I need to learn how to let underground zits work themselves out. I chipped a tooth before trying to get one out. It’s the same tortured look in the mirror as I squeeze so hard that the scary vein in my dad’s forehead is now my own. I know it doesn’t want to come out and it won’t come out. I know it! But then I run my finger over the top one more time and think that if I just get the positioning of my fingers right and squeeze a little differently then it’ll go. And pretty soon I have a full on open wound on my face. A few days of disappointment in myself follow. But now I can at least say I got into a fight, or people might think that I fell off my bike or got bit by a dog.
I always know better. And I always do it anyway.
I started as aspiring lawyer. Meaning my first major was political science. I thought I should be a lawyer because in 6th grade I won my first case. It was against Sarah Philips and it involved the 13 original colonies. Sarah was fighting for their independence while I was fighting for them to stay together. We presented in front of the jury of classmates. I remember my argument very clearly, “I ask you… friends, classmates, ladies, and gentlemen…. I ask you this… if you spent good money to go to the symphony, or to watch any musical performance, would you want the members of the band to play together in harmony or would you want them to break off and start trying to do whatever they wanted?”
Of course I won the case. Those idiots didn’t see an airtight argument like that coming from a 12 year old. Little Sarah Philips was left with a quivering lip and something about her new puppy Dillon. They voted for the person that was most confident. And so all of life was realized in a moment.
Prelaw was more of the same. Didn’t matter what someone stood for. It mattered only to be on the winning side. I made it through 2 semesters of studying cases and arguing on ideology before I realized that there was nothing fun about winning things, especially if they were bad things, just because people in general are quite weak and predictable.
I transferred to business school.
That was worse.
I almost dropped/failed out of my last year. I carried at 10% attendance record during my Junior and Senior year.
Then I became the martial artist, which actually allowed me to graduate. Because I busted my ear in a fight so bad that I had to get an ear cast and wear what is called a mastoid wrap (head wrapped like a mummy). There was a computer programing class I hadn’t gone to yet that semester. Like not actually once. And it was finals week. And half the year I kept thinking I was having a bad dream about a class I always forgot to go to but actually it was real. I went into the room after sending a vague email to the professor about a brain injury. Once she saw the head wrap and my well-rehearsed distant eyes she told me that I didn’t need to be there, that she would give me whatever grade I asked for. I asked for a B, thought it was fair.
So I graduated from business school.
And then I moved to Taiwan
And then I built furniture for a living.
And then I became a monk, kind of.
And then I was obsessed with Kung Fu.
Then I started eating meat again and opened a business.
And I’ve always kept a journal.
Then Ryan bought me $50 Flip camera and said he had a feeling it would open something up for me. Ryan always knows those things.
If you had asked me 5 years ago what I’d be doing today, I wouldn’t have told you I’d be interviewing teens about education and leadership on a mountain in Malaysia with a company that I now own stake in and which also happens to be owned by some of my best friends that have helped form me into the person I am today.
I wouldn’t have guessed that I’ve made over 450 videos for clients over the last 3 years.
Students always ask me how I got started. Or what the best way to start is. “Just start doing something,” I say.
Anything moving forward will gain momentum. A person or a rock, it’s not different.
No one has ever done anything differently since the beginning of time. The problem with only seeing people as they are now, especially if you desire the life of those people, is that you don’t see where they came from or how they got here (now).
All stories are the same. Someone started something and they either kept with it and became great at it because they cared enough or they quit and bought a bunch of books about other people being good at things.
I’ll always try to undercut my own happiness, that’s a condition of being me. And I contest just about everything because truth is relative to personal circumstance and trust comes as a result of consistent actions. But sometimes un-analyzed, simple feelings slip through and I think about how all of this could be more than a set of probabilities and coincidences, that we could actually be in something with softer edges where our dreams travel through the hearts of spirits and come back down in the form of you and me and the things that are exactly right in front of us.