Eric Thomas, one of the most inspiring and motivating humans alive, talks a lot about sacrifice. I listen to his speeches quite often because I feel they do a great job of keeping me in check whenever I am feeling like things aren’t really rolling how I would like them to be rolling.
It has been awhile since I have listened to one of his speeches and today I got a chance to listen to probably the one he is most known for – his speech on the secret to success. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTFnmsCnr6g (link to the video)
I believe depth of vision and having a long term mentality are both topics I have touched on in previous posts but they seemingly are extremely relevant in the past few days. Coming down here to the SOLE, I knew that I wanted to be in some way or another, connecting the idea of self organized learning environments, massive open online courses, and the fantastic platform of Degreed.com.
Almost three months in, I have made more progress than I really thought I would have, being a “college dropout” and all. Having really no experience that would make you believe that I would have been able to accomplish what I have already, especially since I am working in a space where we are pioneering uncharted territory.
However, ET also talks about my generation being one of the most spoiled and soft generations that there ever has been. He talks about not knowing struggle or pain; not having what it takes to get past the honey moon period. Not having what it takes to make the sacrifices necessary to accomplish whatever it is you are working to accomplish.
This is something that I faced about two and a half – three weeks into being here; worked through and then moved on and continued to get shit done. I thought that since I had went through the process once, and since I was starting to get some really good things finally into motion, that I would not really run into these blockades again.
The morning I was leaving home to come back down to North Carolina, I had a very strange, but familiar feeling about me the whole day. It was like it was game day for football; I was nervous and excited and jacked up and focused, all jittery and energized. I knew I was heading down for the long haul and that I couldn’t be more excited to have a solid amount of time to be focusing on my projects.
Then I got down here, and for some reason I couldn’t explain to you if I wanted, but all of a sudden that crazy anxiety of missing out on things people back home are doing and not being able to do some of the things that I look forward to so often, and feeling like what I was doing was crazy madness that makes no sense, questioning my own belief of myself in regards to “not being qualified” to be working on what I am, I started to let those demoralizing thoughts creep back in; knowing the honey moon period was surely over.
As what I am working on is in a pivot point and I am reworking some of the details of what I am working to accomplish, the uncertainty and transition has been weighing heavily on my mental. The options and directions I can move and figuring out what comes next has been keeping my mind extremely preoccupied.
But, after listening to ET and his motivational words, and just taking a moment to breathe, I recalled the phrase “if you want things in your life to change, you need to change things in your life”. The fact that Thomas chose to raise the challenge that we are a soft generation without the will to power through these testing times made me stop and think right there; I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.
In fact, this is one of the very reasons I am doing what I am doing. To prove that if you want something bad enough, if you believe in something enough, you can make it happen, no matter what anyone else thinks or says. Regardless of where you come from, what you know, who you know, you can make it happen if you are willing to put aside the distractions and focus your time and energy on what is important,, you can achieve success.
Speaking from personal experience thus far however, as soon as you make the leap out into the unknown, all of the doubts and anxieties rush in and it’s got to be the hardest part of the whole thing.
My friends, again speaking from personal experience, it gets better and you’re not going to die because you didn’t get a chance to watch the football game with your buddies and drink beer. Yeah, you might miss out on a few events or miss out on a few get-togethers.
And it’s just like riding a bike a long distance through the mountains, the first time you do it it is going to be the hardest. You have no idea where you are, and after the first incline you’re like “what the hell am I riding my bike through the mountains for anyway?!” and then you get to your destination and you hop off of your bike and all of sudden you feel incredible, on top of the world, and the “well, that wasn’t so hard, WE MADE IT!! I’M ALIVE!” starts to kick in and you realize that you just powered through a 16 mile bike ride through the mountains. And during the trip you were told that this would surely be the hardest of the trips you would be taking by bike because it was the first one, and you really had no idea what to expect. Then by trip three you start asking yourself “why the hell haven’t I been biking everywhere my whole life! This is incredible!”
The same rules apply to the emotional and mental stress and anxiety you experience when chartering new territory. The first time I got down here, I had no idea the thoughts and feelings I would go through in terms of wanting to go home, or missing my family and friends. Now this time coming down, I knew what had happened before and didn’t think it would happen again, but when it did I was prepared and ready for it, and knew that it too would pass. Much faster and with less diversion I might add.
Anyway, with all of this being said, my point here is this; you control the outcome of the life you live. Every aspect of it. Sure we all start at a different spot but that doesn’t matter. And more than ever our world is in need of young people willing to make a few sacrifices in order to catapult us into the next wave of innovation and creation. We need young people who are sick and tired of the bullshit we have been fed since grade school. We live in a world unlike any generation before. Opportunity is abundant, but you have to be willing to make it happen, willing to do what ever it takes, refusing to be told no and powering on.
Just remember, you’re being referred to as the most soft and spoiled generation to ever live. If you’re okay with being average, not striving for improvement of the general overall quality of life of not only yourself but the greater community as a whole, fine. But understand that if we don’t work to make things better, than who is going to? It’s time to start thinking about your family, your future family, and their future families.