At this point, you’re all dressed up and ready to go to the party,
but then you stop and notice:
I guess for the longest time the struggle has been trying to fit perfectly into everyone else’s ideas or plans for me. Not really my parents so to speak... but those people I wanted to impress. I worry that it’ll never change and I won’t be accepted. I’ve taken others priorities and tried to make them my own... Elevating them above what should have been my priorities to accomplish the great dream bubbling within me. Being at the front end of my 10,000 hours and comparing myself with someone at the end of theirs, or even the middle of theirs... Thinking, not only will I never make it, but there’s no way I could make it in time. I just need a few people to see me for who I really am and encourage my embattled soul onwards. Someone to speak truth to me, someone to just take the time and listen to my heart.
IDENTITY STORIES FROM THE REAL WORLD.
What’s real in your world?
Here's some tips for working the roadblocks
...we’ve talked about what you want and who you are. We’ve told stories and planned out brave new worlds for you to explore. You’ve put in all this energy (you have, right?) and are ready to do something, to move forward... And then you wake up, or go outside, and you notice that outside of this web site, the real world is exactly the same as when you started. Or, even worse, now that you see things a little more clearly. For instance, you really start to notice all the distractions out there that are eager to eat up all your free time. Or you feel way too alone to step out and try something new. Or that you just don’t have the money... All these roadblocks. What to do?
First, you recognize that you're not alone! A lot of the things that hold you back HOLD ALL OF US BACK. In seeing the symmetry of the human experience - especially in starting something new or failing along the way - you have the advantage in knowing it's not just you, or that you alone are the only person in the world not living and succeeding from the heart. It may seem like cold comfort at first but as you hear from the experience of others, you start to see some answers, tips and encouraging stories that may help you past your own road blocks.
The Life of KATE...
It’s a relief to see that I’m not the only one struggling, as clichéd as that sounds. I really plugged into the concept of identity when I heard Patrick speak about it in 2007. I think there are two major roadblocks I am facing right now: 1. Money, and 2. Courage. First, the money: I have school debt that feels like a noose around my neck. I am glad I chose to get an M.A., and I did think through the ramifications before I chose to take out the loans, but since the recession, in my field, the only options for recent grads seem to be unpaid internships or mid-level jobs that require far more work experience/skills than I currently have. So, I feel a bit stuck. I’m trying to look at it as an opportunity to reconnect with my other interests, but the clock is ticking financially. I guess I feel like I have to put financial solvency over striking out as an entrepreneur. Second, courage. After two years studying and working in the field, I’ve got a problem—I’m passionate about human rights law, but the field (as of now) completely leaves out the artistic side of my personality. I can imagine hundreds of ways to incorporate the two, but I feel like I am duty-bound to pay off the loans first. Additionally, trying to break into the writing/publishing world (which is how I would like to connect art to human rights) seems completely overwhelming. The thought of querying major publishing companies with something I’ve written—and then dealing with the rejection—eh, it’s a lot to think about. Again, maybe it’s a question of timing. I also identify with what others have said about needing support/encouragement from a community that gets your soul. I have wonderful friends and family, but we don’t share similar life/faith/identity goals yet...
The Life of ANDREA...
This is very topical for me right now. Next week I finish up in my current job which is very corporate, high pressure... I have a great role in lots of ways but I feel like the real me has gotten lost and now has no desire to be there. I’d then have to find the next job which in the world’s eyes should build on this last role, but every seemingly appropriate job description that’s sent my way makes my heart sink and my stomach feel sick... So what’s stopping me following my dream? I’m still not entirely clear what ‘the dream’ looks like and there’s a huge pressure to sustain current levels of income to pay the mortgage, etc... At this point in time I’d gladly give up my home to do a job I feel truly passionate about. Just need to figure out what that is! Been trying to figure that out for a long time...
The Life of MARTIN...
I’ve been dealing with my own identity since the Spring of 08, that’s when I first heard some of your podcasts. Now at 24, I look back and do see a definite change... Really working through certain issues and then getting ready to apply them has been hard in a world that’s always telling you to move forward. A part of this is finding an education that’s brought me to a more specific direction... but now I feel it’s crunch time and I need to choose something I can really focus on. Also, I guess I can put fear, dealing with money, and other people down on my list... but from where I am now, I would say headspace and the need to clarify are at the top of this list. I’ve been experimenting a lot, and the things that are me I’ve followed up with. But the way I see it now is that I have the opportunity to do some clarifying and to remove myself from a lot of distractions...
