What kind of people are you drawn to? What are their qualities? What makes them so irresistible, so contagious, to you?
This past summer, I sat on a plane next to a guy that just wanted, or maybe needed, to talk. He had lost his job as a defensive coordinator at a small college in Florida. He'd been hired at another school in California a couple of days before, in a lesser position. He was uprouting for the third time in his thirty-one year old life, and he had to do it in less than a week. As he told me his story, I listened to all the things he had given up to get to each and every opportunity he encountered. He talked about not being able to have a steady girlfriend, start a family or spend time with his aging mom and dad. He had no true spare time dedicated to HIS life.
He stayed on the road recruiting, constantly eating fast food, and rarely ever getting to do the little things like go to the movies. As I listened, I wondered what kept him driven; even when he stumbled- he kept going. So, I asked him why was his career worth all he was giving up? He said to me, "Even if I had all those other things, I would still be incomplete without this part of my life." To him, his career was infectious to his lifestyle; he needed it more than he needed those other things. As we continued this candid conversation, two perfect strangers headed in two different directions, he asked me what I thought about his lifestyle. In a nutshell, this is what I said:
"Life is too short to set limits on all the possibilities to have some of the "all". To get to the top, there must be sacrifice; there's no getting around it. However, in that sacrifice there must be time for self fulfillment."
I understood his dedication and drive to his career; I even respected that he could admit he needed his career more than he needed anything else. However, I strongly believe that we sell ourselves short all too often. We settle for all the things we don't have because it's easier not to work for them. This guy learned how to work for his career; how to sacrifice for what he wanted in that area. Nevertheless, he lost sight of so many of the other things that come with living.
It [sacrifice] is a slippery slope. I can admit that I've failed at relationships of all kinds. But, I gave them a try; a chance at succeeding. I don't mind failing at things that aren't meant for me or the others involved, because from those experiences WE GROW. If you never give time towards the other things that make life worth living, if you never take time to look for ALL the things that will bring you fulfillment, then no matter how great your career success may be, you will feel a void in your life.
The guy on the plane taught me something about balance. He didn't intend to, but he taught me that my LIFE conversations and reflections should be about seeking or achieving a well-roundness that is superior to one side of life. I want more, and more, and more of all the things I don't have. I want to fill my voids with the essential pursuance of absolutely breath taking I-can't-do-without commodities that make this life worthwhile.
People drive my ambitions; those that I love and those that challenge me in positive and negative ways. If it weren't for these contagious interactions that I get to experience with others, I wouldn't be able to reflect on my life the way that I do. Never stop trying to be better; learning yourself is the most rewarding feeling. It's what you observe and experience through others and yourself that ultimately determines the things that you choose to be infected by.
Living is infectious; that's really LIVING. Living600 is about being able to turn around and look at your life full circle; knowing that "you came, you saw, and you conquered" most- if not all- of the things you sought to be more than imaginary.