Saturday, April 16, 2005

Succeed Now!

by AJ/Skald

"The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it."

Pulled that quote off Tom Peters site... its one of those "insanely great" cliches. So, so true. For all those living desperate, bored lives, is not aiming too low the problem. Most of these folks are reaching their goals. They are doing well financially. Their careers are going well. All those little goals are being met.

But what happened to the big ones... those lofty principles that once excited them? What happened to the dream of traveling the world? Of being an artist? Of making movies? Of writing?

Maybe you are one of those people who gave up. Maybe you think its too late now. But its not.

I started my hobopoet life at age 33. Until then I was ploughing along,... vaguely disatisfied. I talked of wanting to see the world. I talked of wanting to be a writer. I talked and talked and talked, but stayed in Georgia (and SC) and tried to establish a "career" as a social worker.

Then it hit me. I could talk or I could do it. I was struggling in yet another miserable job. I was bogged down with debt. I felt trapped. Trapped by the IDEA of responsibility. Trapped by my fears.... of other people's opinions, of failing.

And then something snapped. I converted my Nissan Sentra into a living space, moved out of my apartment, got rid of 90% of my shit, and became a hobopoet car-dweller. I declared bankruptcy.

Several months later, I moved to the hinterlands of Japan. I was lonely... and became depressed. But I had a lot of time to think. I began writing and decided to train myself to be a writer no matter how long it took, no matter how bad I was, no matter how much rejection I got. Id become a freelance article writer--- or fail gloriously in the attempt.

And then something curious happened: momentum. These decisions built on each other... strengthened my confidence.... inspired me to greater boldness. I set off on a wandering journey in Asia. I returned home and lived in my van. I moved to Thailand. I moved to Hiroshima. I wrote and actually sold a few articles.

Looking back, its so obvious. All that was required was the courage to do it. Im no Jack Kerouac or Hemingway. Anyone can learn to write and sell articles. And Im no Basho either. Anyone can imitate my travels.. and go much farther.

"Mind forged manacles", as Emerson wrote, are what bind us. Its fear that stops us. Its conditioning.

The important battles are internal. The initial journey begins inside.

Fight those battles. Make that journey.

Step onto the open road.

Dare to fail gloriously in pursuit of your bliss.

Do that and you will find, in fact, that there is no failure.

The attempt, the process, and the journey itself are what's important.

With your first step, you have already succeeded.


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