One of the often-overlooked benefits of traveling (and even layovers) is that you get the chance to get completely unplugged from your normal life and the demands that come with it. Even with WiFi and 4G access in nearly every airport terminal these days, there is something nice about being “off the grid” while traveling, which allows me to focus on the task at hand in ways I seem to fail miserably at in my day-to-day life. I want to take this opportunity to talk about the word permission, and how it can kill your dreams as an entrepreneur and strategic risk-taker on the path to fulfilling your life mission.
The Well-Paved Road = Pleasing Others and Mediocre Results
We’re taught and socialized from a young age to follow the rules, please our parents, get good grades, make the varsity sports team as that’s the best way to get accolades and approval from those around us. Have I been guilty of permission-seeking in my life? FUCK YES AND IT SUCKED. While this short-term pleaser mentality has allowed me to remain “comfortable” in living up to the expectations of others, it nearly always leaves me with a gaping hole in my inner self. When I look back at some of the best, most memorable and growth-inducing experiences of my life, they’ve usually involved decisions that I’ve made for MYSELF, and actively saying “fuck it” to asking permission from others if it was “okay” to pursue my dreams and big, exciting goals.
Some of the things I pursued and made happen in spite of the advice of others:
- Took up fitness and bodybuilding – Gained 35 lbs of muscle by ignoring people that said I couldn’t fight genetics
- Forgoing Law School to pick up and move to South America for 4+ years of travel and entrepreneurship
- DECIDING I was going to attend a top-tier MBA program on scholarship, despite the odds and what well-meaning family members thought was possible
- Paying off ALL of my student loan debt in under a year by eschewing traditional consumerism and adopting minimalism, all while maintaining a full, rewarding personal life
There is never a PERFECT time to make a change in your life – to go after what makes you truly come alive.
Sure, you don’t need to be impulsive, and developing a strategic plan to get from feeling trapped by obligations to living a life of freedom and adventure is something I wholeheartedly recommend, as it’s worked great for me. The trick is to listen more to the voice that comes from within, as opposed to the hundreds of voices, opinions and talking heads that surround us. Taking time off from media (including the internet) and meditation definitely helps with getting more in tune with this inner guidance, and you will get better with cultivating it.
The more you learn to listen to this inner guidance and act on it, you will gain more and more reference points of success and fulfillment that came about as a result of ignoring the naysayers (permission granters) and consciously giving more attention to what makes YOU come alive. Remember, this will probably be different and nuanced for everyone. That’s why I recommend you stop trying to ask for permission or to get people “on board” with your big desires. Even the most well-intentioned friends and family members simply cannot make this decision for you, because they are not you.
What big, exciting goal makes you come alive, and even a little scared, just thinking about it?
Even if you’ve been scared to admit it to those around you or even yourself, I’d be honored if you shared what you truly want to create in your life with me.