than having a conversation.

      Anyhoo, there is no risk without reward and you can’t grow without making mistakes so…

      • Danny Brown January 19, 2016 at 5:43 am

        Great point. I once knew a guy back in the UK who would share stories of his time in the Army, and some of the things he had to do.

        Then he’d tell the same story a week later, with a different outcome. Same again a month later, same story, different outcome.

        I pretty much came to realize his mind had been shredded by copious amounts of drug abuse over the years, and not to believe anything he came out with.

        There’s fact, fiction, then some crazy stuff in-between. This guy was definitely in the latter. 🙂

  2. Kaarina January 18, 2016 at 5:23 am

    One of my favourite posts of yours 🙂 Cheers!

  3. Larry January 17, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    I love the Einstein quote!
    Funny and wise at tthe same time.
    It seems to hit the exact themes you are discussing.

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