So…awhile back I wrote a post about how I was about to have a baby and that was giving me a sensation of “I wants” for a Mitsubishi EvoX. As with most things in my life, once I get something in my head…I can’t seem to let it go. It was almost a week after that when I started looking for a replacement car for my ’07 Avalanche.
The Evo ended up being a no-go. I opened the trunk and there was only 6 cubic feet of storage space. Seriously?! Who in their right mind would be able to use that for even to-go food from a restaurant?
Well, it was back to the drawing board and I eventually ended up with a 2011 Subaru WRX hatch in silver that would carry multiple bikes for Bike198 and tote the kid around with the half a house we now have to pack with us when we go anywhere.
Those of you that know me…know I can’t ever leave well enough alone, so I started hacking away at the car as soon as I got it. I don’t even think it made it pas 500 miles on the odometer before it was modded.
Last week was my birthday. Around every time this year, I take a look at my life and take somewhat of an inventory of where I have been, where I want to go and how I am going to get there with the knowledge I have learned from the past. I guess you could call it my personal fiscal year for lack of a better word.
But, this year hit me a little bit differently. I turned 30.
While it is just another year just like any other, I think it is natural to use the ages that end in 0 to look at the past decade to see how things have gone. I have always operated under the assumption that we can not get better without learning from our mistakes, so I tend to look at what I have done wrong more closely than the successes.
Then I started thinking, if I could grab a hold of the 20 year old me…what would I say? Well…here is exactly what I would say to the 20 year old Robb Sutton.
Top 10 Things I Wish I Could Tell Myself 10 Years Ago
Hang out with people that make you want to be better.
Get busy doing something. The world is full of grand ideas with no action and you learn the most from doing.
Place importance on things that really matter. You will come up against a moment when you would sell off everything you previously thought was important for something that really is.
One day, it will occur to you that your parents are people too.
Think of life in the context of how you want to live…not how much money you want to make.
These are not the “best years of your life”. Life is really just beginning.
Collect experiences. Not stuff.
Time will start to move faster…not slow down. Enjoy each moment.
Take calculated risks when there can be a positive outcome…not ones that get you in nothing but trouble.
Drop the ego. You haven’t done anything yet.
The best thing about this list is that all of them are things that I need to continue to remember over the next 30 years and I am stoked about what is ahead.
The human mind is capable of amazing things. If you take a look at history, the amount of time between major events is pretty short even though it may seem they are worlds apart.
Think about it…
On December 17, 1903 the Wright Brothers brought the human race into the air with the first successful, controlled, powered flight in the Wright Flyer 1. In a short 66 years later on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong put man’s first step on the moon. When you put those events in that context, it doesn’t seem like that long of a period where huge strides were made in technology purely through the collaboration and imagination of people.
We Are Our #1 Worst Enemy
With that in mind, what keeps us from achieving our dreams? We all have ideas and aspirations that will take our lives to that next level. However, we watch people every day be content with the average. We put our dreams aside for the stability of not ‘rocking the boat’. We convince ourselves that keeping things as they are is better than having to deal with failure. We watch as mainstream media tries to convince us that you are ‘unique’ while beating in actions that make us all the same.
While it may seem at times that it is the fault of someone else or circumstances that brought us to where we are now, the reality is that our own fears and self doubt is the biggest deterrent to forward progress in our own lives. We believe the hype. We change our course and ability to test our own limits off the thought that failure or rejection must be so bad that it is not worth the reward. The more we try to push the limits of what we consider normal, the more others who are happy with staying in the status quo try to keep us down. Why are you disrupting the way things are going? We are happy with the way things are…or are we?
True innovators ignore the critics and continue to dream…
The reality in the world in which we live is that when you step outside of the box, you are going to get shot at. That is just a fact. The Wright Brothers were ridiculed and basically called insane for their ideas at the time, but now air travel is the most efficient way to travel and ship goods. It was their ability to believe in their dream that made it a reality.
We have to allow ourselves to dream. We have to allow forward progress through the testing of those dreams. Are they all going to work out? No. Are the successful ones going to work right away. Absolutely not. Are you going to have to cross hurdles and work incredibly hard to achieve what you truly want in life? Absolutely.
When we start destroying dreams as a society, we are dancing on very dangerous territory.
