I’ve found myself giving uninvited advice again. A freshman at Lipscomb was talking about what to do with her life. She doesn’t feel she fits in the college student mold, she has some ideas about what she might want to do at some point in the future, but for the most part, doesn’t have the financial capacity to do them now. She wants definitive direction and assurance. Cute, right?
I can remember being in the same place. I knew I didn’t “belong” in Athens half way through my freshman year. I was there for five more. I always knew I was capable of “more” than what I was doing in school. Now, I’m working for one of the top ad agencies in Nashville, on salary, full benefits, and a crazy fun atmosphere. I’m still not satisfied. I want to do more.
I think we place too much value on satisfaction. To be completely satisfied is to be complacent, eventually apathetic. We limit ourselves with this idea of a “calling” or with responsibility, believing we have to commit to stability to be happy. What if we re-focused our “calling” on a mindset or lifestyle rather than an occupation? Not too long ago I wrote that I need to do something that makes others happy and makes myself happy. I want to inspire people, to ignite them in helping them discover their passion and ability. What if that’s my vocation? My calling? What if I get to choose my job, my home, my life roles and in whatever I choose, I fulfill my calling in simply building into the people and situations around me in awesome ways?
Well shit. I’ve been wasting so much time! I’m always trying to be what I’m expected to be, but true greatness isn’t a label you can earn from the world, it’s a choice.
Each day at about 2 o’clock I make a list of the key things I want to accomplish in life. Each day at 2 o’clock, I choose to be great. Sometimes it’s a list of big things, set in the future. Other days, it’s a list of how to keep my mouth shut when everything within me is urging me to tell that coworker to grow a pair and confront the problem so we can move on. Items on the list may vary drastically, but they are all key elements of my deliberate choice to be great. Not in the future, but now, immediately and continuously. I will accomplish great things in the future, I will be great in the present.
So I proceeded to dump all of this revolutionary wisdom on this poor freshman who just wanted to know what to be when she grows up. She nodded her head and thanked me for the advice. I hope she didn’t understand me, not fully. I hope she understood just enough to take a risk, do something outside of the cycle she’s in. But, I hope that the risk she takes leads to greater risk and greater adventure. I hope that she experiences relationships and failures and successes that challenge her ideas and perspective.
I’m a blunt and often obnoxious person. But I believe in people. I want so much for them to believe in themselves, to discover the joy in knowing that they do in fact hold significance, to be free from fear’s limitations. I want them to choose to be great.