I read a fascinating story in National Geographic a few months ago about a guy who hiked the perimeter of Alaska. All he carried with him was a backpack full of gear, a kayak and tent. He’d trek to various state parks every day and set up his tent at night before heading out again the next morning.
As I read, I wondered about the guy. Was there something special about him that could make him do something so amazing?
Then I thought more broadly. What makes people do awesome things in general? A lot of people wish they could pursue some crazy adventure or dream, but many don’t. What’s the difference between someone who does awesome things and someone who doesn’t?
I’ve met a lot of people who are doing some really crazy things with their lives. Many quit their jobs to start up a business or follow a dream. I just met someone recently who moved from the US to Belgium and has lived there for the past 20 years.
So what is the key difference between someone who packs up all their stuff and treks around Alaska and someone who doesn’t? It might seem like people who do awesome and crazy things like this have some sort of special quality.
But it comes down to one key difference:
They get extremely committed and take action to follow through on their awesome ideas.
This is not a special quality. In fact, anyone can do this.
You have to more than just want to do something. Anyone can want something. You have to NEED to do it. There has to be a drive inside you that tells you life is simply incomplete until you’ve done it.
For instance, I found I NEEDED to do these things:
- Hop on a plane to travel through Southeast Asia for a couple months
- Get myself into the best shape of my life
- Swim with sharks
- Move to Morocco
- Start this blog (which I’ve kept up for over two years)
Once it reaches that point when it stops becoming something you want to do and becomes something you need to do, you find a way to make it work. Finding the drive and motivation becomes much easier. And you take a lot more action on making it come true.
Over the years, I’ve had other ideas of things I wanted to do, but never developed a deep need to see them through. So I didn’t take much action on them. Of course, those ideas didn’t go anywhere.
There is No Other Difference
I know that it can seem daunting to pursue a dream project like traveling around the world or starting up a business. Even someone with an adventurous spirit like me wonders just how someone who treks around Alaska could do that.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it is that there really is no significant difference between those who do awesome things and those who don’t. If you’re looking for some physical or mental difference, you’re not going to find it. There are none.
It just takes a leap from wanting to do something to needing to do it. After that, taking action to make it happen becomes much easier.
So if you’re not following your dreams now, it doesn’t mean it will never happen. In fact, most people don’t start out living an adventurous or exciting lifestyle.
Most people start out living in the daily grind. That’s the starting point, the default lifestyle everyone has to go through.
Just take a look online. How many blogs do you read of people who worked in boring workplaces doing something they hated before taking a leap to something exciting? Breaking out of the daily grind to pursue a big goal or dream project is a really common theme.
That’s no coincidence. It goes like this:
Work the daily grind for several years and THEN ditch it for something awesome.
But all of these bloggers were only able to move away from their boring daily grind towards something exciting when they found a need to do it. Then they found a huge motivation to make it happen.
So they took action and did it.
So really, there’s isn’t much of a difference between you, the person sitting next to you, people online or anyone you read about in National Geographic. It’s a matter of determining to do something and following through with a ton of action. It’s actually pretty simple. And sometimes, it’s the simple things that are the best approach.
photo credit: code poet