2017: The Year of Pushing Start.

Earlier this week, I built a computer after editing video on my 2012 Macbook Pro for five years.

It doesn’t sound like a huge accomplishment, because it wasn’t. It only took around a couple of hours to put all the pieces together and another thirty minutes to set up all the software.

But behind the simple process of building the machine, there were months of planning, researching, and justifying all of the parts I needed to make my dream machine a reality.

If I had to describe 2017 in a few short words, I could call it a year of adventure, or even a big confusing mess. Yet I won’t, because behind what the overall span of three hundred sixty-five days may have looked like on the outside, I want to see a deeper, more personal meaning behind everything that happened:

The year of pushing start.

But before we get to what I mean by this, I must explain why and how this concept came to me.

Often we (as a society) look at a year, a term created by us humans to divide time into simple, understandable chunks dividable by months, weeks, and even days, by only what major events have occurred, or how it all happened. Examples include the over 400 mass shootings that took place this year, natural disasters and the response we’ve given to each of them, or almost anything President Trump did this year. Looking simply at the surface level of our calendars has given us a tendency to focus on what’s changed for the worse. Hell, I’m guilty of this myself. There’s a million sources out in the world where you can find great investigative, often eye-opening reporting, in print and on television. But turn to any cable news channel or check the front page of the New York Times and you’re bound to find a story that’ll make your outlook on the world, well, gloomy.

Learning about exactly what is going on and how it’s happening is important, no question. But narrowing our vision as one body of people to solely look at those two factors just doesn’t give us the full picture.

It doesn’t give me or you a reason to stand up and start a movement. It doesn’t give anyone a reason to do the right thing.

The truth as I see it: it is nearly impossible to accomplish anything of meaning without looking at the third pillar in this three-part equation: the why.

Now if you’ve watched your fair share of quality TED talks like I have, you’ve probably come across Simon Sinek’s How Great Leaders Inspire Action piece.

Sinek’s overall hypothesis comes from the simple ideology of how the most successful projects and the most creative minds start with thinking of the why: why they want to create something new, why they want to change an industry, or why they want to start a movement. Then they move on to how they’ll execute their why and what exactly they’ll create in order to embody their movement.

No great leader, entrepreneur, or creator has gone into a project only think of what they’re final product is going to be. Jordan Peele didn’t write and direct Get Out with his only thought being to make a critically-acclaimed, successful psychological thriller. No one does that! Not without time, effort, and a reason to keep working towards their end product. That’s how we create not only excellent films and television, but great novels and songs as well.

Since the beginning of 2017, I’ve put forth an effort to make this why, how, what concept the three pillars of every project I work on, and every important choice I make. Today I can confidently say that this was the single greatest choice I made all year.

In the last twelve months, I left middle school and entered the ninth grade

In the last twelve months, I made new friends and caught up with some old ones.

In the last twelve months, I made an effort to push the boundaries of the messaging in my school’s video production practices.

In the last twelve months, I organized my life and put an end to my emotional clutter.

In the last twelve months, I put the past behind me and started writing more strangers on the Internet again.

In the last twelve months, I started working on my most meaningful, most ambitious screenplay yet.

And in the last twelve months, I built a computer.

No matter how simple some these accomplishments may be, I’m still proud of them. I’m still proud of myself. I managed to take my never-ending list of goals, ranging from thoughts of microscopic importance to moments that build the next stages of my life and I acted upon them.

And the biggest driving factor in finally pushing start and getting things done?

I bet you’ve already guessed it.

The why.

So if you’re going to take away anything from my ramblings, tell yourself that if you have all the pieces in place, you too can push start on your wildest ambitions. And if 2017 just wasn’t your year for that, don’t fret. There plenty more days, weeks, and months to come in 2018.

If you learned something from my story, feel free to leave a few claps or a response down below. I’ll try not to obsess over them but I’d really appreciate it nonetheless. :)