Monday, August 25, 2008

Trying it all

We live, on average, 75 years. At best, 100. Right now, in the best case scenario, I am 1/4 done with my life. Probably closer to 1/3. What now? This question has been at the root of my "search" since I graduated from college in the spring of 2007.

So, with 2/3 left, what to aim for, what to pursue, and what to ultimately make of my life and leave as my legacy? This question is easily answered when kept in the philosophical realm: the goal is to help people, to make life better for yourself, your family, build connections with others, enjoy the great moments, experience happiness, and to share your personal experiences in order to better the human race in some way before you die.

Great, got that down. Now, how does one make this happen? This is what life is all about. There is no one answer. There is no one perfect thing/things that people can do in order to live perfectly good and fulfilled lives. Now, there are a number of general guidelines that people can use in order to treat others with respect that can help them live better, but our actions are uniquely ours, and thus we have the choice to make literally any impact that we want to have.

For years, I wanted to be a rockstar, but not sincerely. It was more of a "geez, that'd be awesome to do lots of drugs, have sex with tons of women/men, travel the world, drive cars into pools, and never answer to anyone" type of dream. For a lot of people, this is "living the dream".

As of late, I have explored what "living the dream" means. For most people, post college life involves getting a job, building a resume, finding a mate, having kids, raising them, spoiling grandchildren, and then sailing off into the sunset. Not a half bad life. Just not for everyone.

Living the dream means pursuing things that others either wouldn't, couldn't, or would choose not to do. The type of things that are usually included in the dream are heavily art-based: Singing, writing, painting, playing sports, and other such things are typically what people consider "living the dream". However, when one actually lives the dream, and goes after one of these life paths, a few things happen.

One, the craft this person practices has to be in the top 2% of their field, otherwise no one will pay attention, and thus they will not be able to live. (either that or have a famous older sister, read: Ashley Simpson)

Two, this person often times needs to isolate himself from mainstream society, take a step back if you will, in order to describe the human condition in their craft from an objective viewpoint. This process can be difficult, especially when sincere bonds have been formed with those who have decided on a more traditional route. When advice is then given to the artist, it comes from those who have gone a different way, and therefore is mostly irrelevant to the artist's life. This leads to the person taking on an entire new life filled with more supportive people who have the same aims and life goals as the artist.

Three, if a person decides to go down the path of the dream, the more extreme and intense their expressions are, tend to be congruous with how successful that person is in the field.

So, either the person goes extreme, loses his friends, and becomes an artistic genius, or they banished by society as "insane". (Yes, there may be some middle ground) Either way, it's a damn tough road. know what they say, "If it were easy, everyone would do it". I chose this road a long time ago, (then again, is it really a choice?(this is a whole nother blog)) because I believe that I will be able to make the greatest difference possible by creating beautiful things to fill this world with.

I'd encourage you to try the same.

Much love,


Marty said...

I start trying to make a simple point somehow that is dam near impossible for me. But i hope it gives you something new to think about.

Do what you woant to do.
Go where your heart takes you.
Nothing risked nothing gained.
Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved.
Its your life live it. You may find that it can be shorter than you think.
Old age is a privilege granted to few.

Find something lock down now. Trying it all is great but yields little complete. Why because unless we limit our Choices and set a dream. You will always think something better is around the corner but that something never comes.

Only you can make these decisions and dont allow others to make decisions for you.

Look at what realistically you woant from life. Also what you would like to add to life. A mind set of giving and helping. What can i do to help. Let me help. Gives better objectives in what's important. Helping and giving can do more for the soul and be more rewarding than all the money in the world. You cant take money on the journey you soul will take in time. You can take friendship compassion love and knowledge, all the things money cannot buy. Being greedy will bring lessons to your soul you will not soon forget in time.

Run these dreams over in you mind. Think of them always
There are forces at work in our lives we can see or explain but are there, with us always.