The Life of SARA...
For me, there is an underlying spirit of comparison that holds me back from really going for the dreams that are inspired by my identity. I find myself fighting thoughts like ‘If I really loved God I would sell everything and move to Africa.’ Ironically, the Christian culture around me is trying to help me be effective but it’s somehow holding me back instead. I really have to consistently remind myself to get excited about who I am and that living from that place can be more powerful than comparing my life to the ‘perfect’ Christian ideal. Spending the money to go to college is an important (however expensive) part of my long-term goals and plans. But sometimes I doubt whether the time and money is worth it. I think the most important thing for me is encouragement—more people saying ‘just go for it’—and less people questioning the motives of my heart and if my ideas will succeed...
The Life of JESS...
There is a big gap between the ‘dreaming’ and then how this plays out in reality. For example with us, it seemed like in the large youth org we worked with ‘All things were possible’ and dreams came into being easily. But now outside of that system, it’s up to us to pull off our dreams. So yeah, things like needing to do part time jobs to fund the dream slow things down because so much energy and time go into those things... Also coming to grips with the question: ‘Are these dreams really what God is calling us to do or are these just fancies in our own imaginations?’ We want to live a life that’s extraordinary, but the ordinary life sometimes seems hard enough...
The Life of DINO...
Several challenges come to mind. One is a lack of confidence that if I take the step I won’t have what it takes to make it work, and if I do make it work, will I be able to sustain it past the initial stages. Second, can I make the critical distinction between what I want to do, what I really want to do, and what’s the flavor of the month. Third, doing the hard work of doing the work. These might be a bit too simplified, but put together they can carry a lot of weight...
The Life of GERT JAN...
“Why would you?” I think that question covers a lot of my obstacles when people ask it either directly or indirectly. If they only asked “How could we do this together”, “How did you get this dream” or “What’s gonna be your next step”! It’s so hard to start anything when people give you the idea that it’s not worth trying and that you’re all alone if you do. So many people think you should be normal, just like themselves...
The Life of SAM...
Money, fear of ‘what ifs’ such as how much of an impact I can really have and thus settling for something a bit more simple than my ultimate dream. I think one thing that’s holding me back is that I’m having a hard time finding good community and support - let alone people that can share my ideas. My motivation fluctuates like a roller coaster...
The Life of CLAIRE...
If I did not have the support of my parents I never would have started pursuing my identity and translating that into a career. Having the personality I have I would’ve done the ‘right thing’ and did what I was told and gotten a job. I think the big factor for me was money and the fear of ending up poor and having to rely on family for financial support when I desperately wanted independence. So not putting the money first is big. I find that going through this sort of journey has taken A LOT of my head space. Between family and identity, I have zero head space left and I’m single with no kids... hmmm so I can’t imagine having that on top... craziness would probably ensue.
So I would say to walk out my dreams I need:
1.Somewhat of a stable family base
2.A bit of cash
3.To get rid of wrong ideologies (that’s where you come in... thanks for the podcasts) cause
it feels like swimming up stream 4.Someone to bounce ideas off
The Life of ANN-HELEN...
It’s really scary to go out there and go for my dreams. What if I fail? Sometimes it’s easier to just dream about it because in that way I won’t mess it up. As long as my dreams remain in my head, they’re perfect...
The Life of ALEXINE...
I’m in the middle of listening to your identity series online... Something that’s come up really strong, and that I am totally grieving right now, is about what life could have been like if I’d been given a chance to dance from an early age. Looking back and remembering my life, it’s all over me. I wanted to dance, I loved dance, I’ve always had a fascination for it, and as soon as I had a chance, at 14, I did some. Then got to high school where it wasn’t offered anymore and stopped, until college, where I discovered ballroom. Back then, the obstacle was money, so I danced off and on. Then I had kids, and my back got really bad, so I had to stop because of that. Now I’m 37, have injuries, a bulging disk, and two kids, and while I could pick up dancing again, and probably will after listening to your podcast, it’s going to be a lot harder to get good at it than had I been given the chance when I was little. Now time is a big obstacle, and physical ailments... I know I can still dance and feel tremendous joy when I do it. It just doesn’t feel like it can / will ever be at the level that I would have liked...
The Life of KATH...
