From Loser to Legendary, for Dummies {Pt. 1, Life is a Scribble}

Life is not a straight line.

Once upon a time we were children. Our elders loved us and we were given a lot of wonderful advice. Go to school. Study hard. Get good grades. Listen to your parents and teachers. Someday you’ll get a good job.

Get married. Have children, and a pet. You’ll be happy. Work hard and follow directions. Keep your religion and political choices to your gotdamself. You’ll be successful, THEY SAID

For some, it all worked out perfectly. If this is you this article doesn’t concern you, so move along and go play. For the rest of you common mortals who express themselves, make mistakes sometimes, and are still figuring things out, stick around to the end of {Pt.1}

Life is a Scribble

Some of us are unfortunate enough to have been deceived by our parents with Archimedes’ timeless wisdom: “the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” We spend years following the beaten path and beating ourselves up internally when we don’t. The shortest line theory is a set-up for failure. In the real world, the shortest distance is rarely a straight line because there are buildings, parks, lakes, and roads in the way (ask your Uber or Lyft driver… a GPS is not made of straight lines).

The obsession with old rules and old systems is the product of individual and collective insecurities. People fear fearful things and run to safety instead. Well-meaning parents and teachers, wanting the best for them, will teach children to fear the unknown and the disruptive, hoping that the children grow to make safe choices in the world. These types of safety-craving domesticated humans with atrophied survival skills make for the best wage slaves. You usually find these types of people moving up the corporate or franchise ladder, one employee award, LinkedIn connection, or Big-Mac-Served at a time.

This status quo may have been acceptable “once upon a time,” but it is now costing many decent people their livelihood and dignity. Dreadful are the times when entire industries are disrupted by innovation or displaced by technology and automation.

Cabbies felt safe, then Uber happened. Blockbuster employees felt safe, then Netflix happened. Hotel receptionists felt safe, and now AirBnB is happening. Accountants and lawyers are replaced by mobile apps, desktop apps, and web apps. Factory workers once appreciated relative “job security;” sadly, automation has been pushing them into obsolescence slowly like a medium flame… slow roast, slow burn. #FoodForThought

*(Do not be offended by the previous sentences. If you decided to stick around and keep reading, this was your choice. Take responsibility.)

Some folks are fortunate enough to have missed out on parents that dish out such advice (presented as ancient wisdom of course). For these types, self-learning and figuring it out while going along may have been the modus operandi, one which is transferable in virtually all fields of human endeavor.

Regardless of how we grew up, life teaches us and reminds us constantly that not only is it a b****, but that it is also a scribble. Life has no respect for straight lines. We sit down with pen, paper, compass, square, and protractor to plan meticulously. What’s your 6-months plan? Your 5-years plan? Where do you see yourself in 20 years? Like the Rock said, “IT DOESN’T MATTER,” because life will scribble all over your plan, crumble the paper up, and pretend that the trash bin is a regulation hoop.

Life is brutal. Life is ruthless. If you let it, it will make you feel like a loser many times over until you give up and go hide under a rock. Understanding this dynamic is the first step to going from being a loser to becoming legendary. Survival fitness, adaptability, and continued learning are the brave paths. Disruption is the stuff of legends. Safety is a boring lecture.

There are no good stories of lives lived in a straight line.

In the upcoming parts of this “From Loser to Legendary, for Dummies” series, we’ll discuss how you can define and pursue success, no matter how traditional (teachers’ pet) or unconventional (low-life) your background is. After all, everyone deserves to win, not just the goodie goodies.