My Lollapalooza Year

My birthday is only 4 days from the new year. So, each year I receive the agonizing feeling of reflection two-times-over. This year is no different, yet as I look back I feel more confident in my decisions and my place in the chase.

The official definition of “lollapalooza” is “one that is extraordinarily impressive.” My 2016 will be just that. Why? Because I choose to see “lollapalooza” as an event to behold, and that, my friend, is this year. The year of several ideas combining to produce an unusually powerful result.

I am a very introspective person. An explorer always asking “what does this mean” internally and trying to produce answers and arguments in external fashions. The first part of my twenties was all about exposure but that came with uncertainty of myself and more anxiety than I’ll ever want again. Not to say everything is just fine and dandy now. It’s hard, and will always be hard.

The days are long but the years are short. — Medical resident saying via Paul Kalanithi

Don’t follow others successes. Stories on how people are making millions or winning games are written to sell magazines, merchandise, website advertising. This in turn makes the producers money, not you. You need to look at who your mentors and idols read and studied from. Try to garner the insights they are handing down already and make further connections on your own.

What we’re seeing now is a search for the authentic in a world that too often seems homogenous and already discovered. — Jason Clampet

Don’t chase multiple dreams. There is a proverb or saying or made up Internet cliche that goes “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” This is true beyond belief. Exposure for me was fantastic because I got to explore unimpeded while finding what made me feel like myself. Now, I have to narrow it down. Sometimes I find myself all over the place and thinking the newest idea I have is the next one to follow. It’s not. Keep your path and process.

Realize that fear I felt was rooted in a single theme: taking control of my life. — Ryan Holiday

This year is 365 days of small wins. Everyday victories need to be celebrated. This is the only way to a 15 year overnight success. Ambitious people lose sight of the day-to-day when all they want to see is their version of “I’ve made it”. But ambitious people fail to realize they’ll never “make it”. There will always be another mountain, hill, or goal. Enjoy the process.

[Don’t believe that your] ‘ambition constantly exceeding that days’ capacity for activity — [is] somehow a moral failure.’ — Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Always be kind to yourself. Short story: I wish my friend had never shown me a certain book. It was written by a guy only a year older than me. He had a similar job in terms of skills but at a much more well known company. He wrote constantly. He was smart. I love his work.

And so I hated him. And compared myself to him. And constantly felt behind on the times and dumb and lazy. The truth is I falsified a hero and lost two years of focus. I chased what he had instead of learning and shaping it to what I wanted. Now, with my mind cleared I see how small we both still are.

Be a role model. Don’t look for mimicry or flattery. And never go searching for credit. Help others. Use your skill to help them and further them. Undoubtedly it comes back and if it doesn’t, know you’re better for it anyhow.

Remember “Choice is not a thing, but an action. Focus is not a thing, but something we do.”