Tails of the Herd: The Day I Realized I was following the Asses in Front of Me

Unknown-1I remember waking up one day and feeling pretty much like Simba hanging on that limb for dear life, hoping to survive the stampede of the wildebeast herd.  Simba was out romping as children do, when the herd rushed around him and swept him up.  He starting running, remember the scene?, desperately trying to keep up, not to be run over or stomped to death.  God knows where he would’ve ended up if he just kept running.  He knew he had to either keep up or get out of the crush or it wouldn’t end well.  That was a smart move.

There was that moment for me.  I grew up, romping happily.  I followed the rules.  Did what I was told.  Listened to the “big” important people around me.  I washed behind my ears, got good grades, came home 15 minutes before curfew.  I went to college, got a job, a house, kids…

and then I began repeating the circle of life and guiding my children to do exactly the same.

Until I looked up and realized I was following the tail of the one ahead of me and I asked myself why I had my head up somebody elses…rumpus.

It all started when I had no idea where I was in life or how I got there.  I had just been blindly following those before me and expecting to end up in the land of everyone’s adolescent dreams when we slowed at the end.

It doesn’t work that way.  You end up where the stampede carries you, unless you find that limb and climb out of the fray until the masses rush by.  By that point, though, you’re so lost and far from home, it’ll take an act of god to find your way back or start over.  I wished I had seen it coming and never gotten swept up in the herd.

Their destination became my destination. I chased after whatever the leader of the herd was chasing and so on back to where I was.  Their course, mine.  It wasn’t planned and wasn’t all bad.  It was just a life of default.

So, I made a conscious decision to get out.

This meant I had to figure out where I was and where I wanted to go instead.

It seemed like most everybody was racing ahead to something great.  They were rushing towards “success”.  I think that’s what we thought we were doing.

Fame and fortune.  Prizes and reward.  Glitter and tinsel.

Power.  Control over life, people, circumstances.

Applause.  Attention.  Approval.

The path of least resistance.  Aka:  comfort, leisure and ease.

Whatever.

It didn’t seem like the means mattered quite so much as long as it ended in “success”.

The issue was that I wasn’t arriving anywhere close to where I expected.  It didn’t seem others around me were arriving there either.  I knew I was off course and I was rapidly ushering my kids to end up in the same place.

That’s when it became clear that I wanted to go someplace different and take my kids with me.  I still wanted to be “successful”.  I just wanted to define what that meant.  I wanted clarity.

After a lot of thinking, looking at the others still running and where they were ending up, studying those who were actually achieving big things, getting advanced education in giftedness, and analyzing some more, I set a new course.

The clarity changed everything.  It changed how I saw each day, filtered decisions, how I guided and encouraged my children, and even how I viewed myself, them, our endeavors and futures.  It freed us.

The funny thing is, that in breaking away from the masses, gaining clarity on where we now intended to go (and how we’d get there), we’ve been carried further than we ever expected.  The view has been MUCH better too.

Here’s a topic of convo for the table or car (of course you have to begin having convo’s with your significant/kids about all kinds of topics so it’s not bizarro that you’re suddenly having a thoughtful conversation with them).  Think of all the common destinations people have and any words that define what success is to them or others.  If you want, put the words on individual scraps of paper or cards.  Then play “Would You Rather”  Put two cards together and ask:  Would you rather have xx or yy?  Maybe it’ll sound like, “Would you rather be rich or famous?”  Then leave the “winner” and replace the “loser” card with a new word. “Would you rather be famous or have total control and freedom over your life?”  Play again and again until there’s a final card that trumps all the others.  There winds up being good discussion about the pros and cons of each.

Our winner became:  maximizing our individual potential.  < P

It was the beginning of discovering the formula.  We discovered the product:  < P = Z ⋄ C5 ⋄ E

We’ve elaborated a little on that since:  maximizing our potential in a way that brings valuable contribution to everyone around us.

Where you are heading and why?

Determine your destination.

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