Get Out Of The Crowd
It’s obvious that we are all individually shaped by our personal past. Things that happen to us that we remember, that nobody else went through and things that we watched at a certain moment in our life that affected us in a way that somebody else watching it might not have affected them at all. This is why advice can be so difficult to hear when you’ve gone through things that other people haven’t and you are affected by things in ways that other people aren’t. And this is good and bad. That’s why thing so often there is no cookie-cutter answer. There is not a step-by-step formula often because each of us are going to handle things differently because of what we’ve experienced in the past. So, with the show I try to bring a lot of things to that shape me from my past so you can see where I am personally coming from, the lessons I’ve learned and can hopefully help you. And I encourage you to write these down to record them even just for yourself, because you truly get an understanding of who you are when you do get these things out. So, this show is for you but also for me as well. It’s therapy for me because I continue to think on stories and ideas and things that shaped me when I go forward into lessons that I’ve learned that I now get to teach to you.
So, I remember when I was around 12 or 13 years old, maybe I was 14, there’s a thing called the ABC afternoon special. If you’re old enough, you might remember that. It was after school, a 30-minute TV show and they were generally really cheesy. Bad acting, not great writing, it was pretty much the joke of television, the ABC afternoon special. But one day I came home from school and my parents were working. I was home alone, I was bored and I put on the ABC afternoon special. This episode was about music and I was very much into music so it hooked me. It was this kid, a teenager who is in trouble a bunch and it reminded me myself because he was really into music. He didn’t play any instrument but he always went to all these different concerts. Again, he is so much like me. I never played any instrument, I never even tried. I just love listening to the music and getting caught up in the lyrics and going to the concert and have a camaraderie of my friends, something that we can consider to be ours. So, this one caught my attention.
So, I kept watching, I remember the dad, the father figure in the show is frustrated with the son. He was really not accomplishing anything. He was just really doing nothing and just listening to music. There was a conversation that the dad has with the son and it’s that conversations that sticks with you. I remember the dad talking to the son and he said it’s great that you love music, but if you love music, you’ve got to be involved. You can’t just be in the crowd. You could be on stage. You can be backstage with the rigging doing the lighting, the sound, whatever it is but do something for yourself with the music. Don’t just be a spectator. And man, that hit me. I didn’t have any idea how much that will affect me because not only was I into listening to music but I was into watching sports. But neither of those that I really participate. I tried out for football one year but after a couple of weeks. I didn’t like it. It was too hard and I quit. I have very few regrets but that’s one regret I have. And those are the things you want to forget, the one that you quit and you didn’t give it your best shot.
So, between music and sports, besides Little League, that was the extent of what I did with either of those. I was no doubt the spectator the dad was talking about. I was rarely the participant. I heard the dad say “ be anywhere but in the crowd.” Be on stage, be backstage, be selling popcorn at the concession stand but don’t be in the crowd. That stuck with me for many years up until I got into photography. And that’s when I realized I’d still been a spectator. I was still in the crowd. I was still watching on TV. I was going to the games. But when I discovered photography that I can do that, that was the first time that I realized I could be on the field. I could be participating in some way. I could find a way to be a part of it and not just watching. What this taught me is that so many people are in the crowd. So many people are not doing what they want to be doing and even worse than watching other people do it.
This day and age is the perfect example. There are so many people that are listening to podcasts. They’re reading books. They’re reciting content word for word from the favorite influencers. They’re following their gurus but they are not doing anything with it. They’re consumers but they’re not contributors. There’s a lot of people that aren’t doing what they want to do because of fear. There is a lot of people who hold onto their jobs and are frustrated because the reason why they can’t do they really want to do is because this job is too secure and they’re afraid to give that up for what they want to do and they stay stuck. And those are the most frustrated people that I talked to. They don’t admit it out right but when you talk to them one-on-one and you hear the levels of frustration, angst, at times the hopelessness. But for people that are in the game, the ones that are doing it, they’re not frustrated with themselves because they are actively trying to figure it out and grow forth. No matter what level that they are at, it could be the very beginning stage but they’re actually working toward something that they really want.
That is a question for you to ask yourself which is what do you really want to do? And this is what I want to go across and I’m serious about this. Stop listening and start creating. Stop reading the books and start writing the books. Stop watching other people live the life that you want to live and start doing something, anything to get you closer to that yourself. Stop being in the crowd, stopped watching the game and spending your weekend cheering for somebody else chasing their dream and start doing that for yourself. That’s not to say that you have to be the star and you have to be in the spotlight but you have to be in it somewhere.
So that afternoon’s special when I was almost 13 or 14 years old, I was a fan. I was a consumer but not a contributor. This is a lesson that hit me and stuck with me and it was a positive one for me. It really got me thinking differently. We get tons of examples that make us feel like crap, that makes us feel like we’re not good enough and those stick with us too but if we are not careful, those would hold us back. We still believe the teacher when we were 13 years old, that told us we couldn’t do it. Even though you might be 40 now and that teacher was wrong. So, my push for you is to try to figure out how to get out of the crowd. Do something, anything to advance you forward towards life you want because I’m telling you, somebody’s gonna do it. Somebody’s going to do that thing that you want to be doing and it might as well be you. I will talk to you tomorrow.