I think something we can all relate to is reflection. Often times we all find ourselves looking back on the past. No matter what memory we look back on, I think it’s easy to smile. I smile at the good times because those memories remind me of how fortunate I am for everything I have in my life; how fortunate I am to have this opportunity to live and create. I smile at the bad times because the moments that left me broken in my past, don’t seem like such a big deal now. They’re not hurtful anymore, just a friendly reminder of what made me stronger.
After I launched my book Getting Strength From My Struggles and the Let’s March movement last week, I began reflecting again. I keep getting asked, “Where did your inspiration come from? Where did it all begin?” It unknowingly began years ago, after watching the Alan Watts video What If Money Was No Object? In the video Alan Watts says, “After all, if you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually become a master of it. Then you’ll be able to get a really good fee for whatever it is.”
My brother Cory and I both came across this video at some point. Two and a half years ago we took a trip up to Manitou Springs to conquer the incline. While driving back to Pueblo, Cory posed the question, “If money were no object, and you could do one thing in this world for the rest of your life, what would it be?” Without hesitation I replied, “I would lead a movement.” At the time, I didn’t have the slightest idea for a movement. But that was my deepest held desire; the one thing in this world that would make my heart sing. That simple idea would manifest itself into Let’s March two and a half years later. The law of attraction never ceases to amaze me. It’s really easy to connect the dots looking back.
A movement is defined as, “A group of people working together to advance their shared political, social, or artistic ideas.” I founded the Let’s March movement because I’m not happy with the world I find myself living in. I think education is outdated, politics have become ridiculous, and we as humanity in general have lost our sense of adventure and curiosity that launched us to the moon.
I believe my generation stands at the forefront of a new frontier. We’re not shackled by the traditions of the past. We played no role in building the world we see today, and we have the advantage of not knowing how things were done before us. All we know is we need something different. We see problems and we’re hungry enough to work hard to create solutions. Let’s March is my attempt to unify millennials. I say then, rise up. Let’s march towards challenging the status quo, and let’s accept the powerful responsibility we have to provoke change in this world.
I remember the first day I decided to go start writing my book. Until that day, I hadn’t told anybody about my idea. I knew I had to get up and just do it. For whatever reason, that day, I was terrified. I walked out of my bedroom and told Cory, “Hey I’m going to the library I’ll be back in a bit,” hoping he would just say okay and let it go. But of course he didn’t. “Why are you going to the library?” he asked. I said, “I’m going to write a book.” “What!? A book? What are you going to write a book about?” he replied. I went downstairs and tried to quickly tell my parents the same thing. Again, it didn’t work. I got the same response. “What do you mean a book? A book about what?” After the initial shock, I had their full support, but I still had doubts.
“Who I am to write a book?” I thought to myself. Tony Robbins, Malcolm Gladwell, Tim Ferriss; those guys write books. Surely I don’t have the credibility to write my own. But then I reminded myself that I had a story to tell. I had a story that I truly believed in; one that college students everywhere can relate to in a variety of ways. From break-ups, to failed dreams, finding the right friends, and reinventing myself. I wanted to write a book about what really goes on behind the scenes of school itself. Not the typical college success guide about how to get good grades, effective time management, and studying tips. I believe my book is raw, real, and vulnerable. I think whoever reads it will respect it for at least that.
Getting Strength From My Struggles is me challenging the status quo of college. We spend four years of our lives studying history, English, science; and yet after four years of education we fail to learn about ourselves. I was inspired to write my book because as I was graduating, I was surrounded by people who were totally lost. They were lost because they got swept away in the college experience and didn’t discover who they were as a person in the midst of the chaos.
College, experienced in the most impactful way possible, is all about self-discovery. After four years you should graduate with a clear idea of who you are as a person and exactly what you want to do with your life. I know it’s possible, because that was my experience. Simply leaving college with a piece of paper and good memories is a bad investment of thousands of dollars.
Instead of looking back on the past, I find myself now looking towards the future. I’m fortunate to have been brave enough to step out of my comfort zone and follow my dreams. I look forward to the story of my book changing the lives of those who read it; I look forward to Let’s March putting a dent in the universe; and I look forward to speaking to thousands of students and inspiring them to challenge the status quo. Most importantly, years from now, I look forward to looking back and reflecting on this moment, and smiling.