Once we are in a place where all of our needs are taken care of, we can make a choice.
The choice to keep doing what we are doing that got us here. But a little faster, a little cheaper, and squeeze a little more profit.
Or we can choose to make an impact. Did I make a difference in someone’s life today? Did I help someone do something that I could have never done? Did I get out-of-the-way for someone to level up?
There will be plenty of people telling us how nice that is but it’s not the right time. I mean with the economy the way it is and the recession, someday you’ll be in a place to do this.
I don’t buy it.
It’s never the right time to leap.
But we do.
Because people like us do things like this.
The juxtaposition of scarcity and abundance. We can decide. Operating in a world of abundance brings fulfillment. But it takes discipline. With the compounding effect of daily discipline we can understand that we weren’t just born but why we were born.
At first, it is difficult to ask someone to catch you when you leap without first feeding the network.
You can’t say give me your trust and attention and then I will do the work.
(No one will be there to catch you when you leap.)
You do the work and then maybe credibility will follow.
When you feed the network, the network will turn around and feed you.
Once we have enough money for the necessities (food, water, shelter, clothing), money becomes a story.
There are two types of stories: either you have enough or you don’t have enough.
Sedrick has the mentality of someone who has enough. It took Sedrick four years to save $320 for a passport and some extra cash to serve a church service mission.
Some quick math: $320 divided by four years equals $80 per year. There are 260 working days a year (although I doubt that Sedrick gets the 4th of July off) which equates to 30 cents a day he was saving.
Of course, Sedrick has to take care of the necessities of life (he isn’t just saving money). My guess is that Sedrick was saving about 10% of his income to pay for his passport. Which means Sedrick is roughly making $3 a day.
So what is the story we are telling ourselves?
I am going to go out on a limb and say if you can read this you are making more than $3 a day.
In the United States, the typical family makes about $50,000 per year (in 260 working days that is $192 per day, $24 per hour). The average American household will make 40 cents a minute while working today.
Yet, somehow in a nation where more money is spent each year in storage units than in going to the movies, we are worried we don’t have enough.
That story can change. We can be outrageously generous (tipping 200%, donating to a church or foundation, slipping a 20 to someone on the streets). Someone who gives like this cannot but tell a story that says, “I have abundance. I have enough. Someone needs this more than me.” You can’t possible say you don’t have enough if you are giving money away.
You pay for a ticket to go to the movies. Turns out half way through the movie, it isn’t very good. The money you spent is gone and you can never get it back.
So now you’re torn: do you stick it through to get your money’s worth or do you leave?
Turns out most of us will stick through a bad movie. Although the logical choice is to leave and rescue what’s left of our time, we make the illogical choice to stick it out (and subsequently sink more of our finite resources).
Why? Because by leaving you will have to admit that you wasted money on a bad movie. You have to admit that this was a poor decision.
The ego doesn’t like this.
This is how we begin to be okay with sub-par work. Because we are afraid to admit that it wasn’t a good idea but since we are already down this road we can’t quit now.
Somehow we can justify and talk ourselves into saying that the movie (or project) wasn’t that bad. But deep down we all know the truth: we should of quit while we were ahead.
The unfortunate truth for all organizations is that they can’t afford bad ideas. They can’t admit that they bought a ticket for a bad movie. So they do what they can to polish and package something that is below the standards we are seeking.
Life can change on a dime.
You’re going on one path with a plan. You’re doing everything you are supposed to be doing. You are making steps towards your dreams and goals.
And suddenly life changes. You were one person before and you are never the same person again.
We spend all our time measuring and accumulating in an effort for predicting what will happen next.
And that’s the point: you never really know what is going to happen.
We spend a significant amount of time trying to get our ducks in a row, making a future safer that we have no control over to begin with. Instead, we should be spending more time focusing on what we now have and enjoy it while it lasts. You never know when it will be gone. (We miss what we have lost.)
When you ask for approval are you prepared to follow through with the answer you are given?
If not, maybe it’s better to do what it is you think is best and accept the consequences that follow.
If you are unsure about something, that should be a trigger for an opportunity. An opportunity to lead. It’s good practice to make decisions on things that might not work especially when failure won’t crush you.
(Really, what’s the worst that could happen?)
Yeah, you might get laughed at. You might get publicly shamed for trying something on your own. Forget about explaining yourself if this happens. Smile and know that there was a possibility of it not working (that’s what made it so great). You learned how something doesn’t work and you are now one step closer to finding something that does.
Over time, you’ll find when you try to make these types of decisions, it will be hard to go back to seeking approval. You’ll actually find that most people appreciate the initiative.
You can have anything you want, just not everything you want.
All of us need to choose what we are going to focus on, decide what is important, act on the things that matter.
But we can’t do it all.
You can’t read every book the world has to offer but you may be able to become an avid reader or expert on a few particular areas like marketing or leadership.
It’s important to choose something that you can become the best in the world at.
Not the entire world of course. Your world. The world around you. The geographic area of where you work and live. If you want to start the best comic book store in the world, do it. Be the best comic book store in the area. Make it so good that the people in the world around you will have no choice but to go to your store to buy a comic book. That is the best in the world. Because people will only go so far for a comic book.
And maybe if it is weird enough others will travel a little further to visit something remarkable: Jolly Green Giant, Jimmy Carter Peanut Statue, Cadillac Ranch
The crux is overcoming distractions that get in the way of becoming the best in the world. Never forget someone out there is getting better each day.