I read this from the book Quitter, by Jon Acuff:
That’s why, as I write this, I am wearing a Silly Band…they help me remember one of the big reasons I work.
I work so that my kids can eat and wear clothes and sleep indoors.
Sometimes I forget things like that. In the midst of chasing my dreams, I can get lost in being selfish and self-serving…there’s a wild amount of self-confidence needed to successfully chase a dream, and it’s easy for that to mutate into pride and arrogance.
(Normally, I try to make this post short and concise–this one is going to take a few more words than normal.)
Seth Godin shaved his head and wears crazy socks–that makes him “remarkable.” Wearing a Silly Band is kind of…well…mundane–so is eating Mexican chips and shopping at Target and having a mortgage.
But I can relate to the sentiment in that quote. In fact, there’s a little bit of zing to it–it hits a little too close to home.
Previously, I was never on the SCL bandwagon–I had never listened to a talk or a presentation given by this particular author. I had friends who followed him on twitter, but even after I heard Dave Ramsey interview him, I only had a mild interest in his book.
During that interview, he said something like this (which incidentally, I am quoting from his book since my memory of the interview isn’t perfect):
You can’t loaf on your day job all week and then expect to magically throw the switch on the weekend and hustle on your dream. The things you do on your day job tend to follow you home.
Later, he expounds on this idea and directly correlates his inability to listen in a meeting to his poor listening skills in conversations with his wife. (That hits too close to home too, like a one-two punch, especially as I review last night’s phone conversation with my wife.)
I wish I had bought it sooner!
I already had my dream job. Then I quit my job…a long time ago…to chase more of my dreams. So why is a book about “Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job” hitting so close to home? Why does the act of wearing something so mundane like a Silly Band resonate? Why does the book Quitter fall near the top of my list of recommended books for those who want to be a test pilot or astronaut?
Because the tortoise wins every time you read the fable–by maintaining a mundane pace.
Because see-saws are mundane–because ATOMs are small.
Because it’s the mundane–the little things, a thousand small steps–that precede the giant leaps and breaking the sound barrier.
Because before “they” were heroes, “they” were doing mundane things…with excellence.
I knew that, but Jon reminded me and continues to remind me in each page. He does so eloquently and humorously. (He’s actually very funny.)
One More Reason: Godin vs. Acuff
This is just kind of an afterthought. I’m not sure it fits perfectly with the rest of the post above.
Jon’s writing in this book stands in stark contrast to both the style and content of Seth Godin, especially in his latest work Stop Stealing Dreams (you should read this manifesto too!).
In fact, everything that Seth identifies as being “wrong” with the system, those are the things that Jon suggests we use as leverage, as stepping stones, as free lessons in life’s schoolhouse…as fuel for the journey to our dream job.
In describing the purpose of his manifesto, Godin says, “Our kids are too important to sacrifice to the status quo.” That’s quite a heady vision, an inspiring dream.
But as Acuff says, “Anyone can dream; it’s the doing that is such a hassle.”
That is exactly what Quitter is, a guidebook to stop dreaming and start doing.
Maybe the “mundane” doesn’t inspire you. But it does inspire me. Because I can do the small things, day in and day out–and these small things are the daily drops that water the seeds of greatness and remarkable dreams.
Outliers – Who to Follow is a column that introduces you to Outliers, leaders of significance, people you should follow. Following them will not just add value–it will multiply value in your life and leadership. Follow @markjonesjr on twitter to get introduced to more leaders who are Outliers.