We were all born with creativity, the ability to be innovative and imaginative. We created characters and acted them out, we lived and played in pretend worlds with Smurfs and built awesome one of a kind structures with our Legos. We played with dolls and built “clubs” behind our house.
Then the world got a hold of us and we were asked to follow others instructions.
We went to school where we sat at a desk, walked in a straight line without talking in the hallway, received assignments during the day and then a packet of homework with instructions to do after school. We used a #2 pencil and even got a trophy for being #2. And if we were good, we woke up and did it over and over until – God willing – we went to college. To do more of the same.
We weren’t born to be order takers and followers, the world taught us to be. If we were so blessed, we had parents and others around us that showed us there are a few ways to execute the same thing.
I'm forty now, but when I was a kid, my Mom and I rarely crossed the street at the light, but rather we went the quickest route. Sometimes it was like a real live game of Frogger, but we always made it across. My Dad who, after my older twin brothers had picked on me all day, would say, “just hit ‘em when they aren’t expecting it.” And, so I did. Or a Grandmother who taught PE in the 1940's and another with cracked skin on the tip of her fingers from working so hard day after day to provide for the family. Or a Grandfather who took me fishing at age ten with alligators surrounding our wobbly boat then took me back to his Florida home and watched me mow his lawn with chewing tobacco in his bottom lip the size of a large lemon. I am thankful, extremely thankful, for this type of influence. I am confident it offset the “straight lines” I walked at school for twenty years. I am sure, or hope, you had people like this in your life as well.
If you were molded, like many of us, to extend your “follow the rules” program into your adult life, I want to remind you that now we all have a choice. A choice to get a set of instructions each day or create our own set of instructions. We can either fit in or stand out – but not both. We can choose to build our own maps or follow someone else's. We can seek high levels of achievement and create a new bar or we can reach for the bar someone else has held up for us. Meeting expectations - so what - that isn’t about being the best. Living without a map might require a tweak in your mindset. It requires leaning into change and challenges. It requires having so much passion for creating and building that it over comes your fear of failure. It requires the same thing that is on a soda can, “no deposit, no return.” You can build your road map with or without road blocks. There are often several ways to get there. Have the guts and the passion to find the route. Now-a-days we are all in sales, we are all in marketing. We all have a voice and can be heard. Find your voice and share your vision. It might require a real life game of Frogger sometimes, but the journey is more fun, in my opinion, and on the other side you might be able to build a rewarding new play ground.
Do you want to create the life you want to lead or have someone else give you your instructions? It’s up to you.