I’m currently making notes on Harville Hendrix’s Giving The Love That Heals... it makes me think a lot about Kate’s comment (from the book blog) on your ‘What do you really want?’ Especially regarding family... and how so much pain is carried from one generation to the next, that people often spend so much of their 20’s/30’s/40’s dealing with childhood stuff. I / we want to be conscious enough to give our kids a head start in the pursuit of being who they want to be with minimal headspace taken up by how we messed them up...
The Life of EMMA-KATE...
My concerns: Fear about what other people will think of my unconventional choices / approach to life... and on certain days, a fat dollop of self-doubt. I need encouragement from friends and family, especially those that really ‘get’ me. A cup of tea and a long walk by the river also seems to help :-). I think I also need to just keep going, to keep applying the little I already know even (perhaps especially) when I’m feeling scared and shy or wondering what’s the freakin’ point ‘cause a regular day job would be sooooo much easier? So, let’s say persistence. I’ll also add that I find this less of an issue now (a number of years into the process of living from my identity and having a go at doing some of the things I really love), than it was initially as I was finding my feet in the process. Maybe it’s because I’ve experienced a few small wins, or I now have a growing community of like-minded friends to share the journey with, or I’ve got a taste for life so I’m willing to fight harder to overcome obstacles. Perhaps my shoulders are also getting broader as I just grow up a bit, and I’m more ok with the fact that life is full of tensions and there will always be a degree of resistance. I think our creativity is a remarkable gift for finding ways forward where there seems no way... even if that creativity is simply put to work finding a way to hang in there at times (cup of tea anyone?).
So, let’s look at your concerns from the perspective of what’s real. I say this because when talking about living from your identity, people will often say something like, “yeah sure, but in the real world...” And I hear this. The concerns listed above are super valid and I would not diminish them by offering simple solutions. But the question I have is this; is the world around us a static environment we have to respond to or is it something we can shape? And if so, what may be stopping or facilitating our shaping the really real world? There’s no easy answers to living as yourself in a complex world, but here are a few tips to change what you can...
Clearing the decks
Everyone has a perfectly valid reason (for themselves) for not pursuing their own story. Only some of these reasons, however, are usually worth considering. After you take away any fear or laziness from the equation, what’s left is something you can really work on. For instance, if someone is working in a job they hate for fear of not having a job at all, that fear will dominate the reasons why they can’t study or take the time to write more songs... If someone looks at the seemingly daunting amount of time and effort it takes to pursue their story and decides they’ll do it later, then that procrastination will become a dominant part of all their future choices... But if you face these blocks and remove their presence from the situation, then what you’ll be left with is a reasonable problem that your identity can actually cope with.
The key is to own our internal roadblocks before we can tackle the external ‘realities’. If for instance, I can acknowledge and remove my internal fear of failure or my obsession with financial security, then I can use my real energy to face the actual difficulties of an economic downturn or a market seemingly saturated with people all wanting the same job. In fact, when I get that distracting fear out of the way, I can actually focus on my distinctive response and may just find a niche. The nature of fear is that it blocks all prospective solutions by predicting disaster on all fronts. Once its annoying voice is dealt with, you can sense and deal with the real situation. Because when people say they can’t do such and such because it’s simply not realistic, what they’re often meaning is that from their perspective they can’t see a way ahead. Remove the penny (the true weight and size of a fear) from in front of your eye and you’ll see an entire ocean of possibilities.
Here’s how I deal with my fears:
• acknowledge them (speak them out, look at their root structure, like where they came from or what they’re based on...)
• process the reasonable bits (what’s true or actual about the concern)
• use my identity strengths to do what I can with the reasonable bits (and leave the results up to time and more effort as needed)
Dealing with laziness is much easier. It’s obvious (at least to your mom) and has a simple solution. You just speak out what your trading your future for and own the consequences. Like, ‘Instead of creating the best skate park in the country, I choose to work this average job, because for now I get to buy a few toys along the way...’ Or, ‘Instead of working really hard on my dreams now, I’ll wait until I absolutely have to before I make any significant changes to my life, even if at that point I may have forgotten what my dreams even were.’ As you acknowledge the choices you’re making today and own the reasons why, you’ll give cause and effect the best possible chance to speak to those priorities before they work you later (as in a mid-life crisis). If you’re making choices today to just get by because getting by ain’t that bad, then know that the slow suffocation of your identity will have a life destroying effect in the long run. You may have subtle reasons as to why you’re not trying harder, or pushing yourself further, but if you can be completely honest your true self might have a chance at fighting for its own life.
