I am reading the book the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – I am only 20 pages in, but it has really got me thinking.
There is a concept in the book of a personal legend – basically a life mission that you innately follow while young, but get distracted from as you age and life’s responsibilities and perceived limitations build up. Like I said, I haven’t read the whole book, I would advise reading it yourself to truly understand Paulo’s words.
So of course, I have started thinking about what my personal legend is? What did I do instinctively when I was younger, and what do I yearn for now. It goes hand in hand with something else I have been thinking about, what is my definition of success.
I have a good, corporate job; an amazing house with a huge yard and a pool; a really great marriage; 3 kids – by capitalist standards I am pretty successful. And I do appreciate everything I have accomplished, but these days I don’t walk around with this feeling that “I did it!”.
I walked away from great opportunities in Toronto and Montreal to work on ranch in BC. From there I have dabbled in a few careers before getting ‘stuck’ in my current job. Each decision along the way was generally decided ‘what is the coolest thing I could do next’. I yearn for adventure, for great stories and to experience different environments.
I think everytime I create a experience that is great for story telling, I get that feeling – the “I did it” feeling. Maybe that is narcissistic, but it feeds my soul. I have done so many fantastic and adventurous things in my life, it is time to get creative, throw of the golden handcuffs and create some adventures now and here with my whole being (not just the one is left after 5pm).
Most people, including myself, will use financial security as a reason not to pursue adventure. But why!? What is more fun – being broke, figuring out ways to make it work and experiencing success on your own terms. Or, having a middle class income and buying a new couch. I know I come from a position of comfort and take it for granted that I can feed my family, but it only makes me want to do it more, because if I was out there truly experiencing life as fully as I could I would be giving back more to the community.
My personal legend is to experience adventure and connect worlds to each other. I am certain of it.
My definition of success is to have a life that I enjoy reliving in stories. And to have a trail of people getting connected: to myself, to each other, or to nature; and have them happier for it.
If I could figure out a way to measure those two things: how to tally up the stories and keep track of the connections; I would be able to measure my success. If only everyone could figure out how to measure their version of success – I bet most people wouldn’t do it dollars.