*For the next few months I’ll be featuring slightly modified chapters from my upcoming book “Punch Fear in The Face” as blog posts: Hope you enjoy these ideas, and they whet your appetite for more!
“If you have built castles in the air your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Two college buddies reunite over a beer many years after graduation; and after a wee bit of perfunctory small talk something becomes painfully and uncomfortably obvious: Their lives have taken decidedly different paths.
Turns out that while one seems to be living the dream, the other just sort of exists as an excuse-ladened victim of the famed rat-race… Why is this?
I mean, being college roommates suggests they have the same level of post-secondary education, so academia shouldn’t be a factor. So if not education, what’s the difference in their individual experiences?
Or to be more blunt: Why does one have a “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt” point of view while the other an (almost jealous) “Must be Nice” point of view?
The answer is simple. Our active friend (whom we’ll call “Adventure Dude”) knows that to achieve the great things he wants out of life, three things must happen:
1. He MUST have goals
2. He MUST make plans based on those goals
3. He MUST take massive action on those plans to achieve said goals.
And so that’s what Adventure Dude does; and life is awesome because of this.
On the other hand, his college roomie (“Timid Dude”) is more of a “go with the flow” kind of guy; you know, the kind whose guidance and motivation is derived from tired, overused maxims like as “A bird in the hand” or “Ignorance is bliss”.
We all know at least one of these guys; we also know how exhausting their constant negativity can be. Timid Dude firmly believes what he doesn’t know CAN hurt him so he only subscribes to timid courses of action which yield predictable, and yes – timid – outcomes.
He’s 100% positive that any other route involve risks and/or failure that would put him in danger of looking or feeling stupid, and who wants that? Are you nuts? No Thank-you!
As a result Timid Dude only colors inside (somebody else’s) lines in a careful, tidy fashion, one that presents little – if any – friction. It’s a muted lifestyle he considers a safe, if predictable bliss.
To Adventure Dude, this approach to the one-and-only-life he has is a total and complete prison sentence!
He views any life marred by insecurity, fear and banality as a life un-lived! That’s because these usually contain none of the open wounds, rough edges or hard-earned scars which serve as reminders of battles fought, triumphs achieved, and loves lost. For Adventure Dude, these gaping wounds are omnipresent reminders of a life fully lived!
Now to be fair, Adventure Dude knows something Timid Dude doesn’t. He knows being vulnerable and his facing fears head on – no matter how scary they are – is critical to learn the important life lessons such experiences hold.
It’s true: Anytime we burn fingers on a stove, get egg on our faces, do something stupid, have an epic fail or feel the sting of rejection by the pretty girl we’ve asked on a date, there are lessons to be learned.
And yes, such lessons are usually humiliating, scary and painful; but they are important lessons nonetheless, something Adventure Dude understands.
In fact, Adventure Dude knows the only way to glean these important lessons is to and jump right in with both feet and embrace them! Boo-Yah!
On the flip side, Timid Dude allows his fear of “what might happen” to dictate his actions – or more likely his inactions – and pretty much forgoes any such experiences all together – you know – to remain safe.
NEWS FLASH: BAD SHIT IS GONNA HAPPEN
Adventure Dude knows it’s important not to quit when bad shit happens because bad shit ALWAYS happens, cause bad shit happening is all part of the deal.
Rather than quit Adventure Dude bandages his wounds, grit his teeth and then gets back to the business of achieving his desired end result; because achieving the end result is the whole point of the exercise for him. Any scrapes, bruises, broken hearts etc. encountered along the way are all expected parts of the journey.
Heck, Adventure Dude even knows that despite his very best efforts and intentions, some shit simply won’t work out! Regardless, he soldiers on anyway towards his goal of living a great life…
Make no mistake: Adventure Dude’s life is not all kittens, ice cream and rainbows. At times he feels sad, lonely and unworthy of many things, including love. But vast life experiences have taught him two important life lessons that help him deal with the low periods.
First, he knows like good times, bad times are all part of the deal; we can’t appreciate the light if we don’t feel the darkness. And secondly, that by the very way he lives his life he knows these things will eventually pass.
Which is why Adventure Dude never loses sight of his biggest goal of all: To live a life full of joy, happiness, connection, love, achievement and contribution towards others.
And so Adventure Dude goes for it, warts and all. And he thinks you should too.
So here’s a question: Which kind of Dude (or Dude-ette) you want to be? And if you chose Adventure Dude, awesome! Me too.
But if instead you choose to be like Timid Dude, that’s cool too; Adventure Dudes are happy to share stories and adventures over a beer any time – that is, unless we are out doing cool adventure shit.
In these cases Timid Dudes will need to be patient, and wait for a gap to appear between adventures; or if they choose, they can always come and join us.
We’d be happy to show them the ropes as we all jump out of airplanes, hike mountains or ride camels in foreign lands together… sound cool?
Awesome! Then I guess we’ll see you all on the flip side!
*Special shout out to J.G. for all your kindness, patience and wisdom, both written and spoken; your words mean the world to me. You rock. Thanks, xo David