About 7 years ago I decided that good isn’t good enough. Not in any part of life: work, play, health, relationships; education and exploration; service and faith. We can do better when we make the decision to be great. Sounds simple enough, but most of us, most of the time, settle for a few steps below. We don’t test our highest powers.
Great isn’t about keeping score, it’s about measuring growth. And the true beauty of that proclamation unfolds when it’s void of contrasts and comparisons of what other people are doing. It’s most meaningful when it’s all YOURS. The pursuit of your own personal greatness – in whatever size or shape that speaks to you – that’s when you begin to elevate to another level. That’s when you raise the bar.
The irony of it all is that we may rarely reach our own lofty standards. But that’s ok. The symptoms and side effects of simply pushing and fighting and striving to be great – to build great things and make great differences – give us all the habits and tools we need to keep our fire burning. No matter what dark twists or ugly turns cross our Paths. That passionate pursuit helps us keep going. That journey keeps us grateful.
So let’s decide.
And then let’s go do great work.
I don’t believe we only have “one life.”
I believe we have multiple lives during this one existence. Reincarnation happens with a steady heartbeat. And the more you’re creating and building and learning and searching and exploring and giving, the more “lives” you experience. The LESS of the above that you do, the less lives you go through.
Ever meet someone who’s EXACTLY the same, and doing pretty much the same thing as when you met them 10-15-20 years ago? Is that a bad thing? If they’re happy, no, it means they found “it.” If they’re unhappy or uncertain or regretful or fearful or disappointed or disengaged or complaining or contrite… then for sure, they stopped too soon. They settled for that “one life”, instead of searching for – creating – the next one.
As you move from life to life, you can change a lot. The more drastic the shift or the more dramatic the jump, the more different you can become. As long as you are learning, and leveraging that learning, it’s always all good. Good change can come from bad experiences. We often forget that. Some of the greatest things were born from some of the worst times.
The one part of you that remains constant from life to life is your soul. You can’t change your soul. And that’s a good thing. That’s the real you – without all the dressings and costumes and filters and layers. Your soul is always beautiful. Though sometimes it takes many “lives” to realize it.
So yeah… forget this whole “one life” stuff. When you’re happy, stop. If you’re not, keep going. Don’t settle for your current life if you’re not where you want to be. Don’t forget you can change lives by just deciding to go to the next.
Don’t spend so much time mourning your past life that you prevent yourself from creating a new one. Keep flowing, from one life to the next, until you find the “life” that feels most like home.
And most of all, remember to be grateful for the lives you lived, and the people you’ve met along the way.
I run this same route 5 times a week. Document it every time. Every time.
Quick video when I start or still photo when I finish. I have made a habit of capturing the monotony of dream building the last few years. It’s become a ritual; an ode to the less glamorous part of the journey. Because we often focus on the highs and lows, the obscurities and abnormalities.
But it’s the day-to-day grind that makes up the vast majority of the Path. That repetitive process of getting up and working your butt off to create and design and develop and pitch and listen and sell and learn and evolve and reset and reload.
To fail and fall, then dust yourself off and be ready again by morning. Over and over. Day after day. Cross the same bridge 1000 times until finally something ignites.
That is the forgotten element of entrepreneurship. It’s the forgotten piece of building anything, really. Hidden under the mystique and majesty of creation is the slog. You have to be just as dedicated to it as you are enamored by the ornaments and milestones.
It is not sexy. It is not shiny. It looks boring and uneventful to most people. Unspectacularly redundant.
But it is where IT all happens… the PROCESS. The process is not pretty, but it’s the only way you can make something beautiful…
Looking forward to seeing this bridge again tomorrow night.
It’s easy to believe after the victory.
When you win, you suddenly have more suitors. When you finish first you quickly have more friends. Everyone’s a fan when you’re riding high. Everyone wants a taste of the top…
But who believed from the bottom? Who stayed loyal through the lows? Who lifted you through your losses and defended you through your defeats? How many people embraced your vision, and encouraged your dreams?
Those people… that family… the crazy few… those are the people you always take with you. Those are the people you never forget.
I think this is how most of us picture the Path.
This is how it first appears in our mind. This dream, this destination, sitting straight in front us. Much too far to touch, but just close enough to see.
And when we make that decision to go towards it, at whatever pace feels right to us, we imagine each step down that straight street bringing us closer and closer to the prize. We envision running the last few yards – hands outstretched, smile wide, sweat thick, crowd roaring – like a champion. A mythical hero. An urban legend.
That picture alone is often enough to propel us down the Path.
But the truth is, the Path ain’t straight. It’s crooked. And cracked. And crazy. It bends and curves. It’s got potholes and pitfalls. It’s mostly uphill, and there are no crowds on that climb. Spectators stand at the start, and believers magically appear at the finish line.
The Path itself is lonely. It is hard and humbling. And it does not care about your feelings.
But, amidst all the turns and turmoil, the Path is an amazing teacher. It shows you things. Reveals you to yourself. It strips away all the bullshit, and makes sure you’re on it for the right reasons. It keeps it real. It makes you grateful, and aware. It teaches you the meaning of belief, and the definition of sacrifice. It makes you work for it…
And then somehow, in between your racing and chasing, as you walk and stumble and fall and crawl, as you learn to live peacefully between great uncertainty and even greater expectations… the Path begins to feel like home. And that feeling is the greatest gift of all.