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“The things which hurt, instruct.”
When’s the last time you cried? I mean, really cried?
Or if you’re not the crying type, when’s the last time you woke up in a cold sweat? Couldn’t fall asleep? Loathed leaving the warmth of your bed?
Or how about the last time you struggled through a daunting task – final exams, an impossible conversation with a parent, scavenging around for funding so you and your employees could eat?
When’s the last time you saw a monster of an obstacle before you — scary, hairy, and grinning like a sonofabitch — and felt like cowering into the fetal position, cursing and intimidated?
If you’re a human being here on planet Earth, it probably hasn’t been too long. Could have been last week. Hell, it may have been this morning.
Here’s a thought: what if those monsters were, in fact, not monsters at all? What if those obstacles were actually your best friends, your wisest teachers, your greatest allies? And what if instead of hating your obstacles, you learned to love them?
“A year from now you will wish you had started today.”
A couple of Mondays ago was a special day.
It passed by without much gravity. No fanfare or trumpets announced its arrival; no epic celebration kissed it bon voyage.
I did, however, mention it in passing to my parents the night before.
“You know, it will be two years ago tomorrow that I launched GiveLiveExplore.com and headed off to Iceland.”
To which they half-proudly, half-squeamishly smiled and nodded.
Two years since you went about-face on your life…
Two years since I said ‘Yes’ to an adventure I felt festering inside of me.
Photo of flooding in Serbia & Bosnia and Herzegovina, via Anonymous Srbija.
You may be aware that Serbia and the other Balkan countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina & Croatia are experiencing devastating flooding right now.
It’s the worst flooding the area has experienced in over 120 years. There’s massive destruction of streets, buildings and homes. The death toll is rising. Over 25,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, most of which have been destroyed. Those families are in desperate need of food, water, clothes, blankets, medication, and other necessities.
It’s also possible that you had no clue anything terrible was happening in Serbia. It’s even possible you don’t know where Serbia is (no, it’s not Siberia, the really cold area in Northern Russia; Serbia is in Southeastern Europe). To be honest, if Serbia didn’t mean so much to me, I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention either.
Here’s the thing: I’m not Serbian. Nor do I live in Serbia. So why in the world do I care so much about Serbia?
“When you begin to live your life like an interesting story, it has no other choice than to become one.”
One of my long-term goals/dreams was to give a TEDx talk. One day, I thought, after I do some more things, get a few more experiences/accomplishments/adventures under my belt, I’d apply to deliver a TEDx talk.
“Maybe I’ll be ready in a few years.”
And then in February, I was invited to give a TEDx talk at Lafayette College. And of course, I said yes.
“I guess I have to be ready now.”
“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.” –Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
A few weeks ago, I delivered a TEDx talk at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, USA. In a meet and greet after the event, I began chatting with a student so full of passion he was on the verge of exploding. I listened as he went on about his aspirations to see the world, to find meaningful work, and of the type of social impact he hoped to make.
I commended him, because quite honestly, his aspirations were far holier than mine at his age. As a young buck, my sights were set on graduating university, landing a well-paying job, and looking forward to the next boxes I’d check off — which, of course, was before calling bullshit on living life strictly by the boxes.
Then the student said one thing in particular that startled me: