The Flip Side of Unconventional

It's about taking your wants, your desires, your dreams, your visions, yourself and, ultimately, your life, seriously.

It's not about just following your own little path; it's about forging the damn thing.

It's about reaching up and pulling down your industrial-strength, metal shovel, pulling up those gingham-print sleeves, giving your knuckles a good crack, doing a mini happy dance for good measure, and then digging in and digging in hard.

Because your path isn't going to magically make itself. It needs you to create it.

And while it's certainly worth the sweat on your brow, oftentimes going ahead and shunning the traditional in favor of the unconventional isn't as easy as it sounds; there, there, my pretty, just stop doing things out of pure obligation, listen to your own inner voice, start acting on it and–voila!–your life will forever be the spitting image of giant, fluffy rainbows and dancing pink ponies.

Nice try.

A Blessing & A Curse

Those of you who have had some epiphany moments–who have located your shovel and are in the process of pulling on your gloves–you guys are gearing up in spite of the manual labor because you understand something that the majority of the world doesn't, and it boils down to one, simple word: Possibilities.

You recognize the endless possibilities that life holds, and you've begun to crave them. You know there's a way to tap into this secret realm of previously un-navigated experiences, unfelt emotions, undiscovered wisdom, unsuspected adventures, unseen destinations and unknown opportunity, and you're on your way to figuring out just how to lasso it all up as you stroll down your newly trodden path.

This is both a great blessing, and and a great curse.

A blessing because your soul is allowed to manifest itself and dabble, wade and eventually plunge into all sorts of self-actualization goodness, helping to bridge the gap between present and potential. And once you're swimming in those waters, baby, life inevitably just gets so much better. Especially because this is a nude beach.

Yet despite all of your fun-filled skinny dipping, there's one important caveat. The flip side. The curse. And it's that once awareness sits in, there's simply no going back. There's no ignoring. There's no blind eye. There's no avoiding. There's no side-stepping. There's no forgetting. There's no evading. There is no escape–not even for the Jason Bourne at heart.

Because you know better. Because you've tasted better. And now, the generic brand just isn't good enough–only the authentic will do.

Naivety is no longer an option. You're forced to grab the shovel.

Better Put Your Seat Belt On

Things that might have previously satisfied you won't anymore. Things you may have regarded as achievements will become givens. Goals you had for yourself will become outdated and replaced with bigger, brighter, shinier ones. And expectations you had of yourself in the past will no longer be up to par. Mediocrity, as it turns out, becomes obsolete.

You're demanding life at full throttle, and–let me tell you–it's gonna be one hell of a ride.

And, isn't it great? The speed, the exhilaration, the ground you can cover and the things you can accomplish? You're operating at maximum velocity, spurred on by an invisible sense of determination and newfound glory. And truth be told, it is great.

But what many fail to realize is that operating at full throttle requires a lot of energy. It requires a lot of fuel. And it requires a hell of a lot of work. Once upon a time, I had a reader email me this:

“It seems that many are content to let the hard working individuals in our country continue to work their butts off so the ‘dreamers' can live out their every fantasy, and never be inconvenienced with a job that bores them, overworks them, or takes up just way too much of their time. Soon, these hard working individuals are going to run out; our society needs more ‘reality' instead of ‘idealogy'.”

A Shoot & A Miss

He couldn't have been more mistaken–who's actually working harder here? To imply that taking this path is the easy way out couldn't be farther from the truth. This path-in-progress requires far more work than following any ordinary life outline. It requires work, alright. Hard work. It requires dedication. It requires conviction. It requires fire. It requires bravery. It requires every ounce of your being.

The standard life outline, on the other hand, simply requires you to follow it. Do this, and you will get X amount of money. Get X amount of money, and you can get Y number of things.


That's the outline, and it's based on the assumption that your greatest aspiration is to acquire as many things as you possibly can. What I want to know is, where's the bullet point in the outline that emphasizes the intangibles? The un-navigated experiences, unfelt emotions, undiscovered wisdom, unsuspected adventures, unseen destinations and unknown opportunity? Where do they fit in the outline?

I'll tell you where they fit: Right down there at the bottom, in the fine print.

Is that where they belong?

What it comes down to is a shift in values. We're no longer satisfied with a few zeros on a paycheck–that is not living. That's called making a living. It's the intangibles that possess the ability to make it about more than that.

And dammit, don't you deserve more than that?

So get out your best shovel, people. It's time to go to work.



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