The Dark Side of Positive
On this path to chasing & catching your dreams, you are headed for the “mountaintop.” That main destination you have set your heart on at this stage in your journey—for the adventurous at heart, there are always more mountains to climb. With scenery so beautiful and enticing (the grass is always greener up on the mountaintop), you long to frolic and eventually purchase a spread of your own in that land of milk & honey. So, you kiss your mum & da goodbye and waive your friends cheerio as you strike out for adventure and a better standard of living. You’re so bold. You’re so brave—with not much more in your pocketses than your hopes, aspirations, and a few magic beans. Somewhere, not too far from where you began, the path grows steeper…and steeper…and steeper still. That’s when it hits you. The light bulb appears above your head, illuminating an important fact that in your exuberance to get started had eluded you until this you’re-hip-deep-in-sheep-sugar-now moment….
You don’t know how to mountain climb.
It’s not all sunshine & roses. This path you’ve chosen to better your life. It’s not so easy. Sure, it’s mucho better than the alternative—having no life at all, living vicariously through someone else’s safely-watched-from-the-couch fantasy. In his book The Dip, Seth Godin talks about being gung-ho for a passion or project until you smack headfirst into the reality of what it will take to attain such lofty and noble goals.
“THE DIP is a little book about quitting…. Every new project (or job, or hobby, or company) starts out exciting and fun. Then it gets harder and less fun, until it hits a low point—really hard, and not much fun at all. And then you find yourself asking if the goal is even worth the hassle. Maybe you’re in a Dip—a temporary setback that will get better if you keep pushing. But maybe it’s really a Cul-de-Sac, which will never get better, no matter how hard you try.”
This is where you are first smacked in the face with the reality of what you are undertaking. (Oh, yes, there will be other moments.) The High-School-Musical infatuation once held for your pet project wilts in the shadow of this dream-mountain you picked out for yourself. Oy, the things you’ve gotta go through to become the person you need to be to scale such a behemoth. Where did all the fun go? You never signed on for…this! Actually, you did. You just didn’t know it…yet. Tricksy-tricksy Law of Attraction. Throwing opportunities your way and you not ready to act on (and sometimes even notice) them. Now you have this huge opportunity…with a mountain of work—Yuk!—standing between you and your dream.
Whatever will you do?!
First thing…relax. Though there is much you will face and endure along the way, all is happening as it should. As it must. Everything you’re coming up against in your effort to reach the mountaintop is happening to help Level Up Your Life and get YOU ready.
This is the hard part, “dark side” that comes with getting what you want out of life. The price to be paid for this kind of “magic.” So, what do you have to look forward to on your journey through the Dark Side of Positive?
Goblins & Gremlins galore?
Yes, all this and more, Dream Hunters…. All this and more.
There’s the Gremlin we call Work. How can there be work when you’re doing what you love?
You just got ambushed by Gremlin Work.
Are you willing to put in the necessary effort to not only be in the right place at the right time, but to become the right person in the right place at the right time? We hear of “overnight successes” all the time, but are they really? Take a closer look and you’ll find they’ve spent, often, years in preparation of their “big moment,” that opportunity that comes knocking only once every so often. People like to call them lucky. Because it makes them feel better about what they’re doing and their chances at catching that same “big break.” What they fail to see…is the overnight success that took 5-10-20 years to get there.
“The harder I work, the luckier I get.” ~Samuel Goldwyn, producer~
I’ve spent the last couple years at on-the-job training for my talk radio show, The Other Side of LIVE! (The exclamation point is part of the title.) At the writing of this blarticle, I’ve recorded nearly 300 vlogs, most dealing with subjects not unlike those delved into on TOSOL. Before that I’d spent the last 25 years performing comedy across North America. TOSOL is doing none too shabby—it is well received, the numbers are growing, and they’re about to get bigger.
And, people are going to say I got lucky.
They’re right, you know. I did get lucky. And, every time I walked on stage, or stayed up late to rewrite, or took acting classes to learn another aspect of my craft, or went to Toastmasters to learn to speak to people instead of perform at them….every time I did those things or something like them, I got luckier and luckier and luckier. I’m a lucky guy. You can be just as lucky. All you have to do is show up. Put your best into whatever you’re doing. Learn to take the good and the bad of what’s happened to you and shape them into something useful.
“I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often.”
~Bryan Tracy, author & speaker~
Even with all that “luck” on your side, won’t be easy. It can’t be. How can it? Circumstance and the life lessons are there to shape you, to mold you, to teach you what you need to know to survive on the mountaintop. Those who take a shortcut to the top rarely last up there for any length of time. There are plenty of bankrupt lottery winners who can attest to this. You don’t walk into the gym and begin working out with the 100 lbs. weights. You begin with the 25 lbs. weights (or the 15’s if you’re a champ like me). It’s not so much that you don’t know what you’re doing as that you’ll hurt yourself. Badly. I have a formally squished finger on my left hand (it still crackles when I push on it—ask me, I’ll let you hear it) that warns against such reckless behavior.
There is a price that must be paid—as if God & the Universe are asking “How bad do you want this?” What are you willing to give up? Your time? What kind?
Now do you begin to see why I call this the “Dark Side of Positive”? Success for this passion that yearns to come to fruition demands a sacrifice. Don’t worry; it’s not asking for too much. Just your life and all that you are ready, willing, and able to give. In return, it will give back to you in equal portion for what you have given.
And, they will call you “lucky.”
Have you counted the cost? Are you ready, willing, & able to—as the Psychologist K. Anders Ericcson study at the Academy of Music in Berlin shows—spend your 10,000 hours to become the best of the best?
