Create or's a matter of choice

Generally speaking I tend to busy myself with creating stuff or experiencing new things. And I actively limit consumption, particularly of the media sort. In that vein I only pay attention to those I trust and care about. So the chances of me tuning-in to the morning news is highly unlikely (here's a better explanation of this effect). Technology makes it easier than ever to fall into this consume vs. create. Technology also makes it possible to connect with anyone, anywhere at virtually anytime. It's a remarkable point in history. You can learn anything from whomever you want. You can make things and give people a peek or show off your skills to precisely the audience you're looking to attract. You can build your own fan club. So the choice is entertained or do the entertaining...choose wisely.

Why I do Triathlons, run Marathons and ride my Bike all day

because I don’t want to ever wonder if I could have done something knowing I had the choice to actually do it. What a waste and a shame that would be.

We are rich in the sense that most of us do have a choice…we are physically and mentally capable to do meaningful things for ourselves. And in the course of doing these things we can also inspire others to do the same…to exercise the freedom of choice and as a result to experience a more meaningful life. Knowing I have this freedom, this opportunity, how could I choose not to? How I could I choose apathy...being poor…when I could be rich? Many people do. Many people squander the opportunity, mistaking momentary comfort for fulfillment. I feel obliged to do what I can to make sure they don’t. 

But why then choose the extremes…in anything we do? Why choose so much discomfort, both physically and mentally? Because doing something uncomfortable helps you manage fear…specifically the fear of being uncomfortable. In other words, by experiencing it, you train yourself to handle it. And as a result you are less uncomfortable...less fearful of that place. After running your first marathon you’re no  longer fearful of the unknown of what it’s going to be like. Same for getting the first chemotherapy treatment or falling off of your bicycle. Pushing yourself towards the uncomfortable is the only way to manage it…to overcome it.

But how do you get there? By first choosing to go. By nature we are explorers, wonderers and pioneers…we are curious. Can I do it? What will it be like? Is it really that hard? Is it really that easy? Will it bring me joy? Will I achieve my goals? Will I feel fulfilled? This innate curiosity is what makes the journey of life so interesting. And it often leads you to the unexpected…both good and bad. Of course, often the seemingly bad ends up being good…in the long-run. The point is to start the journey and to surprise yourself by choosing uncharted waters. Then you’ll see what you’re capable of.

The journey, the richness of doing all these things, and of being able to do all of these things, and to see people affected by my actions brings me joy. Inaction then is not an option.

If you had the chance to teach a kid to ride a bike, build a fort, solve a math problem or to believe in themselves how could you not? Choose to do so and you’ll know the joy I’m talking about.

Choose Hard

Choosing hard is important. Hard defines you...much more than easy. No one remembers you for going through the motions...writing a work schedule, sending a store bought birthday card or mowing the lawn (unless you're in a wheelchair). Hard shows the rest of us that you care enough to do something meaningful and follow-through. Even if you fail, the act of trying matters. It shows the world you make tough choices, are willing to put some skin in the game and that you'll slug it out to be better than average.

The key then is to define hard in your be the one everyone else points to as the measuring stick. Whether you own a restaurant or are a freshman in college, defining the standard of hard has the same get noticed.

Some to get you going...

Lindsay Clark...the anti resume
Howard Hughes...flying an airplane that couldn't be flown...Spruce Goose
Nelson Mandela...almost 30 years in prison to end South African apartheid
Dean Karnazes...50 marathons in 50 consecutive days