The results of properly owning and working through fear and laziness will be living in the really real world. Not the perceived one of social pressures and internal confusions, but the actual place where your identity and hard work can make a difference. The real world is messed up, but malleable at the same time. Don’t use ‘reality’ as a cop out for inactivity. Instead, call out what’s truly difficult in the world around you, and what you’re truly capable of in terms of changing that world.
I’m ‘Le tired’ (not enough energy to get off the couch, or la chaise longue)
(If you’re lazy, read the part above "Clearing the decks" over and over again until this is no longer an issue:-). Nah, kidding, kinda. I understand a lack of energy based on a tired spirit. When you have tried and the efforts you’ve made haven’t been rewarded, it sucks the energy away from future endeavors. Finding a second wind is the work of your will and that will needs a reason to kick back into gear, despite the past. My hope has been that your identity / story / plans will give your will a much better reason to find this strength. But I also know that a lot of you will have put in some years doing your best to get this far, and the wall you now need to get over can still seem very, very high. The first thing to consider is properly pacing yourself. In terms of rest, are you getting what you need daily (most sleep experts recommend 6 REM cycles, or nine hours per night), weekly, and yearly? Is your life balanced, because if it’s not, you’ll never have the extraordinary energy required to be yourself. The second thing to look at is where you’re presently wasting time, and you know exactly what that means. Put that time back into research, inspiration, and feeding those parts of your soul that need it. Finally, have a look at pacing yourself so that you reach your goals within a reasonable amount of time. I want to write seven books in seven years. If I do that in ten I’m still happy, but in either case, I plan my ‘life attack plan’ over a doable period of time so I have the grace to actually get there.
The kids are crying! (too many needs, too much distraction at home to pursue your dreams)
Some people live in family environments where most of their energy bandwidth is taken up by those commitments. Just keeping the machine going leaves very little time to finish a good book, let alone attend night-school or develop a small business on the side. But the real tension, as Kath mentioned above, is that if you can’t function out of your full identity, how can you help your kids see theirs and not get stuck in the rat race of education, work, taxes, and then... I totally relate to this and want to write a book on the subject, ‘cause it’s huge. But for now I would say that you need to put a stake in the ground. If you don’t arrest this process it’ll drag you through the rest of your life, living under the tyranny of the urgent. The ‘stake’ is a set of attitudes and priorities you want to foster while you’re in the thick of it. Meaning, you’re already doing a million things, so make each one count. Firstly, don’t waste time on amusement. If your free-time isn’t doing things that inspire you, you’re squandering that wealth. Secondly, make all your choices line up just a little bit better with your identity. My friend Hailey spends quality time with her two girls by taking pictures together (she’s a photographer) and helping them to make their own unique creations. Her articulate and humorous husband Andrew takes those pictures and makes miniature newspapers (as in 5x8cm) for the kids featuring their own stories. Instead of complying with status quo roles in the home, we can transform that same environment when we make each choice line up a little bit closer with who we are. So, whatever you have to do each day, make it a little more like you and it’ll add up to a slow transformation over time.
It’s too late, I’ve missed the party
(all your energy is being spent on the ‘part-time’ projects)
The average age of ‘successful’ people seems to be getting lower every decade. Pop stars coming out of grade school and software stars coming out of college give the impression that the rest of us have missed the boat. But I think we’re looking at the wrong indicators. The people who’ve nailed life’s real issues (love, lasting creativity, sustainable community) are way past their 20’s. In fact, some studies I’ve seen suggest that those that burn brightly in the beginning hardly ever burn for very long. Especially young artists who tap into the pop milieu, they seem to peak in their 20’s and then poof. I suggest we reconsider our metric for how old is ‘too old’ to pursue any given dream. What we should consider is whether we’re spending the time we do have in the right way, or if we’re redeeming everything we’ve learned so far. Some waste tons of time pursuing the right dream from the wrong path. My son Jordan had lots of opportunities to work various jobs on film sets, but he knew that if he spent all day being an AD (assistant director) he would have zero time or energy left to actually direct. So he took the guerrilla route of making his own shorts films, music videos, and TV commercials so he could create a more direct path to his goals. We can capitalize on our experience and develop our talents at any stage of our lives if we’re willing to set our own metric for success; which I define as being myself in a loving way to those around me. I can do that at 20, 40, 60... Especially given that each year exploring identity gives me a wisdom I can’t get in any other way.
