There’s a lot of waiting involved in growing up. You wait until your tall enough, coordinated enough, pretty enough, smart enough, old enough to do these things you want to do.
Your possibilities are limited by the stage of life you’re in.
But year by year, those things you’ve been waiting for start to arrive. The restraints that once bound you slip off as you come into adulthood, and finally you reach a point where you can do just about anything you want.
There’s just one problem….
We keep waiting. It’s like we’ve spent so much of our early lives with this idea of waiting that it becomes a part of us. We even add and create “obstacles” to put in our way so we can justify waiting longer.
We say things like “I need to get better first” “or “I need to make more connections” despite the fact that these are accomplished through action, not by waiting around.
Sometimes, the excuses we use sound very legitimate. For example…
I need to wait till I finish college.
Somewhere around the age of 10, I decided I wanted to write a book someday. I already loved creating my own stories and characters. A book seemed like a good thing to put them in. Sure, writing a book at the age of 10 seems like a very lofty goal.
But my family had a computer, and I knew how to type. I understood chapters and to some extent, an overarching narrative.
I actually attempted writing a few books over the following years. I’d get a chapter or two in, and then I’d give up altogether. I’m not skilled enough to write a book yet, I’d tell myself. I need to be better. Wiser. Older. Wittier.
Eventually, I went to college and majored in writing. That would surely give me the skill needed to write a book, right?
My excuses didn’t disappear. They just changed into different excuses.
I told myself I was on the path to writing a book despite the fact that I was not doing any book writing while in college. Not during the school year. Not during the summer. Zero book writing effort on my behalf.
I’d tell myself that once I had a degree, then I’d be able to write a book. My time would finally come.
The truth is, college improved my writing immensely. I left smarter, sharper, and much more skilled at my craft.
But it didn’t give me the ability to write a book.
Because writing and finishing a book doesn’t take skill, knowledge, or talent.
It takes the most basic ability to write and a decision to sit down and keep writing until the last page is finished.
This is something I was fully capable of doing at the age of 10.
Instead, I waited for 14 years just to start.
I was a 24 year-old valet attendant when I decided to sit down and write the rough draft of my first book. I completed it in two weeks and would spend the next 5 years refining it.
Imagine if I had started writing a book my freshman year of college. I could have spent the next five years refining it in the company of aspiring writers and wise professors. I just might have graduated with something publishable.
Instead, I graduated without a job, hating my life and wondering if there was any purpose to this world at all.
That is because I was waiting for something that had already arrived.
Why are you waiting?
It’s a trick question. You reach a point where you’re not actually waiting. You’re stalling. Because if you never try, you won’t fail, and if you don’t fail, then it feels like you still have all of the potential ahead of you to succeed.
But it’s not ahead of you. It’s around you. You’re in the thick of it.
You’re a 7-foot tall human, standing in front of a rollercoaster, waiting for the attendant to come out with a measuring stick to tell you that you’re tall enough to get on.
It’s not going to happen, and you’ll be left waiting there until you’re too old and/or dead to get on.
So jump on it.
Finishing That College Book was a very bittersweet experience. I felt proud and victorious, but I couldn’t shake the realization that I should have completed my first book years earlier.
I waited so long to do the one thing I wanted more than anything else to do.
Had I actually written a book at 10, it probably wouldn’t have been very good. But the experience and awareness gained from it would have had a lasting impact on my life. I would have realized that failure is usually a step forward, and that the only thing standing in the way of me was, well, me.
Whether you’re going to college or you skipped it or you’ve already graduated, don’t wait for your future to magically arrive. It’s there. Right in front of you. Chase it.