When you’re 80 and reflecting on your life, it will be hard to lie to yourself. You’ll likely either be satisfied, having had the adventure of your life, or filled with regret for the things you missed that you can NEVER get back… This can be a painful conversation but I think it’s one we all need to be willing to sit with. Avoidance of pain in the short term can keep us living a very small life in the long term. Yes, this applies to language learning… but I think it’s much bigger than that. This video is a bit different than normal, cause I felt compelled to share this with you. Here is some of my story and perspective on this…
As I mention in the video, I like to occasionally “randomly” respond to the marketing emails and personal newsletters I receive, even if I don’t know the person.
Just like I always say, you never know what will happen if you just say “hi.” So I say hi a lot.
The same thing applies in the digital world, in person, or anywhere. You don’t have to get it perfect. You just have to connect, and keep caring and trying. Do it ugly, do it scared… just make sure that if you care about doing it, you DO it.
Here’s the email I sent to Russ, in text form:
At the risk of becoming a “crazy,” rambling email and oversharing…
Here’s some of my story/perspective, typed in one fell swoop, imperfectly. Take it as you will. No need to read or respond. But if you want insight into one reader’s mind… here you go haha.
I suppose for me, my peanut is my future deathbed self. And wanting to feed it satisfying retrospection, instead of irreparable regret.
Realizing that life is short, and I only have one. (Well most likely lol. But I’m acting like it’s only one.)
So I started prioritizing long term risk over short term risk. Quit my “nice” engineering job at Boeing, sold all my belongings, moved back in with my parents, and invested all my money in self-improvement and marketing education.
Still, I got tripped up with periods of fear and inaction. I’m imperfect and I messed up plenty, and wasted months of time… mainly via inaction and fear. But because I went all in, I eventually further exposed my excuses and avoidance… with the walls closing in financially, and removing my victim excuses one by one as well, I had nowhere to hide. No one to blame… and when I realized i still felt weirdly calm about my life turning into risk and chaos, to most outside observers… that’s when I was able to begin shifting in a deeper way.
That exposure helped me realize it’s not up to the world to motivate me to action through compliance or consequence. For me to be in victim. Fore to be reacting my way through life in a low level of consciousness. Because I often resent that authority anyway, and often can creatively find a way out. Reacting to and avoiding consequence tends to keep me in low-level survival.
Instead, it’s up to me to proactively realize I only have this one life. And to connect with my mortality, the ultimate urgency. To see beyond the cliches, euphemisms, and distractions… and continually renew my presence for this beautiful fleeting gift I have. And while most consequences won’t kill me now… the regret for myself down the road could be terrible and unavoidable, if I stay in denial and inaction. And that’s a terrible cost, when i am ACTUALLY present to it. So easy to fall asleep and wake up again months or years later… not knowing where the time went.
So I reconnected with that little voice inside me again… tuned out the fires and shiny objects of the world. And gained a lot clearer vision about what I will tolerate in my life vs what I won’t. And leapt into action according to that vision without knowing where I would land.
Still leaping now. :-)
We’ll see where I end up. I’m in this for the long haul, even through the rough short term challenges that may (and aready have) popped up.
As Ryan says… the name of the game is to stay in the game, until you win the game.
And whether it’s a future child of mine, another person I care about, or caring about myself… I think that maybe deepening into that CARING, caring to the point of breaking ourselves for something or someone… that might be what helps flips the switch into going all out in this crazy game (that we have such a short time in, anyway). I think it’s a choice to say that we matter. That I matter. That you matter. And that we’re gonna CHOOSE to make this experience matter, that everyone’s experience matters and is real. To be present to the pain and imperfection, while also creating a compelling vision to see beyond it all, and lovingly and firmly and legitimately also making life more awesome and caring, no matter how tough it gets.
P.S. this is one of those things where I realize it’s a bit out of place for me to send this fairly raw and unedited wall of text, given we don’t know each other, and you’re a badass whose time I don’t want to waste. I’ll trust that it either connected or it didn’t and things are good either way. No need to respond, by the way. And I wish you the best, either way. Ok. I’m gonna hit send now… keep doing your badass things… because… they matter. You matter, Russ! :-)
And the response I got:
” Wow. That was so well written and compelling. You have a fantastic way of communicating. Yes, it’s raw but you need to get that out to the world somehow. “
So, I decided to immediately share it with you.
If any of this resonated with you, or if you see things differently, let me know. I think this is one of the most important topics we could ever talk about… YES it’s relevant for improving your accent, language, and relationship… and YES, it’s relevant for, well, almost everything, I think!
Get to know that little voice inside of you. Think ahead to the end of your life… and sit with what you want to explore before you get there. And there will never be a perfect time to go for whatever those things are. And no one will do them for you. YOU are the only one who can create it. Of course, in collaboration with whatever higher power you believe in, serendipity, luck, natural talent and ability, etc… but you are where you are, right here, right now… and there is so much possibility if YOU decide to go for it. Ask the tough questions now, instead of when it’s too late. You don’t have to figure it all out immediately… but the faster you get going on this path of clarity and introspection and testing things out in REAL life to see if you actually like it (outside of the fantasy), the better.
And then yes… maybe say hi to that cute foreigner. Maybe try recording your own voice and learning to love it as it is… and also caring to develop additional skill and flexibility to be able to sound all sorts of different ways, too.
Whatever you want, whatever you do… you don’t have to get it perfect… you just have to get it going. Even if it hurts or is scary or ugly in the short term… I personally believe that’s much better than long term, deep, permanent regret. (But it’s up to you to learn your own voice and test that out in your own life.)