Remember the Disney song, “Following the Leader” from the Peter Pan classic movie? Or the story of the Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo-Jump in Canada? Or the phrase, ” when I say jump you say how high?” Monkey see, monkey do is not a bad thing, is it?
If you want to follow the crowd, disappear into the crowd, or please everybody all the time then this post is not for you. The Sunday comics await or the gangs going out for burgers and ice cream…off you go!
Still here? Read on if you want to stand on your own two feet (you are allowed to sit down and read this).
Basketball Or Nightshift – Show Me The Money
I was pretty good at College basketball, so much so that I made the team after only showing up for one out of three tryouts. The coach liked what he saw in this tall, skinny kid with red locks all a-flutter. In high school ball I was the one they called ” the sixth man”. That meant I could go into any position and play. It also meant I had to know the plays for each position. Pretty invigorating for someone at the obnoxious age of eighteen.
Eleven bucks an hour was pretty good money in the early eighties. And when you added shift premiums on top of that a youngster could pull in a pretty decent pay check. Oh sure, college marks suffered but that’s to be expected from someone who was prone to falling asleep in the middle of a lecture while his hand scribbled across the page as he fell asleep. Working until 7:15 a.m. and then going to class tended to wear on a person’s alertness. Oh well, the girls thought it was cute watching me drool.
I Followed The Money
Guess which I did when I had to choose between the basketball team, which meant following my dreams and developing my skills, or working at a job that paid good money and let me live like money grew on trees? Have I given you too much information to make this challenging?
I started early fattening my wallet and the team was booted, they only paid five hundred bucks per season anyway and I could make that in a month working part-time. No brainer right?
Failed College that year. Lost friends and had no money to show for all those all-nighters I pulled at work. One of those decisions you go, “hey, you’re an idiot!”
Basketball, Work…and Cliffs?
It’s far too easy to follow the crowd at a young age when we’re so impressionable. While choosing to work might have seemed like the independent thing to do, it actually wasn’t. I followed the crowd who believes that happiness is found in money.
Looking back on it now (I gave you the date so you can do the math) I can see that joining the team would have been the wiser choice. There wasn’t a cliff there nor would I have been following the leader. I would have been using the WHO I AM TO BECOME THE WHAT I AM.
Let me explain; we each have skills, gifts, capabilities to do so many things. I’m not just talking about basketball here. We are unique, we do things our way, we bring our experiences and abilities to the team table. Not to use those to both our own advantage nor to benefit others is robbing who we really are.
This is our “skin in the game” if you will. Our sweat leads to victory, personal and for the team…and I mean for other people. We need to realize that we are depriving them when we deny ourselves. Just think how much better that basketball team would have been if I had joined. I’m not saying that we would have won the championship but now we’ll never know, will we?
My “cliff” was following the dollar and thinking that by earning I was succeeding. However, my true job was to learn, get my education for that time later when I was ready to contribute. But I needed to do so when I was properly prepared and able to offer my skills, my talents.
Is Your Cliff Waiting For You?
If you’ve read this far then that means you can relate to this story. Are your cliff-jumping days behind you or are you staring at the precipice right now? Imagine that you’re running with the crowd, doing what everyone else is doing and owning what everyone else is owning…the old “keeping up with the Jones’s”. And suddenly you’re at the edge and being forced to jump over with everyone else because you didn’t stop to ask where you were going let alone look ahead at what might be coming.
People drank grape juice and died because they blindly followed their leader and did what everyone else in their group did. A little extreme but a true story.Here’s what I suggest, go find a quiet hill (avoiding anything cliffish), set yourself down, and listen to that quiet voice inside you that’s telling you to
- follow your dream,
- live your passion,
- hold true to your values.
- And live the person you are inside
You know the voice, it’s you talking to you…and listening…heck, maybe even following your own advice. You already know what is true for you…why aren’t you doing it?
And avoid cliff jumping! We all know it’s not healthy and it’s already crowded with the blind leading the blind. Lead yourself.