Thursday, February 16, 2012

What's in your toolbox?

Imagine for a minute you're going to school to be an auto mechanic.

You've seen cars, even ridden in one a time or two, but never worked on them--I know, it's a stretch, but go with me on this one.

Your first day of class is met with dozens of eager souls, ready to gather up all of the knowledge their teachers can provide.  Beside each student is a large multi-tiered metal box with large, deep drawers and small shallow ones.  Then, you start opening the drawers . . .

Inside are hundreds of tools you've never seen before, tools specifically designed for a singular purpose.  You can't use a wrench if you need a screwdriver, and you certainly can't use a flathead if the task calls for a philips.

The same goes with life.  When I graduated from high school, a teacher (I believe it was Mr. Miller) once told us that each graduate carries their own briefcase across the stage, and that many times that briefcase is empty.  The student may not take their high school career seriously enough--we can point many fingers at things from the media to parents and even teachers, when all the while the finger should be pointed right back at the person.  Nothing inspires that student.  Or, if something does, they may dream and dream but never put any tools in their toolbox to put that life together.

From age sixteen to nineteen, I wanted to be a rock star.  Even at that age, I suspected that there was a lot more to it than playing a guitar.  I acquired a bass guitar first, then an acoustic.  On my 18th birthday, I drove an hour away to a larger town and purchased an electric guitar (a Fender Squire, if I'm not mistaken).  I played for hours.  I also realized that rock stars also write their own songs, so that's what I did.  I wrote probably 20-plus songs, and honestly a few of them aren't bad, and I still remember some of the verses.

The point is that I was filling my tool box with stuff I'd need.  What I didn't know is that, mentally, I was also preparing myself for success--something I've been waiting a long time to achieve and can now see it right on the horizon.  I was preparing myself by not letting the fear eat inside of me.  Yes, I changed from a rock star to a bestselling author, but honestly I've always dreamed of seeing my name on a book.

And even when people told me to just "get a job and be like everyone else," I didn't listen to them.  I only listened to the ones who encouraged me.  My wife fits this bill nicely.  She has heard all of my dreams, and has never--ever--told me to quit and just get a job.


That's the reason I do this.

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