What were you like when you were twenty or even twenty-five? Do you remember?
I was confident and brash. I had no idea what would happen in my life, but I knew it would be ginormous. No one would get in my way of showing the world I had swagger, was bright and would one day be powerful. Failing was a foreign concept because I was special. Moving forward, pushing on and creating that big path was what I knew I could and would do.
Sounds familiar, right? Every single one of us enjoys a few years of swagger and cocksureness. Every single one of us knows we were born for BIG things. Until we buy our first home, lose our job, have our first baby, or even experience our first death or divorce.
Suddenly, we are enveloped in a big cloak of FEAR. Naturally, we don’t call it FEAR because we don’t recognize it. Only much later, when we look back, we see the iron grip that FEAR had on us for so long.
The FEAR of not being successful, of not paying the mortgage, of not being a good parent, of managing alone, of not measuring up, of not meeting our potential, of not making a difference, of being found out for what we are, of living in squalor, or dying alone. That FEAR is real and is buried in the souls of all adults over 30.
I bring this topic up because a 23-year-old recently gave me a valuable lesson.
I interviewed the young fellow for my podcast, and the interview went differently than planned. Yet, when I thought about it afterwards, he gave me a fabulous gift. He re-introduced me to the concept that we were all young once and how nearly all of us lost the incredible innocence we had.
The fate of the world’s health and viability lies in the hands of those of us who are alive today. Like all those striving to make a difference, my contribution — Exploring Compassionate Capitalism — can not gather steam without a combination of Innocence and Wonder tempered with a bit of realism around with, ‘and this worked exceptionally well here.’
In the face of all the negativity, my podcast, second book (well underway now), and all my other ideas NEED the innocence and the swagger of the younger me.
FEAR (which frankly is not accurate) cannot exist if, together, you and I are to make the world a better place. So our collective FEAR must be acknowledged and then shrugged off. Ignored. Given little oxygen.
An easy way to begin the process is to listen to the musings of a 23-year-old, remember back to when we were that age, and reclaim some of that lost innocence and energy. Look at how far we have come, acknowledge we turned out not too shabby, and seize the moment to push forward beside and alongside the rest of the 20-somethings.
Only then can we make some progress.
I invite you to listen to my young teacher and return to your young shoes. This is the link. Listen and remember.