For a long time I thought the celebrities I looked up to were super human. I might have said otherwise on an intellectual level, but on an emotional level I felt my heroes had something I didn’t. I felt that they were wired differently, and that regardless of what I did I would never amount to a person of their caliber.
Over time, however, my beliefs have changed. I’ve seen many of the people I looked up to fall off. People who were once doing meaningful work stopped. They became complacent. They gave into the biological mechanism to minimize the amount of effort they exerted and as a result they lost their engagement with life.
It’s something that deeply saddens me. The people I once held in the highest regard, the people that were absolutely crushing it, gone. And if we’re going to be honest, probably never coming back.
But even the people I hold in the highest regard struggle at times. Tyler of RSD has talked about nights where he wanted to practice pickup, but could only do half-assed approaches. Tynan’s written about days he wasted falling into the Reddit portal.
And most recently, with the community here growing I’ve learned that the legendary tales we tell of our heroes may be stretched. We may be victims to publication-bias.
Some of the younger readers here have told me that they’ve subscribed to the blog because it shows them what’s possible for someone our age, and that each time they get a post in the mailbox it’s like getting a cup of motivational coffee.
I’ve had another reader tell me he uses me as motivation to write because he refuses to let a young kid half his age write all these introspective posts while he’s diddling around and letting life pass him by.
I know I’m not even a Z-list celebrity at this point, but it’s interesting to see that some people consider me a hero in their lives. Whether it’s you guys here who appreciate my blog posts, or the people at school who tell me I inspire them by always smiling, it’s touching to know that to even a few people I’m the guy they look up to.
But what’s also interesting is that this has continued to show me our heroes aren’t so different from us. While some of you may think I’m always productive the reality is I’m not. Sometimes when I don’t feel like doing things I don’t do them.
I’m not proud to say that, but it’s the truth. Sometimes my days get wasted link chasing to every corner of the internet.
While the people at school may think I’m always happy the truth is I’m not. I go through periods of seasonal depression. I cry. I feel insecure at times. I wonder what it would be like to be popular again. I feel regret and pain for all the time I’ve wasted chasing things that don’t matter.
That’s not to say that I’m a depressed maniac who wastes all his days in a scrunched up position on the couch eating potato chips, and surfing the internet. However, the truth is life isn’t as rosy for anyone as it may appear.
Sometimes your heroes are getting their asses kicked. They might not always tell you because they’re afraid of being vulnerable or discouraging you, but they’re going through struggles just as you are.
The only difference a super hero has over the average fan is that he/she understands that he/she has what it takes to overcome these challenges. They understand that everything they need is already inside them, and that they don’t need to wait for a mythical aura of courage to envelop them before confronting their struggles.
So what I ask of you is to stop waiting for something outside of yourself to give you permission to be great. Turn inwards, and with an absolute commitment to your chosen endeavor, there’s no reason you can’t become one of the heroes you once idolized.
(Picture is of Dallas in April 2014)
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