About the Wiser Next Week Series: These entries will involve posting my book, Wiser Next Week, chapter by chapter, freely available to the public. Additionally, I’ll be recounting a story about something I’ve learned based on the chapter’s topic since the months that have past when the book was published in December 2018.
I remember when I was a small boy, by small I mean I was too young to take a shower on my own, my mom helped me.
My ma loves to divulge embarrassing details about this past but I will spare you the details. I remember one time I was telling my mother all about what I did during recess that day. I played dodgeball and was going into detail about how I expertly avoided getting hit while she was drying me off after a shower.
At this time my quiet demeanor has not set it yet so I was still a babbling child. I then brought up,
“Mom, I’m going to travel around the world.”
She said, “Yeah, you gonna take me with you?”
I paused a good long while and said,
Fast forward to 2019, my mom has been recently widowed. And that promise I made more than 15 years ago still weighed on my mind.
I’ve been OCD about keeping my word for the short time I’ve been an adult. For the rare instances that I say something, I want those words to hold weight. I knew it wouldn’t serve for her to dwell, so I took her to Japan and Korea.
I followed this itinerary for Japan (highly recommended):
Me being a young man, I’m not loaded with cash (yet). What I did have was countless hours researching “travel hacking” techniques.
The result was sub $100 intercontinental plane tickets for the both of us combined from San Francisco to Japan plus complimentary airport lounge access.
My mom wasn’t very fond of my way of traveling (it’s not uncommon for me to walk till my feet are blistered and I’m limping). Tours are a rarity, almost everything is DIY to cut down on costs and maintain flexibility. And whenever I suggested we squat on the side of the road to nibble on some bread and that’d be lunch she would throw a hissy fit.
She was tanned and pimply at the end of the month long trip when I flew back to Bangkok for one more semester as a TEFL teacher while she returned stateside.
One major difference between when I was a small boy to the youth that I am now is that now I have the agency to dictate my own life.
Every one of us has a choice: We can live our own lives or live the lives set forth for us by others. In order to live your own life, hold on to the vision of what you want and act on it. Your thoughts and action must be combined to bring your vision of yourself into fruition.
The way I interpret it is that in order to reach your goal, your principles must align with your actions.
An example, many people have career aspirations such as wanting to be a rock star or start their own business. But when you ask them what they do during their free time when they aren’t meeting responsibilities (putting food on the table) often times they are hanging out with friends or playing video games.
That is the opposite of matching action with principle. That principle is an ideal, a goal, a vision that does not exist. While the action is bringing a thought of how the world ought to be and making it a reality. This concept has been put as,
“Practice what you preach”
“Put your money where your mouth is.”
“I believe half of what I see and none of what I hear.”
A goal is easy, all you have to do is say something. It was easy for me to promise to take my mom traveling.
Keeping a childhood promise may seem trivial to some. And it’s true, many of the affairs of young persons is trivial. The triviality is not the point. The point is dealing with minor instances in a way that aligns with your principles develops good habits when it’s all laid down on the chopping block and it matters.
Because execution is key, execution is the blood sweat and tears that molds a dream into reality.
Here is the “On Goals and Persistence” chapter of Wiser Next Week. Take it and implement it into your own life.