If you like this content, see: Lessons Learned from The Path Less Traveled Volume 1 by Zero Dean
First time here? The following will make more sense if you read the ZDXP Backstory first.
[jbutton color=”red” link=”http://zdxp.tv/zdxp/about-zdxp/” newpage=”no”]No, really. Read the ZDXP Backstory first.[/jbutton]
[jbox color=”green” icon=”http://zerodean.com/images/quote-icon.png”]NOTE: I finally wrote this on the 200th day of my journey after realizing that I never really explained in any significant detail the thinking that led me to where I am. I figured explaining it might help some people better understand what I’m doing with my life.
Because for better of worse, I took a leap of faith — I jumped — and it’s been one of the scariest, most challenging, and most uncomfortable things I’ve ever done — so why do it?[/jbox]
The leap of faith: Why I quit my job, terminated my lease & sold everything.
Why deliberately choose something I knew would be difficult?
It comes down to how I saw my present life and envisioning where I saw myself ending up if I stayed on the same track and kept doing the same things over & over — my version of having a “Scrooge moment”.
I ended up fearing the status quo more than anything I imagined I might attempt to change it, so I decided to deliberately force myself to move into unknown and uncharted territories as a way to get unstuck, renew my spirit, and force myself to grow.
In short, I decided to get uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable.
[jbox color=”gray” icon=”http://zerodean.com/images/quote-icon.png”]”Men spend their lives in anticipations, in determining to be vastly happy at some period when they have time. But the present time has one advantage over every other, it is our own. Past opportunities are gone, future have not come. We may lay in a stock of pleasures, as we would lay in a stock of wine; but if we defer the tasting of them too long, we shall find that both are soured by age.” -– Charles Caleb Colton[/jbox]
LEAP OF FAITH THINKING
My life as I saw it…
My Life: “Option A”
My Life: “Option B”
|Stick to a decent paying (but notoriously unstable) career of computer graphics with limited opportunities for career advancement. Continue to invest my time & energies in helping someone else’s company profit, most likely at the expense of meeting my full potential.Working for companies where the type of role I play and my responsibilities are largely at the whim of others who are often looking out for their own best interest.
Despite doing my best to excel at my job and doing more than I am asked, having to rely on others to take notice or to even care.
Work in an industry where putting in unpaid overtime is common — sometimes to an extreme 50% or more of work-time being uncompensated for weeks or even months at a time — in a cubicle, under fluorescent lights, behind a computer screen and far removed from “real life”.
Any opportunity to travel is typically limited to 10 or so days per year and it is often unrealistic to expect you will be able to get those 10 days in a row.
Work in an overwhelmingly male dominated environment while sacrificing my personal life and further limiting the possibilities of crossing paths with my future mate.
Often feel like there was more I could do, but not being able to do it within the confines of my “job title”.
|Not going where the oft-trodden paths lead, but instead paving my own path and leaving a trail. Deliberately step beyond my comfort zone — and as a result, do daily battle with doubts & fears of the unknown.
“I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education.” — Wilson Mizner
Choose an unconventional way of life — make short-term sacrifices, live uncomfortably, and delay gratification in order to do what is difficult and necessary to accomplish my goals.
Take action to make the life I imagined a reality for myself by deliberately pursuing the things I’m most passionate about — traveling, writing, connecting with people, taking photographs, and hopefully living an adventure & a remarkable life.
Invest all of my time & energies into taking charge of my life and changing it for the better and always striving to find a way to meet my full potential — Aiming high, knowing that even if I “fail”, I will have tried.
Seek ways to directly help others by using my skills & experience.
Increase my chances of meeting a mate by getting out of “the box” and making my presence known to the world — perhaps she’s reading this.
The act of pursuing “option B” would automatically be part of the “adventure” in life that I seek. Calculated risk-taking and possible reward.
