There is no escaping reason; no denying purpose. Because as we both know, without purpose, we would not exist.
– Agent Smith, The Matrix
I haven’t been writing much lately. That’s because I’ve been writing.
See, I feel a little guilty about not posting often enough on my blog. I’ve gotten a few emails, basically saying, “Where are you?” and “What are you up to?” and honestly, it’s flattering that anyone would care. When you start blogging, you assume that everyone will hang on your every word, waiting with bated breath for every new post. Then you realize that for the most part, you could drop off the face of the earth and nobody would notice. So yeah, it’s cool that people have asked.
But the truth is that while it may look like I’ve been ignoring my blogging responsibilities (whatever that means), the truth is that I haven’t been writing here because I’ve been writing — writing more than ever — elsewhere. I haven’t forgotten you; I’ve been saving up the mojo I’d normally deliver so as to deliver it later in one big hit. All of those awesome blog posts you’re missing? The brain juice that would normally go into them is going into one big thing — one masterpiece that I’ve been working on for months. One Big Kahuna.
And soon, I’m going to deliver said Big Kahuna, here, for free.
I’ve been told that my posts awaken people’s desires to “do epic shit,” and if that’s true, then tighten your seat belt, because it’s about to get epicer. Epicified. Epiclicious.
But before we talk about that, let’s talk about you. Really YOU, at the deepest level possible.
Let’s talk about why you’re here at all.
You must have a purpose
I swear that all of life’s answers are in the film The Matrix. So let’s heed Agent Smith’s advice, such as it is. Without purpose, we would not exist — not in any way that matters. But with purpose? With a mission? With both hands on the steering wheel? Well with that, hell… you can live forever.
So stop right now and ask yourself why you do what you do each day. Really think about it.
When you get up and go to work — be it in an office or at home — why are you doing it? Maybe it’s because you need money to pay the mortgage. Maybe it’s because you need money to eat. Fair enough; we live in a material world and we are all material girls (and guys).
Now, step back. Why do you do the specific job you do? Meaning; why are you doing that instead of something else? Is it because it’s what you always wanted to do? Is it because you’re making a difference in the world? Or is it because it was the only job you could find? Is it because you “kind of fell into it”? Is it because it’s what your parents expected you to do, or because you had a major in X in college and figured a job in X was therefore the only logical next step?
Now, pull back further. What are your big goals for yourself and, if you have one, your family? What did you want to be when you grew up, and why did you want that? What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered after you’re gone? What do you want your kids’ memories of you to be? When you’re old, looking back on your life, what would you like to be proud that you accomplished?
Don’t just scan these questions. Stop and think about each one.
I’m serious. After I wrote my first epic post, people said, That’s awesome, but how do you do those epic things?
This is how. Trust me.
Stop and think about your purpose, because almost nobody ever does. Day to day life has a way of hypnotizing us. Have you ever set out for a certain destination in your car and missed a turn because you’ve zoned out and your brain is taking you the way you usually go, like to the grocery store? This is the same phenomenon. It’s really easy to lose track of the big whys while following your autopilot.
So I’ll ask you, again, at the risk of being annoying, to really stop and think.
Why do you do what you do? What is your purpose? Not the purpose you think you should have, or the purpose appropriate to what you already have going on (“I am the CEO of a major company, therefore I am responsible for XYZ”). Don’t do “therefore.” Don’t start with where you are and reverse-engineer the purpose you therefore must have in life. Start at the top. Start with why you’d like to be here, regardless of where you actually are right now. Think of your ideal purpose. What you think you were truly meant to be, or, in the absence of some huge epiphany, what you’d LIKE to be, if you could be anything.
Now, is it aligned with what you’re doing every day?
And if it’s not, are you implementing a plan every day to bring those two things closer and closer into alignment?
Usually, the answers to those questions are both no. And when they’re both no, it’s because the people behind those no’s don’t think their “deep purpose” is realistic in today’s world of cars and houses and currencies. There’s dreams and then there’s real life, these people say. I wanted a unicorn, too… but we need to face reality.
But what if I told you that reality isn’t all it’s purported to be?
Why I do what I do
This blog has been about a lot of stuff. When I first started, it was a humor blog. Then it became a tech tips blog. Then it became a business blog. Finally, in the last few years, I seem to have settled into writing what I term “epic shit.” I write posts with depressing titles that hopefully have get-off-your-fucking-ass-now-before-it’s-too-late bottom-line messages, like The Universe Doesn’t Give a Flying Fuck About You and You Are Dying and Your World is a Lie. It may look like I’m a masochist, like I’m obsessed with death and pain and being extreme. Recently, I realized why. It dawned on me why I keep telling you that you’re dying a little every day, and that one day — sooner than you realize — you’ll be underground.
