I decide what goes in and what comes out.
I can go for depth or breadth.
Shallow isn’t always bad,
but always shallow means I never leave the shore.
There’s a whole world out there if I’m willing to dive deep.
I won’t let these waves of distraction hold me back.
I decide to swim out and explore what matters most to me.
The longer I practice holding my breath,
the further down I am able to go.
In the depths I find myself.
I decide what goes in and what comes out.
Too often we tell ourselves that we are waiting for the right time. When it comes to the most important things in our lives we wait and we wait and we wait. Often there is no right time.
There is no right time to have that talk, to express how you feel. There is no right time to start a new business, to begin a new habit. There is no right time to write a book, to take a year-long adventure, to have a child, to make a big move. There is no right time to study a subject you care about, to start that next big project. If you wait for that “right time” it just never seems to happen.
Keep waiting and your dreams will begin to die, your life will be unlived. If there is something that you really want to do that you’ve put off, again and again, stop what you’re doing and decide to commit to it. Prioritize it and schedule it on your calendar. Not tomorrow. Not tonight. Right now. Like no, seriously, right now.
Maybe you have too many projects. The kids are in too many sports. You’re strapped for time and money. But it’s amazing that once you decide, commit and schedule it, somehow you find the time. The only right time for the things that matter is right now.
Go. Do. Live.
There is a growing culture of nonfiction elitists. A class of people that thrive on no sleep, long hours of work, staying plugged in all the time. They suck down nonfiction books like hot dogs at an eating contest. They feel like they are learning and improving their business skills and their know-how skills at a lightning rate. They have absolutely no time for fiction. They have no time for “stories.” “Those fluffy books are not going to get me anywhere,” they bark with a scowel. They believe fiction will not inform them. It will not bump them up to the next level in their careers or their relationships or their personal goals. And you know what? I think that is a complete asinine garbage outlook on reading.
People have turned books into a version of the Matrix upload program, where they just plug this book into their brain and instant upgrade! A) That’s not how it works. B) I doubt most people remember one one-hundredth of the information in those books. C) We remember stories not information. Even good nonfiction books include plenty of stories.
What people are missing when they skip good fiction, good literature, are the deep stories that allow you to live through someone else’s eyes. Stories that soak you in human emotion and psychology. That place you in the midst of other’s issues and bring you a world of possibilities that cannot be expressed in any other way. The things you can learn from good fiction become a part of your spirit. You cannot shake a good story. They shape your life in ways that no nonfiction book could ever hope to accomplish.
I’m not trying to be a hater here. I love nonfiction books. They are great for generating new ideas, learning about the way the world works and figuring out how to get things done. They have their place in our lives. But please, I implore you to take a chance on fiction. Take a chance on good literature, the classics. Not every book will be for you, but if you keep at it you will discover some gems. Great fiction will change you. It will inform the way you live.
Don’t become another nonfiction-consuming robot hell-bent on gathering and collating information for information’s sake. Take a deep breath and instead of going for quantity go for quality. Go for depth. Go for fiction!
Here are some starting places for you nonfiction junkies:
The Alchemist by Paulo Choelho
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
Candide by Voltaire
Books by Neil Gaiman
Books by Haruki Murakami
Books by Philip K. Dick
Books by Kurt Vonnegut
William Shakespeare Really! Pick a play. Any play!
View Tim Ferriss’ blog post The Top 10 Fiction Books for Non-Fiction Addicts
PS: Trying to fall asleep at night but the ideas keep buzzing around. Do a little journalling and then read some fiction (not nonfiction) until your eyes begin to droop.
Sounds crazy right? But what are our biggest problems when it comes to taking first steps and follow through? It’s overcoming our fear of failure and a lack of motivation through the daily grind. What we need is a target that is so compelling it sucks us in like a star on the edge of a supermassive black hole. If the target is compelling enough, big enough, connects with our being enough, we cannot escape its gravitational pull.
So where in your life are your goals just kind-of-okay? Which goals should you toss and which should you expand beyond your wildest dreams? You want to start a podcast? What about the most remarkable podcast of its class? What about a network of podcasts? What about a podcast that spawns a television series, a book and an audience of raving fans that can’t get enough of what you have to offer? That’s way more compelling than a little ole podcast.
Make your goal specific. Make it irresistible. Make it larger than life. Then create a massive action plan. Create a list of steps and connections that runs five pages deep. Then act. Take the steps and make the connections. You don’t need to know how to get there. You will learn this on the way. Keep acting, keep researching, keep talking to people that can help you move forward. Then magic will happen and your momentum will build. You will start achieving your goal, or you will fail and learn and move onto the next one. But one thing is for sure. You won’t be sitting around dreaming. You will be doing. You will be living!
Inspired by the audio cliff notes to The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone
You have no excuses. If we can send people to the moon and Werner Herzog can shoot Fitzcarraldo (A movie where he literally has a ship hauled over a mountain in the middle of the Amazon) then you can make just about anything happen if you commit and put your mind to it.
That doesn’t mean you have to do it on your own. But you will have to inspire a team of incredible people and lead them to the finish line. Take that dream and make it a reality.
Watch Burden of Dreams for some inspiration.