No gas (petrol) in the car! (economic hardships seem too difficult to proceed)
The old axiom still holds true; that if you don’t work, you don’t eat. This is a good pressure. It makes you find what you’re best at and work hard at turning that into value for others who will then pay you in return. So far, so good. Money usually becomes a pressure when you’re not working from your strengths. It takes way more labour hours to earn when you (or your product / company) are only average at what you’re doing. If you worked 40 hours per week at things you loved and were really good at, you’d have too much money. But who gets to do that, right? Well? The money side of life is hard, but you can deal with this over time. As you work hard on building your strengths, you’ll also be building a good financial foundation. Our identities are wired to multiply stuff, in a world that’s wired to be multiplied. So, if you work hard by putting your identity to work, you will pay those bills and have something leftover to be generous with. Oh, and read Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
Your mom STILL wants you to clean your room!
(family situation feels like an anchor)
A lot of people live under the constant expectation of their families—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing—but the way these pressures are communicated or transferred can be debilitating. Other negative experiences from our upbringing can add to these internal pressures. These take up a lot of the headspace, or the bandwidth, we need to get on with being proactive. And you can’t just ignore the pressure, it has to be relieved. We’ve looked at this stuff in previous chapters, but I just want to say that asyou progress, one way to release some of this pressure and get the headspace back is to look at a really long-term process. There’s no way all this stuff (often generational) can be worked through before you get on with your dreams. You have to communicate, interact, change, and heal over time all in parallel with walking out your dreams. In fact, I’ve found that I have the grace and ability to clear my headspace best when I’m winning a little more each day through the exercise of my talents and gifts. When I get to be me, maybe for the first time in my life, I have courage to face the other. The other family member, or neighbor, or boss who may want me to be something else gets to reckon with the real me. Over time, those big giant problem relationships become manageable. You just have to work it all in parallel.
Does this color look good on me? (you’re too afraid of what others will think)
Another thing that messes with our headspace is a fear of what others will think about our plans, especially if our story is kinda out there. Often, the mean spirited response we hear from those around us doesn’t come so much from the fact they don’t like your story, it’s that theirs is being confronted. Like, ‘why do you get to pursue your dreams?’ And while I’m tempted to just say ‘lose the lame friends’, the truth is that you need those around you to be part of your story. And they need you for theirs.
The trick is to turn those mutual fears and expectations into a conversation. Do a better job of encouraging your friends while sharing your next steps and enlisting their help. Often, these peer based fears are only in our heads and aren’t what our friends are thinking at all. But either way, communicating what you want to achieve gives everyone something tangible to work on. And if you do fail, or do get judged, then learn to be okay with this because these two things will be part of the rest of your life anyway. Failure will teach you to improve and judgement will teach you what you need to ignore. And by the way, doing nothing about your dreams does not make failure or judgement go away. You have to grab ahold and work them to your benefit.
Where’s my ride? (not enough community support for what you want to do)
Sometimes it seems impossible to find a few people who will just listen closely, and maybe even throw in with us. But it’s super easy to connect with all kinds of people who’ll be more than happy to waste your time being typical. And it’s amazing how we can live surrounded by people and yet feel so alone and disconnected. You don’t need to move city or dump all your friends to change this scenario. But you do need to consider how you relate to each other. Thoreau once said that most of us “lead lives of quiet desperation”... where we keep quiet about our identity and our dreams. It’s like we’re all lobotomized. I say we end the silent desperation by being bold enough to change the dynamic within your existing network. Tell them the story you want to pursue and ask them about theirs. Take the risk of rejection, mocking, or skewed glances, and just let people know who you really are and where you want to go with that. You’ll find a bit of resistance, but you’ll also find comrades. If you do this over the course of a year or two, you’ll find that even in a small town in Switzerland, there are enough people to support your process. If you think these people are meant to come to you and pour time and money on your story, you’ll be waiting forever. You’re designed to be proactive, and proactive people create the kind of relational support they need. That support does exist and it’s closer than you think, but you have to call it out.
I've lost the address! (not enough information or resources to proceed)
I run into a lot of people who jump into university because it ‘seemed’ like the right program, only to change degrees within the year. Or they just stick it out anyway, get a job, and force that education to pay their bills... Not cool. Others will get stumped with all the options available and go into an info-coma, then end up doing nothing at all. When you start really pursuing your story, you’ll need to break out
of simplistic approaches by getting all the details required to make the best possible choices.
