For most of us it seems a little far-removed from our daily lives. Social convention tells us we shouldn’t be brazen enough to think we can do the impossible. We shouldn’t audaciously pursue our ambitions, regardless of how innovative, because who are we to do so? That’s for other people. We tell ourselves these lies over and over again. I’m not bold enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not rich enough.
We go to school, maybe university, we get a job, we pay our taxes, we have a few kids and make sure we pay our mortgage on time. We might even go on an all-inclusive holiday every few years or so and drink poorly made Pina Coladas around a swimming pool full of inflatable sharks and lilo’s. We do not disrupt the status-quo or defy the preconceived notions of adult life because it’s not our place to do so. We’re no visionaries.
We just hangout with the wrong people. If we hangout with the right people our whole lives are turned upside down and our brains explode. Wow. I can actually do whatever I want.
When we think about this concept in its base form it’s pretty much devoid of any real new or groundbreaking thought — it’s dumbed down Stoicism. Virtue can only be exercised through things within our immediate control: perception, action and will. All external factors are indifferent because they are not within our direct vicinity of manipulation.
Hanging out with people that have given social convention the middle finger radically affects all three of those facets of control.
Want to run a marathon? Go run, it’s not that far. Finding it hard? Train with somebody who also wants to run a marathon. It’ll make the slog a whole lot easier. They’ll push you. They’ll pick you up when you fall. They’ll drag your sorry ass out of bed at 6am when all you’re thinking about is hitting the snooze button. They’ll make you drink one of those God-awful kale smoothies. And eventually you’ll run the marathon.
The point I’m trying to make is that life is (excuse the overtly worn out analogy) a marathon. There are certain elements of life where our choices markedly affect our chances of success. And like running a marathon, choosing who we decide to hang out with is quite possibly the most important one of those choices. That choice affects our perception of the arbitrary boundaries we self assign on our potential. If we spend time with people who are doing some truly groundbreaking things, it shapes our journey too. They share the same struggles, hurdles and setbacks and will prop us up when we need it. We build our own encouragement network where no idea is too big or crazy.
We should all be crazy enough to think that the world can be different. That stuff can be better. That we can be the change.
Humanities progress has been a series of amazing valiant events from the very small and personal to the great, big and grand. Any one of us can contribute to that progress. But it’s hard to go it alone. Put enough of these insane visionaries together and before you know it everybody is doing impossible, world changing things. Think Google. Think Apple.
We’ve just got to be at the party to have a slice of the cake.