When I was young I assumed two things which I imagined to be absolutes. I thought for sure that one day I would wake up and understand that I was an adult. I would look into my closet and suddenly the jeans and tshirts would be suits. I would know what to do and when to do it. Wake up, open closet, grab suit, go change the world, done. It seemed really, really easy.
The second thing that I assumed was that one day I would be chatting with a teacher or a “mentor” type person and they would suddenly say … “this is what you need to do for the rest of your life”. It would be something out of a movie. Darth Vader would chop off my hand or I would be thrust into the desert with nothing but my fluent Arabic and blue eyes. I’d be fearless. There would be no pause, no wonder, the trajectory would be clear and I would do it.
That first assumption, of waking up in the image of an adult, was more realistic than the second. It was certainly easier and I’m sure as I sit here that any minute it will happen as long as I buy enough suits and pretend hard enough.
That mentors inspiration is tougher though. it feels like there’s many people (if you watch enough TED talks) who have had mentors guide them forward into success. But I never had that. I wonder how many other people have felt the same way. I always assumed it would be clear. That one day the clouds would part, a light would shine down and a great big hand would point at a med school or a Dairy Queen and say “HERE” and off you go. That’d be fantastic (assuming it didn’t point at the Dairy Queen) but totally and completely impossible. The reality is that we walk right by greatness hundreds of times only because we think there are better options later. The crazy thing is, true inspiration happens in an instant.
Now I see there’s people who seem to have just decided to do something. “Something” being just about anything. “I just thought, why not?” they say and then they did it. The drive, their push, is only curiosity and inspiration. That’s oversimplifying but less than you may think. It seems that some people are very good at converting their simple curiosity into infection action. What starts as a “I think I’ll try to learn Spanish” turns into a lifelong experience. It took a long time for me to understand this.
That true inspiration is the thought you have when you wake up in the morning that you dismiss by lunch. It’s that idea you come up with around the dinner table with friends and assume … someone’s already thought of that. Inspiration is just a tap on the shoulder and not the wind storm surging through the mountains on it’s way deep inside your soul. It’s a light longing and you should listen to it. Listen, understand and try it.
What would the adult You think of that?