It’s because I care.
Let me tell you a sad story.
I ran into an old friend recently, who we’ll call Bill. Bill has two kids and I don’t think he enjoys them, because he’s doing the same job that he was doing the last time I saw him years ago and still doesn’t like it, and it takes up all of his time and he’s still barely making ends meet, and at night he’s tired and can only collapse in front of the TV before getting up to do it again the next day. He’s a creative, smart guy, but can’t seem to make a go of his creative endeavors. He has some ideas, and I wanted to encourage him to do those things. But the problem was, I could tell he didn’t really believe any of them would ever work. He was a shipwreck survivor alone in the middle of the ocean, saying “Maybe a ship will come save me” because he has to say something… and meanwhile he’s writing his will in his head.
I wanted to encourage Bill, but it’s not that simple because his current ideas are not whiz-bang tickets to freedom even if they work. They’re the tip of the iceberg. They’re a beginning — and a beginning is a fantastic, amazing, beautiful, magical thing. But no matter how Bill’s “beginnings” turn out, it’ll be up to him to have the courage to take the next step once they’re over.
I wanted to tell Bill that a beginning was worth it no matter what happened. That perseverence mattered more than any one event. That the ability to manufacture a distant light at the end of a very long tunnel was what really made the difference. But how do you tell someone — casually, in a ten-minute, how’ve-you-been conversation — that his venture probably would fail and that it’d still be worth it? How do you tell someone who has no real reason to believe that he should make those doomed beginnings anyway because the road to success is paved with failures?
When we parted ways, I wished him good luck, but I knew nothing would happen. He probably wouldn’t even try what he said he wanted to try, and if he did try and it didn’t work (and by “work,” I mean work entirely, getting him 100% of the way there) he’d quit. Then he’d keep doing the job and not having the time and not enjoying his kids as much as he should, and he’d accept it because he’s a good soldier in the army of life and knows he should be grateful for what he has because so many have less. He’d know, as everyone knows, that some people are lucky and some are not. That we get what we get and we don’t throw a fit.
But this is a lie. It’s a big, big lie.
We think certain things “just are” and that we need to “settle and face reality.” But it’s a lie. What you think is real isn’t real. You’re living by bogus rules, bogus limitations. Almost anything you can be or do or have, you can be or do or have. The reason most people never get what they want is because they believe so firmly that it’s impossible that they never start — never realizing that if they started anyway and kept at it, one day they’d wake up to discover that they’d done it.
The reason I do what I do is because I want to expose the lies we live by to the Bills of the world — even if I have to shake them by the shoulders and slap them around to get it to sink in.
We think we need more how-to, but we don’t. We already know how. What we need are tools like courage, strength, optimism, fear, and fearlessness.
I’ve written a lot of stuff that is intended to wake people up to the realities of existence and to help dispel the bullshit, but something more is needed. Something bigger.
My legacy. For you.
When I say that I want to make a difference — that it makes me sad to run into people like Bill and that I’m doing what I’m doing because I want to be remembered as having made a difference — I’m telling you the truth. I have other ways I can make money. At this point, I really don’t even need the blog.
I haven’t been writing much here, on this blog, because I’m writing what I feel is as definitive a guide as I can write on the topic of seizing the day until it screams. It’s going to be called How To Be Legendary, and it’ll be available soon.
The first part of How To Be Legendary is about the lies you’ve been sold on, and the real truths behind them.
The second part is a stepwise procedure for achieving anything, based on a simple premise: You don’t need me to teach you anything. You just need to do what you already know, and to do it every day. (And by the way, that really is the central idea. You don’t even need to download the book now that you’ve read the last two sentences. Achievement is simple. Not easy, but simple.)
One more thing: How To Be Legendary will be free.
So that’s what I’ve been working on. That’s why I haven’t been blogging much. I haven’t been giving you small snippets on being awesome because I’ve been busy rolling all of that awesomeness into one big punch. The knockout punch, hopefully, designed to unplug you from the matrix.
And with this, I hope to make my difference.
UPDATE: My manifesto How To Be Legendary: A Realistic Guide to Being the Superhuman You’re Supposed to Be is now available, for free. And if you’d like some guidance and to have your feet held to the fire in your pursuit of becoming Legendary, be sure to check out my Everyday Legendary community.