Likelihood of living the kind of life I imagined:
|Unlikely (in my opinion).||No guarantee, but far more likely than option A.|
|Reasonably comfortable — and comfort is nice, right?||Less comfortable, but living beyond one’s comfort zone leads to personal growth and anything that helps me become a better human being is a good thing (provided I don’t crack under pressure). ;)|
|Less risky than option B, but fewer opportunities to live the kind of life I desire.||Far more risky than option A, but more opportunities to live the kind of life I desire. And living a life without calculated risks is not the type of life I envisioned for myself.|
Opportunities to fulfill my potential:
Potential for regret:
|Likely regret for not taking more risks and trying more things and going after what I really wanted out of life. Always wondering “what if”.||Perhaps I could do things more effectively or more efficiently, but I don’t regret making mistakes so long as I learn from the experience.|
|I would be sacrificing my dreams for the opportunity to live in reasonable comfort, but with few opportunities to take advantage of my full potential in life or my career.||Give up the illusion of stability, my possessions, and my former life as I know it. Spend my limited savings that I could’ve invested or put into “property” in order to gamble on my ability to find a way to monetize my new life while pursuing my passions.|
|Hope for the best, but remain largely at the whim of others who decide my what kind of role I will play in my career. And by letting them have that much control over my career — they indirectly get a degree of control over my non-work life as well.||Take responsibility for my own life and take deliberate steps to create the type of future I want for myself in the manner than I desire.Create my future.|
What’s the worst thing that could happen?:
|Regret for the things I didn’t do.||Life would be a challenge.|
Conclusion: Where I saw myself heading…
|A life of reasonable comfort & safety and decent jobs – but with limited opportunities to express myself or utilize the full scope of my skills and an unshakable feeling that “there has to be more to life than this” and that I wasn’t living up to my full potential.In essence: A life of regret. I wanted more and I felt like I owed it to myself to try and create a better life for myself.But by “better”, I don’t mean acquire more “stuff”. I don’t consider having “stuff” to be a deciding factor in the quality of ones life — even if many people do.
I think the degree to which one feels happy and fulfilled with their life and feels like they are fulfilling their potential as a human being is a much better thing to judge.
|A challenging life. Hard work & a high degree of deliberate discomfort. A life less ordinary involving more risk-taking & more potential for personal growth & achievement.(Hopefully only) short-term sacrifices necessary for a greater good – but without any guarantees other than knowing how determined I am and how hard I am willing to achieve my goal(s).
Creating my own opportunities to express myself and utilize the full scope of my skills.
Knowing that I was taking steps to live up to my full potential.
Making mistakes (of course!) but living a life without regretting the things I didn’t do.
Knowing full well that if it was easy, everyone would do it.
And since that time…
I was introduced to Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist – a book that has had a profound impact on my how I view the world. Here’s his introduction which is only a couple pages long and a worthwhile read, in my opinion.
My sun-faded copy has been a co-pilot on my dashboard for over 35,000 miles of my journey so far.
I was afraid…
I was afraid of dying with my music still in me — I don’t want to die without having at least attempted living the life I imagined.
“Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
[jbox color=”gray” icon=”http://zerodean.com/images/quote-icon.png”]”The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” – Eddie Robinson[/jbox]
November 23, 2010
I know it is quite possible to work for others and be completely happy — in fact, I had that job for a time — so I know what it’s like. And if I could find that job, I’d take it — and I would especially take it if I had a family to support.
But knowing what I know now, before I accepted any job I’d want to take into consideration whether it would it ultimately hinder or help me along my path to reach my potential — a stepping stone — and would all my time, energy, and passion be appreciated?
I no longer want to be just a “worker bee” working in my box within rigid parameters that hold me back — particularly working in conditions that some might consider “toxic”. I want more from life than that. And I want to contribute more.
I have yet to feel like I’ve ever completely found my place within my role at any company I’ve worked for — I’d like to find that.
Or maybe the catch is I have to create it…
NEW BOOK BY ZERO DEAN: Lessons Learned from The Path Less Traveled™ Volume 1
Get the details at: Amazon.com