Two words of advice then: RE SEARCH. In an outside-in reactive approach to life, no one puts in the time needed to really search out the details that will inform a personalized decision. As you start to outline plans, take the time to do A LOT of research. Each important step should be really well considered by drawing all the information you can into the fray. Especially if your path is gonna be tough. Most people check out because there’s not an obvious open door, or because a solution isn’t immediately clear. Some of the things you may want to do are going to be really hard and will take heaps of imagination, thinking outside of the box, and ferreting out the angles everyone else gave up on. And, if your world has been overly mini- van-mom’d, then you’re gonna have to work extra hard at kicking doors open and finding solutions. Just sayin.
FINALLY - Don't forget what you've been given
The human spirit is an amazing thing. It can succumb to ‘affluenza’ or overcome the meanest obstacle. What causes it to do either seems to be the stuff of poetry. Why does one person with all the opportunities in the world squander their life, while the other—the poorest of child soldiers—spin that adversity into gold? What’s that mechanism which changes our entire world and forms it according to either our strengths for good or our weakness for our demise? The great battle between your soul’s will and the fear of failure determines the rest of your life. But it’s not just a matter of ‘positive thinking’, it’s about putting the fear of failure in its place. For instance, when J. K. Rowling was in her 20’s, she felt her life had “failed in an epic scale”. This is how she described it:
“An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded,
and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is
possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.
The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had
had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every
usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.”
While this was a horrible time, with no clear light at the end of the tunnel for the young woman working at Amnesty International, the experience of true failure “[...] meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me”. She regained her focus and passion for storytelling by darting off for lunch writing in a cafe, and the rest is history.
Our fear of failure is largely the fear of an assumed failure, or an assumption that we will not live up to the expectations placed upon us. Fine, the sooner we lose those expectations the better. But we have to differentiate between assumed failure— where the world’s criteria sets the bar—and true failure which strips away the dross revealing the self and its real potential, even in crisis. Rowling continues: “You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” True failure will happen as you pursue your identity, but so will the discovery of deeper strengths, stronger relationships, and a clarity you can gain in no other way. The only way you can know the difference between assumed failures and the truly helpful ones is to be true to your identity as you move forward. Let real failure have its effect on you and keep the assumed ones out of your head by forcing them to face the real world of your soul’s making.
The resilient quiet strength of our souls is the source of a life well lived. That place in us, where our identity lives and connects us spiritually to God and humanity, is a seed that longs to create the really real world around us. Not
the world we see today, but the one we can create. The shadow of what’s to come is brooding inside of you, waiting for its chance to get into the light and do some good. But if it stays suppressed for much longer, it will turn in on itself and become need, stress, and loneliness. This nuclear force within us can only be unleashed if we say so. The simple yet powerful switch is our will. We will to do one thing or another, choose one path or another. Circumstances do affect us, but at the end of the day, our will has the majority vote. There’s a proverb that says “the power of life and death is in the tongue.” What you say yes or no to will create one world or the other. Amazing isn’t it, that for most of our lives we thought someone else was actually in control while we’ve actually had this internal force all along. Our will, what we do with it, and what we say has the power to transform the rest of our lives—and by extension, the lives of those around us. Use it well.
As for me - I’m still learning how to write. In terms of those 10,000 hours to master something, I’m somewhere in the 1,000-2,000 hour range. I’m a little embarrassed to publish this book such as it is. On top of this, I’ve made it my habit to write the first three drafts in a crowded cafe next to Blue and 30 other people. (As I write, there’s a gorgeous curly-haired 4-year-old practicing the most shrill, horrible scream I’ve ever heard.) While not at the cafe, I’d be writing in my living room where the wonderful dysfunction / creativity of my family kept slamming into my thoughts. I wrote in this environment to stay in context—or in the flow of real lives—but man does it make writing hard. My kids are in their late teens and early 20’s and drive me nuts most of the time. And right now, my wife isn’t really happy with me. On top of all that, the year so far has been a financial wreck and that’s following 28 years of just getting by. During the last two years, I’ve had nine operations for skin cancer, two of which were malignant melanomas. Fun. Now, I could still counter each statement above with 10 other things for which I’m very, very thankful. But if I can write a book, the hardest one for me so far, in the midst of all this, I wonder what you can do? I mention these things simply to encourage you. Don’t wait for things to get better before you launch out. You make things better by putting in the next 1,000 hours, then the next... alongside whoever’s willing to walk with you.
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