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Something I’ve learned about our twenties is that it’s all about not being afraid to try new things. We graduate from college and the world is at our finger tips, and so many of us fall into the trap that we were only “meant to do one thing”. If there’s anything I learned from traveling the country and working 50 different jobs, it’s this: There is a big world out there and we as human beings are more capable of learning new skills than many of us could ever imagine.
I found these quotes that have helped inspire me as of late and I wanted to share them with you. This is one of the twenty books I’m reading in 2015 called All Groan Up. I’d encourage you to plaster these quotes on your walls, office, or somewhere in your car where you’ll see them often. They are nice slaps of truth to help you kick start your twenties and not settle for mediocrity.
“I’m miserable because I never took a chance. Fear is a liar. It makes life seem impossible, overwhelming, something to be drowned out instead of lived. Fear is always there, swimming right under the surface, ready to latch on like a giant squid the moment we fill into the water. Fear tells us, “This is far enough; start building right here, “When we’re two hundred miles shy of the destination we set out for.”
I feel like your early twenties and right out of college are almost the era of massive “settling” in our lives. We’ve all heard the familiar preaching session of how when you’re young we have big dreams and as we get older they slowly get smaller and smaller. The only problem is, this cliche is true. We really do have big aspirations and when we leave college and enter the “real world” we often cave into positions that we’ve settled for. Why do we settle? Most likely because we’re scared of failing or speaking up.
“And it’s impossible to change this world and remain comfortable.”
A couple weeks ago I tweeted “A life of comfort and meaning cannot co-exist.” Some random guy tweeted back at me really pessimistic and wanted to know more. It’s in moments like this I wish that Twitter had more than 140 characters so I could meticulously write this guy back with a thoughtful response. But then I tried to think subjectively and better understand what he was talking about.
Is it possible for meaning and comfort to co-exist? Well, to answer you have to write out your definition of comfort and meaning, which is going to be different for every living person. I thought about what comfort means to me- Netflix, hot showers, good wifi, and a nice bed to sleep in. Someone in Asia might say comfort means something totally different. My definition of meaning is enjoying the work I do and feeling like I’m working hard at something and providing value for others in the process. Meaning is a word that also has different definitions for any person you ask.
But in the midst of plotting my very thoughtful response to this obvious “troll” on twitter, I realized he was right. A life of meaning and comfort can co-exist. How? I’ll give you an example. I consider my life meaningful in the moment. I filmed a documentary last year, I’m currently on a book tour, I have a great wife and my life is filled with meaning. But hell, I binge watch some Netflix everyone once in a while just like the next guy (and Netflix is something I definitely associate with comfort). Therefore, the truth is, meaning and comfort can co-exist. But here’s what cannot co-exist:
A life that pursues both meaning and comfort.
I realized last year while living in a 29 foot motorhome with my wife, rarely taking long, warm showers, dealing with spotty wifi and sometimes staying the night in sketchy places; that our lives were far from comfortable. We had taken a huge risk in quitting our jobs and in the process we had found an immense amount of meaning in our writing and documentary project. That being said, we had little comforts along the way like chocolate, wine, and gourmet coffee. These are comforts and yet they existed during our meaningful and chaotic lives. I do believe they can live together harmoniously, but it’s when your entire life becomes about pursuing comfort that it will be difficult to find meaning. When your life is built around constantly seeking out the newest car and the newest wearable technology, is when you might find meaning lacking in your life. Again, this is subjective and you don’t have to take my word for it. Figure out what comfort and meaning look like in your own life and decide what you think.
“I learned that those we partner with can make or break the whole ride. In business, in friendships, in love, in faith. If we partner with people out of desperation or fear, if we choose relationships from our insecurities, if we don’t choose wisely the people who walk with us, it will make the journal a lot more perilous than it has to be. With all the stumbles and falls coming our way, we need some secure people to pick us up.”
I’m lucky that I found Alyssa to partner up with in making a film and pursuing a career as a writer. If I hadn’t found her, it would be a lonely ride. We’re currently both working on writing our first books and it’s not an easy process. We’ll spend the next several months and most likely a year or so writing a book that we hope the world might want to read.
“I have to keep reminding myself that motivation and creativity are rarely things that just happen. The inspiration we need to find our dreams and grow our dreams is not something mythical; it’s methodic. Sometimes the most inspired thing you can do is to just keep showing up when inspiration is out on a Caribbean cruise and not returning any of your phone calls. You can only find inspiration by continuing to move forward when you’re completely uninspired. Thea act of doing can often be the only thing that can dislodge the motivation that has been stuck.”
“In college, for the most part, we learned how to regurgitate truth, not own it. We rented the answers until semester’s end, and then we pawned them off for $10.50 at our school’s bookstore. We played the game for good grades without realizing the real tests were nowhere near the classroom. Yet becoming an adult is not a onetime thing. You grow into growing up, each season bringing with it things you’re going to have to secretly Google to figure out how to do.”
These bombshells of knowledge came from a new book I recently read by Paul Angone called All Groan Up: Searching for Faith, Self, and a Freaking Job. Seeing as I spent most of 2014 “searching for myself” and 50 jobs, it was a great book and one I would recommend to anyone in their twenties who have some unanswered questions.
If you’d like to check it out for yourself, here it is.