“In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell puts forth the premise that to be an expert in your field requires a devotion to one’s craft for at least 10,000 hours. Gladwell and other elites cited in the book challenge the premise that genius or being gifted is a matter of innate talent. In fact, closer analysis of success stories prove out that the element of innate talent plays a lesser role in achieving expert status than one might think. Gladwell also points out something quite fascinating and worth remembering. In his study, Ericcson didn’t find any ‘naturals’ or prodigies who effortless mastered their instrument. Neither did Ericcson find ordinary people who worked harder than anyone else and yet never made it to the top. In other words, he never found people worked hard and never made it.”
As Victor Antonio (by way of Gladwell and Ericcson) alludes to in the above, you can be anything you set your mind and energy to being—but, there are some things you must first go through to get there. More than just time, there are other “perils” you must face on your climb up Mordor to the mountaintop.
Snow? Rain? Gloom of night? Not quite. The elements you must face as you climb your metaphorical mountain are those things you must confront to get there. Skills you must learn along the way: speaking and management and accounting, oh my! Not to mention whatever talent you must hone as you climb ever onward & upward.
Another element, one that you must all face once you grow your dream beyond the hobby stage, is the J-O-B getting in the way. Climb the mountain high enough and someday—not to-day, mind you, but some-day—you will come to a crossroads. At that point in your life you will question whether or not to leave go of the bread-and-butter income-producing profession that has helped you get this far. If your dream grows so big that it becomes a career, then you will need to rethink your current employment. The real trick will be in the timing. Let go too early, and you risk losing your foundation as your finances begin to fall short. Wait too long…and you get caught in the quicksand of contentment. Eventually you watch your dreams fade away, leaving you with a life that is “good enough.” You tell yourself that it’s okay and you just want to be happy. Yet you find that you are not. You find that, even with your happy, contented life, you are often listless, sad or mad even.
Because, some joyous part of what you used to be has died inside…
Cooked to a slow boil in the pot of your contentment.
One of the more difficult perils you will most likely face on your way up is Isolation. Though life is very much a team sport, there are times when we must go it alone—especially when creative outlets are involved. Painter, writer, sculptor, digital artist—alone time is a definite must when pursuing these dreams. Hours upon hours of it. The same can be said for dancers, singers, and actors. Though much of their art involves partners, there is still the learning, training, and even rehearsing that comes before the duets. If you are a person who cannot stand solitude, then perhaps these are not the dreams for you. Nora Roberts, one of the most popular romance writers in America, has one golden rule for cranking out five books a year….
“Ass in chair.”
Could you do the same? Where do you stand with your dream? When family and friends beg you to come out from your cave and “live a little,” what then? Are you grateful for the chance to step away from your passion…to see the light of day for a change? Or do you take up Dave Ramsey’s financial battle cry to “Live like no one else so you can live like no one else”? Like crabs in a bucket, those around you will pull you back in—even though the kind of freedom you’re seeking can only be found in those “wide open spaces.”
Even now, I’ve cloistered myself away from most of humanity so I can jot down these thoughts and share them with you. J.K. Rowling began writing the Harry Potter series in 1990. In 10 years she touched the world. I bet she clocked in a ton of alone time for her writing. I’d like to touch the world—wouldn’t you? And, because of those who have gone before us, we have a pretty good idea on what it’s going to take to achieve something of that caliber.
This is the Dark Side of Positive. You want to get somewhere in life? Want to create a great life for yourself. Wonderful. However, the wanting isn’t enough. Not for this. Not for your dream. The dark side of this golden coin is you are going to have to give and give and give of yourself. You’re going to have to invest all of you…and then the Laws of Attraction, Reciprocity, and Manifestation kick in…and you begin to get back 10, 100, 1000-fold what you put in. The bad news vs. good news of all this is it’s going to take a lot of work—Boo!
And, it’s all up to you—Yay!
Yes, there is a dark side to positive, but it is a necessary “evil” for all the good it brings into your life. It’s there for a reason. It’s there to help you grow. To help you level up to the where you need to be to handle a dream as big & brilliant as yours. Dreams this big require a sacrifice of sorts. Don’t worry; it isn’t much. Just all you’ve got to give. Your dreams will grow in direct proportion to what you put into them.
It’s all up to you!
Manifestation, stirring the quantum soup, dreaming dreams & wishing wishes attract opportunities—that’s the easy part. It’s up to you to reach out and act on them when the time is right. Even early on when you’re not quite ready. That’s when you fail forward and go for it! You probably won’t be ready to ride that first opportunity right out of the chute, but you’ll learn. Remember, ready-fire-aim—make adjustments as you go. Keep moving forward, climbing up that mountain and becoming the person you need to be to reach the mountaintop. Once you get there, you’ll know what all the fuss was about and what all the trouble was for. Because, from that vantage point, the view is amazing and you can see forever! From up there, you will begin to understand and appreciate all that you had to go through. But, before any of that…
You’ve got to take those first steps.
Go grab your gear and begin your journey up the mountain. When the weather gets rough, and it will, remember to tuck your chin and keep climbing. Keep your eyes on your Why—the prize, your passion, your reason for this dream you have. Your Why will be a beacon for those darkest times when you have nothing left to keep you moving and you’re ready to give up. Like a bright star in the East it will guide you ever onward and upward. Eventually, with but a cup of audacity to begin your journey and dash of persistence to carry you through, braving the elements, isolation, and anything else life may throw your way, you will move beyond the dark, difficult time…
…to reach your Mountaintop.
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