Do Right or Do You
There’s a difference between going after what you want and doing right by what you already have. Let’s start off with a cookie cutter, run of the mill person to generalize and keep things simple.
Grouping it into decade long categories, it (responsibilities) might look something like this:
10-20: School, chores, part time job, team sports/participation in community organizations
21-30: School (college), starting a career, business/starting a family/mortgage (increasingly uncommon in this day and age)
31-40: Leadership role in career, business/family/mortgage, children
41-50: Similar to above, with a developing role as a community leader
And so on and so forth.
The Importance of Responsibility
The point is, as a person ages, they gradually take on more and more responsibility. Which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong. A life without responsibility is a hedonistic life that is the mere pursuit of pleasure. Which is fundamentally empty.
While responsibility means moving a weight from point A to point B so that it would be to the advantage to those that are left behind when you’re gone.
That’s a fundamental pillar of building a legacy, by touching the lives of others so that they are left in a better state then before you were there.
Leave Behind The Peanuts & Go For Broke
That is what is being referred to. Going back to seeing responsibilities as weights. Weights are heavy, therefore it takes time for you to build the muscles needed to carry bigger ones. Based on that logic, the responsibilities you carry when you are young are pebbles compared to later versions of yourself because you’re not ready.
So going on the traditional path means you’ll gradually acquire more. This is natural on the corporate and military world, as you take on more you’ll gradually (linearly) take on more as you gain more experience. This is the ladder in career progression.
In conjunction, this is when people begin taking on more “baggage” as in the spouse, the mortgage, the kids. In career and personal life, it is a gradual saddling of a larger load.
That aside, what I am saying is why not fast track things when you are moving pebbles, those pebbles being analogous with a part time starter job or an entry level career position. These pebbles matter little when there are millions of freshly minted graduates like you.
So leave behind the pebbles and go impractical. Any gnawing ideas you have now will likely be with you long term. And being wrong and knowing now is better then being crippled by regrets when you’re at an age where you can do nothing about it.
Being impractical means going after your far fetched dreams, rock star, world traveler, actor/actress whatever it maybe.
It’s a matter of reaching for more when you risk falling 10 feet, not 100. Because what if you make it?
That will mean you will have acquires the skills, experiences, knowledge and assets that will allow you to take on larger burdens later on and make a bigger splash then if you had not.
It’s hard, which is why few people do it. Especially when comparing yourself to peers is so easy. When you hear about their career/personal life comparison. Think of it as the race between the rabbit and the tortoise. See it as a marathon, not a sprint.
Be the tortoise and see leaving behind small responsibilities to go after big dreams as a long term investment.
Kingston S. Lim
July 6, 2020
Milta Alpa, CDMX, Mexico
Life Update: I’ve been WWOOFing at a farm at the outskirts of Mexico City for about a week now. It’s not really a farm, more like a communal home run by Nahua people, said to be the descendents of the Aztecs. It hasn’t been the easiest adjustment. From the bathroom to the food and the people. The people especially. Growing up Chinese American, the values of the people here are vastly different from my own.
I remember telling one of my 15 year old students that to be a better man means leaving your arrogance behind and learning with an open heart. The arrogance has mostly been beaten out of me a while ago. Learning with an open heart is a challenge though.
And I’m finding taking my own advice more difficult then giving it. Still I’ll do the same drill of learning all I can so one day when I’m ready to go home years from now. I’ll take it back home and make something with it.
About Kingston’s Journey Series: Kingston’s Journey is a lifelong series. This is the travel journal I take with me. Whether you have questions such as how to change my life or how to travel the world, I think you’ll find value in the life lessons I’ve experienced and documented in this travel notebook. They may serve as travel inspiration for you. In Chinese, there is a saying, “讀萬卷書,不如行千里路.”
This means, instead of reading ten thousand books, why don’t you walk a thousand miles. This is my inspiration to travel every nation (or as many as possible) in my pursuit of my global MBA by learning as much as possible and recording these life lessons learned only by travel. In the end, I think the achievement of dreams, personal growth & aspirations out there through travel and adventure will lead to a more fulfilling life. Living and experiencing the “now” is how I’ll make my life a great memory in the future.