This is a very short clip out of a longer interview with actor Jim Carrey. Again, for my younger audience, you have missed out on some great things, great people, and great music. Here is a shining example. Jim Carrey is famous for his roles in goofy and stupidly-funny roles like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Dumb & Dumber and many more. But like many others, he is a tortured soul underneath that funny exterior, and is a very deep and profound thinker. I love this clip, and I encourage you to watch this as well as this commencement speech about happiness.
There is a lot to be learned from these two videos, but I will focus on the one above for this blog. The essence of what he is saying is that you cannot compromise on your dreams. If you do, and you take the safe route, you will always wonder “What If…?” That is bad enough, but when you play it safe and then fail, you will be bitter and broken. Imagine playing golf and laying up on a par five so you don’t hit the ball into the water. You play it safe and then hit your next shot into the water anyway. Now amplify that frustration over the course of years of your life. That would be awful… I somehow was smart enough to know this at any early age; I am sure I get some of that from my father. But I knew that if I didn’t pursue my dream of being a Pro Racquetball Player, that I would regret that my whole life.
I took that same thought process into writing a few books, becoming a very accomplished sales person, and am now applying that to my speaking and consulting career. You have to go all in on these things, it is was you were put here for. Once you figure out what it is you NEED to do, you HAVE TO do it. There is no choice. If you shy away from it, it you chicken out, play it safe, think you can’t so why bother, all of these things will eat at you the rest of your life. Try. If you fail, you need to try again. Don’t be denied. There will be bumps in the road, but keep going. Don’t fall off track and fall into the mediocrity so many others settle for.
As I have said a bunch of times in other blogs and talks, I am not advocating that you make a job out of every passion that you have. There is a need to pick and choose, partly from a realistic standpoint, such as paying the bills. Opening a crafting store because you love scrapbooking may sound like a fun idea, but the reality is that you have rent to pay, employees to pay, etc. The next time the economy takes a dump, so will your dream job.
There is always to problem of saturation…too much of anything can be a bad thing, even if it is your favorite thing.
I killed one of my biggest passions by making that my sole job. I tried to squeeze a living out of the sport of racquetball. What I figured out (unfortunately just recently) is that I should have been a fireman who played racquetball. The fireman job would have easily paid my bills, allowed me to work out on the clock, only work ten days a month, and of course had a pension after 20 years. In hindsight, I should have done that and then gotten a Master’s Degree so I could teach at a University. A Fireman’s pension and a College Professor’s salary and work schedule for the next 20 years of my life…easy street. THAT, in hindsight, would have been mapping out the most streamlined approach for my life. Doesn’t guarantee success or happiness, but it would have been the most logical path IF I had been smart enough to see it oh those many years ago.
Everything worthwhile is difficult. It weeds out the wimps, those who are not committed or serious, and people who don’t really have what it takes to accomplish what they want. As Jim Carrey points out above, there is a decent chance you could come up short anyway, so why not aim for the big time. If you miss, you may still land in a very good position if you come up a little short. If you aim for the moon but miss, you still made it to outer space. If you do a complete belly-flop, at least it was in pursuit of the thing you love and not some menial job that you hated doing every day of the rest of your life. I love the wisdom in this, as I have lived it myself. I want to encourage others to do the same, and live a life as free of regrets as possible.
I encourage you to start having conversations with older adults that revolve around life’s regrets. These are not always easy conversations; I got into one with my Dad on a fishing trip not long ago that completely rattled me for a while. I learned some things about my early family life that I was stunned to know, and I can’t “unknow” those things now that the box is open. But I worked through those things and I am better for it. But one takeaway from that conversation was his regrets on certain things he did or didn’t do throughout the course of his life. It was eye-opening to say the least. I got lucky he was aware of these things, and I believe pushed me to explore and pursue things that I was interested in at an early age. He knew he had missed out on certain things and didn’t want me to follow in those footsteps.
Once you gear yourself towards this type of thinking, I believe you will be less hesitant to try new things, travel to new places, and get out of your comfort zone. That comfort zone is killing your soul and squashing the life out of you, probably without you realizing it.
That is the worst part…you don’t even know it is happening until its too late.
You can’t wait around for life to come to you, you need to be responsible for making things happen. If you don’t, you’ll be sitting on your front porch, rocking back and forth in an old rocking chair, bitter and alone. You’ll be mad at yourself for all of the things you COULD have done, but didn’t. It must be a miserable feeling, sitting there thinking…KNOWING things could have been different but weren’t. I would equate that to a chronic smoker who is removing the oxygen canula from his nose to go outside and smoke one more cigarette. You know that you facilitated your own demise, and it is too late to do anything about it. The cancer has your in its grip, and there is no escape, you are destined to ride out your days riddled with regret and a diminished version of yourself. Sounds awful. And completely worth avoiding…
I wish you luck in your endeavors…go make shit happen!