easy way out

Just the other day I overheard an older gentleman talking about somebody he knew who had an impressive college degree from a very prestigious institution who was apparently, “taking the easy way out”. The young man that he spoke of was working a dead-end night job somewhere for very little pay. The job was barely getting him by and apparently, he wasn’t “using” his college degree. He was a failure to this older gentleman. This kid was apparently “afraid” to pursue a career in the field that he had studied in school.

The man continued, saying that this young man wanted to release a musical album and he was apparently spending virtually all of his time working on releasing this to the public. He was working the night job so that he could have his entire day free to work on his musical album.

This really got me thinking.

What made this older man so furious and irate about this young man? Was he jealous that this young man had a very promising education? Was he envious that this kid was not following the beaten path and was chasing something that was very important to him? Maybe, deep down, he admired the courage this kid had in himself and his own abilities. Apparently, he had opportunities to make a lot more money and had turned them down to do what he loved.

What this kid is doing takes courage. It takes guts. It takes self-confidence to look all of these people in the eye when they tell you what you “should” be doing. I admire this kid. I have never met him, but I know we would get along. He is a risk-taker. He believes, that all of his effort and unconventionality will pay-off, and it will.

The world often tries to tell you what you “should” be doing. This is most often the time that you should do the opposite. You should go against the grain. You should fight to keep your own uniqueness from being stripped away from you.

You see, the world breaks so many people down. People give into this illusion that they need to work to support somebody else’s dreams and they never end up chasing their own. That’s why this kid is so awesome. He doesn’t care what this old man keeps telling him. He knows what is exciting to him. He knows, that even if he fails, he at least failed doing something he loved. He also knows, that each failure brings him one step closer to his dreams.

So how about this grumpy old man? What is his deal? Why is he so adamant about this kid “wasting” his college degree by working a “worthless” night job? It’s pretty obvious to me. This old man gave up on his dreams a LONG time ago. He has grown bitter. He doesn’t understand how somebody could have this “golden ticket” and not want to use it. He doesn’t understand that this kid is using his degree, just not in the conventional way. The education hasn’t been taken from him. He still possesses every ounce of knowledge from his formalized education, he is just utilizing it in an unconventional way. He is taking a chance, a leap of faith. The kid believes in himself, and obviously, the older gentleman lost that long ago.

This older man probably had ambitions and things that excited him long ago. He didn’t have the courage to pursue these interests. He gave in. He submitted. He failed. He now holds a grudge against anybody who has the courage that he never did. It’s that simple. He wishes he was the kid. He wishes he could rewind his life 40 years and make a different decision. The only satisfaction he has now is in trying to knock other people down. It was very obvious in his tone of voice. By knocking somebody else down, it makes him, temporarily, feel better about himself.

There are people like this all over the world. I have encountered them, as I’m sure you all have. They are the people that try to take energy from the people chasing their dreams. They try to make themselves feel better by making others feel bad. They try to make people feel bad for being “different”. I am the opposite. You should feel great about being different. The world needs more people who are different. People who challenge conventionality and live with excitement. People that chase their dreams with gusto every day, in spite of what everyone else tells them.

I like to believe that the young man is unaffected by the harshness of other people’s words. I hope he never allows this older man to drag him down. I hope he uses the words of the old man as fuel to his fire. I hope he never gives up on his dream of releasing an incredible musical album. If only I knew the name of it, I would buy 100 copies. Anyone who goes against the grain, and has the mental fortitude to overcome the harsh words of people like this old man, has my support.

My hat goes off to this young man, who I probably will never meet. Keep chasing your dreams and making your life a masterpiece. The way I see it, the only person that took the “easy way out”, was the old man.