So…some of you might be thinking the following…
Great Robb! But how the hell does this apply to me? I don’t have any ideas like the first flight!
And you are right. We are not all going to have that idea that completely changes the world and that is ok. We do, however, have that one idea that can change our own reality. We just haven’t given it an honest chance. We either gave up too early or started to believe the hype of people who didn’t really care to begin with. We found that one excuse or failure that triggered the quitter in our mind and we let it go there. We became satisfied with the notion that ‘it will never happen anyway…so why try’.
We do not have to be innovators for the world, but we can be innovators in our own lives for our own families.
If you have dreams, professional or personal, it is up to you to make it happen. You can not let roadblocks deter you from accomplishing your goals. If you keep the dream alive, you will find a way to get around those that think it can’t happen. It just takes believing in yourself and your ability to get something done. There is so much talent in this world that is wasted due to self doubt and glorified critics.
I was sitting this morning watching this video that is a string of amazing feats by people. With a string of YouTube clips cut together, this video makes you once again realize what we are really capable of. Normal people…doing amazing things. It reminded me that I have several projects that I have either been holding back on or shelved for the very same reasons I listed above. It gave me inspiration to get the needed tasks done in my own life to make those a reality. The people in this video had the drive and the willingness to make their idea a reality. We are capable of amazing things. We just have to make it happen for ourselves.
I have been thinking about something a lot lately that is nothing new…it just seems to get worse and worse with time.
As the internet becomes more social and less of a resource, we are seeing the emergence of more “internet experts”. Whether it be bloggers writing about subjects they have no experience in or friends on your friendly Facebook wall turning into a heated political debate, the social internet has now given people the ability to say things online that they would never say in person…at least not with the grander and force they do digitally.
We are now in an age where everyone sees themselves as an expert in a specific field because of their ability to research their passion through their favorite sources. This creates a certain amount of hostility online as these “experts” butt heads over what they feel is right. But…just like the experts that think they are right…the sources they quote can be just as biased and misled.
As many of you know, we had our first kid last month. I am sure we are going through the same thing most new parents do…the ultimate search for the perfect way to raise your kid. In the pursuit of perfect information, we scour the web and books looking for the “expert” to tell us how things are done and what we need to do next. However, what we find is that no one is on the same page on anything! They can sooth themselves at a month…no wait…not until a year…6 months…3 months…can’t all of you guys just get on the same page?!
This has brought me to the underlying conclusion that you can find whatever you want to read at the time.
Are you having a hard time getting your kid to sleep? Then the book that said one month must be wrong and the 6 month one must be right…because that is my experience. (ours is down for the count at one month…and we are grateful for it!!)
Do you feel like you lean more to the conservative side of politics? More liberal? You are going to read the sources that you connect with.
Have friends on Facebook that are saying what you want to hear? Think you’ll listen to them more than the ones that are saying what you don’t at the time?
Now days…everyone has a voice and the answers online can bring us to a state that we forget to think for ourselves.
Before the age of the internet, we had books and other resources, but the massive volume of information was not present. Now…before we do anything we head to the computer asking The Google what to do next. We forget to stop, think and assess the situation. We completely forgo our gut instincts to trust people we don’t know or ones with zero experience in the specified field.
The internet does a lot of amazing things for our daily lives, but our trust in self proclaimed experts that arose from the ease of publication of information has brought many people to a state that they no longer adapt and think for themselves. They don’t question what they read or try to adapt and change information to fit their lives. Objectivity is going away as blind faith in information is taking over.
It as almost as if the internet put up a wanted ad for experts in fields that have zero ability to talk about things rationally.
While this article might seem like a rant (and it is in someways), it is more about challenging you to question and actually think about what you read online (including things I write and say). There is no right answer for everyone. Everything in life needs to be thought out and interpreted as your life is not the exact same as your neighbors.
That said…we have to be willing to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. I do believe a lot of the trust we give to people that are providing the answers we want to hear stems from not wanting to mess up. We then have the ability to say someone else was wrong if it doesn’t go right, or we can then take credit if it works and push that same ideal on others. Some of the greatest rewards in life come out of what we learn from the mistakes we make. We can not let that fear run how we make decisions.
The internet is a great source of information…when used correctly. It is up to you how you process the information on the screen whether it is from a friend or an article on a website written by someone you don’t even know. How are you going to adapt as information overload continues to expand in our lives?