When I was growing up, my mother would advise me to view every challenge as a series of steps and to take them one at a time. To be cautious, prudent, linear, grounded.
Her well-intentioned message went in one ear absolutely verbatim and came out the other as the polar opposite. From the beginning, I decided (consciously or not, I can’t recall) to throw caution to the wind, break the rules, climb up on a high wire and play with life – with abandon. Sometimes of the reckless variety.
*As a 15 year old with zero experience, I borrowed money, bought a truckload of Christmas trees from Canada and opened a shop to sell them on a parcel rented to me by the owner of a Texaco station. I made not a dime but I earned an MBA before I even entered high school.
*Ah, high school. I decided from day one the formal education thing wasn’t for me so I just checked out. Went to the beach with girls in the dead of winter, hooked up with a gang that was into all kinds of illegal stunts, wound up in precincts being bailed out by my livid father and then waking up the next morning and doing it all again.
*When it came time to get married and raise a family, I launched businesses, consulted, gave speeches, later started my marketing company MSCO – with no knowledge of marketing the classic way – but a passion to deliver a different brand of ROI-based business building.
*Through the years, I drank too much, worked too hard, barely slept, behaved like a fool, ignored all the warning signs, broke most of the rules, created my own standards and just lived by them, come hell or high water.
The truth is, it all worked out amazingly well. I have relished nearly every day, my family is incredible, my career has been so successful that I have written best sellers, serve as a TV commentator, sold much of my company this summer (although I am still CEO, love it and don’t plan to leave for many years, if at all) and have accumulated personal wealth.
And the further truth is, I don’t understand anything but the high wire. I don’t get how or why people play it safe, live by the rules others impose on them, refuse to take chances, wrap themselves in blankets of safety. This human life is a delicious thing of beauty and romance: to view it from the sidelines is akin to turning one’s back on all that God places before us.
Of course, I don’t have a clue about what life is all about in the cosmic sense, nor do I know if the way I have chosen to live is right or wrong but I can’t believe that our Creator wants us to focus our years on dotting the i’s and crossing the T’s instead of running barefoot through the garden.
Life is not a dress rehearsal. You only go around once!Email This Post