Posted by Michael Vacanti
I sat on the floor of my apartment.
My whiteboard in front of me.
I stood up, drew something, and sat back down.
Years later, I still reflect back on this drawing…
It was a profound moment in my life: the realization that almost none of my best ideas come to fruition.
They live as dreams. And they die as dreams.
I like to call these ideas “intention” or “intuition.”
Intuition can be simple, like smiling at a stranger. But it can also be daunting, like launching a business.
This drawing made me realize something important: while our intuition is vast, our daily actions are stifled and robotic.
Our “Best” Dies Inside Of Us
Why is that?
How can our lives reflect our dreams so inaccurately?
Well, because of The Wall Of Self Doubt.
You see, all of your ideas are zipping around your heart, brain, and soul like a firefly moving at high speeds. They exist inside of you. But they desperately want to get out.
That is, until the Wall Of Self Doubt acts as an electric fence, zapping our best ideas to death before they can take a breath of reality.
Is the “Wall” Real?
The wall is fear. The wall is assumptions. The wall is can’t, shouldn’t, and not how we do things.
The wall feeds on “you’re not qualified enough” and “someone already thought of that” and “what will people think!”
The wall says things like:
- “You need a six pack to be a personal trainer”
- “Only rich people can start businesses”
- “My genetics prevent me from losing weight”
We all have walls. Some taller than others, some more resilient.
But, they are all beatable 🙂
When A Firefly Escapes
Let’s talk about those times an idea snuck beyond the wall.
- When you quit your high paying job to work for a non-profit
- Or told your parents how grateful you are for them
- Or gave that homeless guy your double chicken burrito with guac
- Or complimented a beginner on his squat form
No matter how big or small, remember how good that felt??
Those moments the fabric of our lives. They are the legacy we leave behind.
Because our dreams are nothing. Our thoughts, good intentions, well wishes… they might make us feel good, but they don’t actually do anything.
They become real when we make them real.
When they fly over the wall.
I have excellent news for you.
The wall exists only in our head.
You may have heard the expression, “on the other side of fear is nothing.”
But the fireflies are real… the ideas, dreams, ambitions, smiles, acts of courage.
You just need to take action.
An Important Reminder
When I launched this blog many years ago, the “about” page described being “On The Regimen” as:
Action > Inaction
I used to love that word. Action. I still love it.
I used to write it on my wrist in permanent marker every morning to remind myself how to live that day.
Other words convey a similar message…
Simple reminders that if we let our dreams die inside of us, if we let each firefly be zapped by fear, then we die.
Right now, there I have another word that best encapsulates my drawing:
I appreciate you reading, my friend.
The best way to wrap this post is with a quote from Seneca:
“It’s not at all that we have too short a time to live, but that we squander a great deal of it. Life is long enough, and it’s given in sufficient measure to do many great things if we spend it well. But when it’s poured down the drain of luxury and neglect, when it’s employed to no good end, we’re finally driven to see that it has passed by before we even recognized it passing. And so it is — we don’t receive a short life, we make it so.”
— Seneca, On the Brevity of Life, 1.3–4a
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