You will go where you brain takes you. Give it the necessary input to know where you woant to go. Run those dreams in you brain.

With that a thing called timing will work to your advantage. You will be drawn in the right direction to meet the people who will influence you life. Its chaos theory. Even in the most confusing things a pattern will develop prepare you mind and run your dreams to be in the right place at the right time and if you brain is still running your dream your timing will be perfect.

After all its all in the timing

Marty said...

Ok well check this out

Chad said...

Zach, after reading this blog post I had to take a minute and respond. In reading it I found conscious recognition of a kindred spirit. You mention a lot of things that I have given a great deal of thought to lately, especially what it takes to live the dream.

To start with you mention we have a 75 to 100 year life span, which is currently correct. However, we are at the Copernican Age of Human Biology. We are discovering things at a pace that is unrivaled in the history of the universe. Within our lifetime we will see the technology that will enable us to extend the human lifespan to 150 years. Personally, I think it can be done within the next 20 years. I plan on living to be at least 125. So how does this impact living the dream? Assuming that modern medicine will significantly lengthen our lifespan, does that change anything? For me it changes everything because my passion lies in human performance, sports medicine, research in those fields, and longevity research, but all that is a different blog in a different time and place. For those of us who seek to live the dream what does it mean, if anything?

The initial observation is that it gives us more time to get this right so we can drop the pressure to do it all right now and do it all perfectly. Perhaps there is some room for that childlike desire to create, explore, enhance and beautify our lives and the things around us. That sense that modern society tries so hard to eliminate from us as soon as possible so we can go "be a responsible adult". Maybe the recognition that as long as we take care of our bodies we are going to live to be very, very old gives us the time to play and in doing so gives us permission to seek our own version of the dream.

For some maybe it is being a rockstar, for millions it's playing in the NFL or the NBA, for some it's the CEO's office on Wall Street. To accomplish those things in the past as required either the skills in the top 2% or the connections to make things happen. Regardless, the underlying element in both those things is the ability to be noticed for your work and results. There are ways to transcend the connection issue if you have the burning desire, the passion, and the drive to create something that is truly phenomenal. And this brings us back around to the personal characteristics of what is needed to live the dream.

It requires a different person, a different personality and a different set of values then the typical american dream formula of a wife, two kids, a dog and a little house with a white picket fence. That's fine for those that want that. What about for those of us that march to the beat of our own drums, that want more, that want something far beyond the typical? It does set us apart from our friends and from most of society. The literature is filled with the quotes of various world champions on how the path is difficult and it must be difficult by nature. It requires the one that one seek to live the dream to have the strength to be different when the whole world is seeking to make you just the same. It requires the strength to watch the friendships you've made slowly become less and less signficant as your lives gradually take on different paths. It requires the strength to put in the hours on your art when the others are practicing the art of drinking their 20's away. It requires the constant attention to training and care of the body, mind and spirit. When you really think about it, mastery of anything, and especially the mastery of life that is called living the dream is such a tall order it's a wonder that any of us are courageous enough, or crazy enough to go after it. It seems to be a lonely proposition in a world that seems to be comfortable with the average, the mediocre and the mundane. For me those things are forms of slow suicide, they represent everything I am not and cannot be. I think it must be like that with all who seek to live the dream.

For me the dream is huge. The task before me great, the challenge daunting and complex, but I can't imagine setting out to do anything less.

As an end note, I'm working on a website concept for those of us who are seeking the dream. It's still in the early stages of the drawing board of the mind. The basic notion though is giving those of us who seek the dream a place to connect with others like us. You pointed out in your blog that the path can be a lonely one. It's difficult to connect with those who are satisified with less, and its very difficult to find those who seek the dream. And so the notion of site as been tumbling through my mind as a small aspect of my own search for the formula of the dream. You should drop me a few lines back or get in touch with me. I'm curious about your work on beautifying the world and your own search for the dream. chad /at symbol/