by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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I love Jesse Itzler’s approach to getting the most out of life, and his BYLR program.  Please check it out…
Here is something I believe strongly in, and want to encourage you to at least consider. I am somewhat of a non-conformist, and want to inspire others to do their own thing too. I think you need a bucket list early in life, and you need to actively work to check things off of that list. Don’t wait until it is a “later in life” kind of thing. If you don’t have somewhat of a list put together just yet, I recommend you work on that ASAP. By doing some things that expand your view of the world, and make you appreciate the stable life that you lead most of the time, you’ll have a better attitude towards life in general. You’ll be far more interesting at parties and conferences, as you will have experiences that most people only dream of.
It is too easy to just wander through life without a real plan; set some goals of things to do, places to go, experiences to have. Many a person has gotten stuck in the funnel listed out below that squashes much of their opportunity to LIVE. And remember, the future is promised to no one, so start living with that thought in mind now. Trust me when I tell you that it will enhance your outlook on life. You have to make a conscious effort to avoid the traps that life sets for you.
The “trap” I referred to in this example is as follows:
-do well in high school
-go to college
-graduate and get a job
-get married and have kids before age 30
-live for that week or two of vacation per year with the family
-spend every free moment at soccer games and cheer practice with the kids until they go off to college themselves
-figure out how to construct a life of your own now that the kids are out of the house
Now to clarify, there is nothing wrong with following this path; millions of others have done, and millions will continue to do this same thing. Many that choose this path live happy lives, and ultimately that is the goal. And in many ways, it is the path of least resistance, as it will make your family members happy. But for others, here is something to consider: maybe a different approach to life would be more advantageous. This cookie-cutter approach wasn’t for me, and I knew that early on. to me, this seems like a recipe for a mid-life crisis. So, here is what I did:
-went to and graduated high school
-went to community college for a year (clearly just an extension of high school, in my opinion)
-took a year off and worked
-went to in-state University for a year (worked two jobs to be there, didn’t have a clear goal as to why I was there. It just seemed like the “next step” in the process.
-quit school to pursue Pro Racquetball career (athletics have a finite window, and I didn’t want to miss mine. This pursuit was the only thing I KNEW I wanted to do at this time of my life.)
-retired from competitive play at age 30. Went back to school thru online college while I worked.
-got a job in medical sales through a racquetball contact
I am not recommending you follow in my footsteps, but what I am advocating is that you follow YOUR passions and make sure that you don’t burn a bunch of your life up just following the herd. You never get this time back…
There are few things that taste worse than R-E-G-R-E-T.
I believe I am a far more well rounded person because of my non-typical approach to adulthood. I consciously chose not to have children, and never envisioned I would be married before age 30. Turns out I held out a little longer and didn’t get married until age 48. My wife is an awesome person, and an amazing addition to my life. But I wasn’t ready for her any sooner then when we met. If I would have met her in my early thirties, I would have either blown it myself, or she would have seen that I wasn’t marriage material at that time and moved on. Either way, I would not have her in my life like I do now. There were things I needed to do and to learn to get me ready for that next phase of my life.
So my questions for you are this:
1. What is something you’ve always wanted to do? Whether it is backpack through Europe, build a cabin in the woods, ride a motorcycle to Sturgis, whatever, you need to plan it and do it. Think with a corporate job, a spouse, kids and a mortgage that this is gonna happen? Guess again…
2. What are you waiting for? Think you are going to follow the typical plan and accomplish some of these things? Retirement is a long ways away for most people, and you are also assuming that you will have A. the money and B. good health to be able to do the things you want. This is what we hope for, but look around inside your circle of friends and people you know and you will see examples of things not going according to a fairy tale script.
Far too many of us ASSUME that life is going to go as planned. You’ll live to be 90 and retire comfortably at 65, your family will totally self-sufficient, etc. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but life may not go quite that smoothly. There are a myriad of things that change the course of your life, so maybe you should flip the order of things and plan on working until you are too old to do so, and you should play more now. Or you should find a happy medium of the two. Or you should take the biggest risks in the business world when you are young, like starting a business and building it. Have a crazy ambitious goal that needs 100% of your time, energy and attention now versus later on. The earlier in life you do this, the more time you have to make it work, or to recover if it fails. This is an individual choice, but what I am trying to get you to realize is that YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Grab a helmet and jump!
You will never regain your youth, the older you get the more responsibilities you have, and the more things that limit what you can do. If you want to be a ski instructor at Telluride in the winter and a lifeguard in San Diego in the summer, that would probably be an awesome lifestyle for a while. Maybe forever for some, maybe for only a year for others. But again, if you end up with a house, a spouse and kids, this gets really tough to pull off.
Your career plans might have you thinking that my way is not the way for you, and that is perfectly fine. But some of my friends did the “traditional thing” and it didn’t lead where they thought. There are no guarantees in life, so I chose to hedge my bet by having some fun now and checking a few boxes off of my bucket list as I go, instead of waiting until the end where it is a race against time. Or worse yet, having to pick and choose due to one limitation or another. (money, health, family needs, etc.) You have to do what is right for you, but again, consider ALL of the options and alternatives before you lock in on a plan for your life.
I wish you luck in your endeavors.

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