If awesome is a choice (which it is), what holds us back? What stops us from being the best version of ourselves – for us and for everyone around us?
Like a Super Villain, lurking behind the scenes of our every move, fear is our saboteur.
Creating art. Doing what we love. Coming out of the closet (for those that applies to). Stepping on a plane to a far away land. Fear is there.
It’s not our fault. Our desire to fit in, to be like that guy or that girl, or to be a part of this or that group fuel the saboteur. They’re the problem. We’re made to be scared of uncertainty and crave belonging. Instead of creating our own map – one that means something to us – we follow maps created by others.
Brainwashed by our culture, we’re taught to think there is only one right answer. It’s at the back of the book. And don’t look!*
Just keep doing your work – that work we tell you to do – and you’ll be successful.
Go to university! Get good grades! Get a job as a banker, engineer, or consultant! Do something safe. We know what success is, here’s the map.
If you’re an entrepreneur, raise venture capital! The more zeros the better – even if you don’t need it. This path is right for everyone who cares enough to work hard.
That’s how you become successful, and once you’re successful, you’ll be happy. We know. We know everything. How could we possibly be wrong? We’ve been there. We live at the back of the book. We wrote it.
It’s a lie.
And sometimes we trick ourselves into believing it. Even when we know it’s wrong, the dark side is strong. Resisting the mesmerizing tractor beam of the Death Star takes a special kind of force.
Disclaimer: I’m not advocating for everyone to drop out of school and stick up our middle fingers to the people who build our bridges. University and engineers are fantastic – especially for those who love to build and love the university environment. For people who choose these paths for themselves, it’s beautiful.
But if we choose a path for any reason other than passion…
If we choose because we want to fit in, because it’s the ‘safe thing to do’, or because mom and dad want us to…
The dark side wins.
We lose our ability to be a hero, to do epic sh*t, and to bring our best selves to the table fighting for awesome in the world.
Only by following what we love can we be authentically awesome.
Only when we follow the fire that burns inside us can we flourish.
If you’re not on fire yet, your principle job – no matter where you are – is to find that fire. Search without fatigue until Marco finds Polo. Everyone I’ve ever admired is passionate about something. Think back to those you admire. It’s worth it.
Fear wants us to keep it safe.
Fear wants us to be like everyone else.
Fear wants us to hold our art inside, to give up on it.
It’s the only sane thing we can say.
Fight the dark side. Say yes to letting your art out. Be a superhero.
Written with love,
*Thank you Sir Ken Robinson for being one badass teacher
**Thank you Hunter for the inspiration and editing 🙂
***If this resonates with you, join our tribe of superheros to the left! We’ll send weekly inspiration, epic experiments, and spicy stories to your inbox.