Self Starting - A Note for My Sons

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For my sons Matthew and Benjamin.

“The world waits for no one.”  This statement has been proven true to me over and over again, through experiences both good and bad.  At times I have risen early, started towards my goals, and created amazing outcomes. At times I have found reasons, created excuses, and allowed circumstances to stop me before I even got started, and so I’ve missed great opportunities. Life teaches us lessons when we pay attention. I have noticed repeatedly as an adult that nothing happens unless I make it happen. That isn’t to say that I must do everything myself. Its actually better to work through a team than by yourself, but your team won’t get started unless you start them.

When you self-start, you act on your own ideas. Instead of being told what to do by someone else, using their ideas, someone you may not even know, and who certainly doesn’t know you…instead of that, you get to decide the direction. Instead of waiting and missing opportunities, you can choose to self-start. 

Just the act of starting signals the world that you’re moving forward, and they better follow. You become a leader. You get to create what you want! You just have to start.

Even though each person is completely unique and amazing, we all have some things in common. We are all born with equal abilities to choose, create, lead, and start. These powers live within all of us. Some people use it, some wait. Those who use their powers strengthen them. Those who choose to wait are the sheep, waiting to be told by someone else what to do and where to go. Those who choose to self-start are creating what they want in life. Either way, we live in the world we choose.

Imagine a world with no law, no education, no cities, no sports, no restaurants, no order, just chaos. Every man-made thing you’ve ever seen or experienced is there because someone self-started. Someone created every little thing. As Steinbeck said in “East of Eden”, “Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.” The essence of our world is creation by people who have chosen to start.

Other people have stared many things while we watched and waited. But why them? What makes them different? Were they born faster, smarter, more capable, more ready? Nope. Never. They just started before us, with clear intention, and made it happen. And when that happens, its them in charge, creating the rules of the game for us to play. Why not you? Why not your rules? Just get started.

As you are self-starting, your intentions should be clear, because your intentions will become your results. Ask yourself: why are you starting, where are you going? If you’re clear about that, and honest with yourself about it, and clear with others about it, you will achieve your goals in less time that you ever thought possible. And you get the pride of knowing you made it happen because you got started.

Every day we have is a gift. How many days do you have left? You don’t know. This makes time and life precious. Don’t let it pass you by. Remember the 5-second rule? It applies to much more than dropped food. Treat all of your ideas and opportunities with the urgency of the 5-second rule, because they all change or disappear that fast. Treat each day like the gift it is. Life doesn't happen to you, you get to make it happen. Greet the sunrise with a smile and your passion! Trust your vision! And get yourself and your team started on what you want. And then, never ever give up!

I am proud of you, I believe in you, I’m here for you, and I love you forever. - Dad