A few weeks back I was having dinner with a friend and she asked me why getting a book deal was so important to me. When she asked me the answer I gave her was largely about my ego. I told her it was about being able to have the “I told you so” conversation, not just with my parents but with the world at large. It was about not feeling like there was still some doubt as to whether I was going to succeed with everything I’ve been working towards. It was about being right and making everybody else wrong about the fact that I should get a “stable job.” Over the last few days I’ve realized that’s a pretty small game to play because it’s not about anybody, but me. It’s selfish. I want to talk about playing a bigger game in life.
Are You Reaching Far Beyond Limits?
What we already know is probably one of our greatest weaknesses because it limits what we think is possible in our lives. That’s why kids have such a leg up on us. If you’ve gone skiing, snowboarding, surfing or done any sport that requires a leap of faith you’ve seen those little rugrats ripping on surfboards and flying down the mountains, and thought to yourself “If only I had learned how to do this at that age.” The advantage that kids have is not age, but rather what they don’t know. They live in a world that’s based on imagination, while adults live in a world based on knowledge. In the world of imagination anything is possible, while in the world of knowledge we can only create with that we already know. In fact as adult’s we’re not only constrained by knowledge, but we live in a world that’s based on rules.
Got a kid who says he wants to be a rockstar? Have a kid who wants to be a movie star? What about a Pulitzer Prize winning author? As adults, our childhood dreams may not have been realized so we pass this bullshit (which we consider wisdom) on to people, so they can go out and live right into a future that is limited not by their knowledge but by ours. What’s worse is that we’re completely unaware of this. A few months back I was having coffee with my oldest friend from college who has two daughters and we were talking about what her kids could end up being when they grow up. Her husband had an interesting take on childhood dreams which I thought was awesome. If the kids wanted to be ballerinas, movie stars or anything that might seem far fetched in the context of of our knowledge, he said “why not?” I’m not claiming to know anything about raising kids because I don’t have any, but I’ve been one. Maybe Adora Sitvak is on to something her idea that adults can learn from children.
It’s Time for a Bigger Game
Most of us sit around fantasizing about someday with lists like leaving our day job, having enough money to enjoy a few comforts, and if we touch a few people on along the way, so be it. I think it’s time for a bigger game. If I wrote a book I’d want it to reach a 100,000 people and have it completely alter their course in life for the better and I’d love to leave them better than when I found them. The more people that end up living extraordinary lives because of you, the more extraordinary your own life will become in the process. It’s no secret that you become the byproduct of the people you surround yourself with. So, why not take on another mission? Why not set out with the goal to make the lives of everybody around you extraordinary in their own unique way, so that when they get to the end of their journey, they have no regrets. So, maybe it’s time you sat back and asked yourself “How big of a game I really playing here?”