I like to dream big and don’t typically fear competition or huge odds. I thrive in such environments and have, historically, done well in such competitive environments. I have come to expect that when I have a new large-scale creative impulse, that I will be told time and time again that I cannot do it, that I should not do it and that I will never succeed doing so. I have found again and again that these nay-sayers are almost always wrong.
When I was a kid, I accumulated karate trophies, competing locally, regionally and nationally. I had a wall full of them. Those trophies have long gone the way of my parents’ attic. My new trophies are large scale adventures that I accomplish. I no longer receive shiny (sometimes gaudy) awards for these accomplishments, but rather, memories, great stories and life-changing experiences and friendships.
Henry David Thoreau said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”. I am determined to not be one of them.
This year, my grandfather passed away. He was 92. My grandfather had a very interesting life and a lot of fantastic stories to tell. He was involved in many of the major campaigns of WW2, serving actively in the Army, Navy and Marines. He unloaded and attended to casualties of Normandy, filmed the ship-based bombings of Iwo Jima, spent time in Algiers and was awaiting orders in Hawaii, presumably for a Japanese land invasion, on VJ Day.
From a very young age, I would listen to his stories and would think to myself, “I want to travel as Grandpa has (minus the war component) and I want to have rich and vivid stories to tell, just like he does. I dreamed of accumulating adventures of my own so that when I reached my old age (should I be fortunate enough to make it), that I would think back upon my life and know that I had LIVED.
To date, I have traveled to twenty countries of the world and have had some pretty marvelous adventures. While my grandpa was living, he would tell me, “Jim, you live a charmed life”. I believe he is right and I am thankful every day for the opportunities I have had.
Destiny, I believe, is something that we shape through our actions and choices. No doubt many of the marvelous adventures I have had are due in part to fortune, luck and circumstances that are outside of my control. However, there is another component of these experiences that has been very much part of my own choosing and making. Courage, will and a willingness to create my own path are all qualities that have aided.
About ten years ago, I cast out the primary focus of developing a career resume. Why focus in such a limiting way? After all, we each have a limited number of days upon this floating rock. There are so many adventures to be had. Joseph Campbell, the renowned mythologist, would often say that if you follow your bliss, you will have your bliss, but if you follow money, the money may go away…and then what do you have?
My good buddy, John Kwon, once said to me, about career pursuits in acting, “Jim, I do not want to play an important person. I want to be an important person”. Wise thoughts that have stuck with me through the years.
For me, my entrepreneurial pursuits (there have been many, to date), have given me a structure, whereby I can live boldly, take risks and have grand adventures. With entrepreneurship, none of us knows what tomorrow brings and uncertainty (also known as adventure) is our constant travel companion.
Jim Hart is a professional adventurer and entrepreneur. http://www.harttechnique.com