January 24, 2016
Earlier this week, on my flight from Austin back home to Los Angeles, I ended up sitting next to a musician. Now I realize that is not exactly a strange, or noteworthy thing, as the odds of sitting next to a musician on a flight to, or from, Austin, Texas are pretty high; it is the Live Music Capital of the World, after all. But what was odd, was what this person had to say, and how much it effected me. And there is a strong possibility that my chance meeting on that plane might ultimately effect you too, by unlocking the secret to finding true happiness.
So there I was, sitting on the plane. I was just about to kick back, zone out, and relax by putting on my Beats by Dre and listening to the late great David Bowie, when the person ticketed for the seat beside me appeared and began to start into, what I like to call, “plane chat,” or “PC” for short. You know what I’m talking about… that sometimes awkward, yet often inevitable small chat that always seems to occur on a plane. That’s PC. And oh yes, my favorite part about PC, is that it usually goes on for what can feel like forever, typically occurs when you are in your most tired and least chatty mood. So of course, after a long busy work week away from home, when all I wanted was my solo time on the plane with my Beats and Bowie, the man beside me inevitably began the PC ritual…”Oh, your food looks good!! Why didn’t you bring me some?” he began. I chuckled in a slightly unenthusiastic attempt to be polite. “Is Austin home?” he continued. Then on to the usual “what do you do for a living?”
This polite and mildly amusing PC conversation continued for a while. And then suddenly it happened. Seemingly out of the blue, the musician got closer. I was surprised that he was able to get as close as he did, in the already awkwardly close airplane seats. He looked me directly in the eyes, looking so deeply that he almost seemed to see through me and into the inner depths of my soul. And then he asked me, “Now… What do you really want to do?”
For whatever reason, this question completely took me by surprise. “What do you mean?” I replied. He said, “Seriously, what do YOU want to do? I’ve taken the safe path for a while, and I’ve taken lots of risks. I think about what I want to do all the time. Do you? I’m doing exactly what I want to do. So what do you want to do?”
While I told him that I couldn’t exactly answer such a profound question honestly at the moment, and jokingly let him know that I especially couldn’t divulge the answer to a complete stranger whom I’d just met on a plane, this man’s question really got me thinking. It literally got me thinking to the point where I utilized a good portion of my flight actually considering if I was doing what I REALLY wanted to do with my life.
The reason I share this story, is that I’ve come to the conclusion that the musician on the plane was on to something special. And I feel confident that he asked me the question with only the purest intention of sharing his own path to happiness with others. So now, I truly believe that this is a question that everyone should take the time to ask themselves daily. Ask yourself, “am I really doing what I want to do with my life?” If the answer to that question is yes, then great! You are probably one of the lucky or smart people who have already found your path and are living your life as the truest version of yourself that you can possibly be. If the answer is no, that’s ok too; I just encourage you, in addition to the aforementioned question, to also ask yourself the follow up question, “what one small thing can I do today, that will ultimately help me get closer to what I REALLY WANT ?” If that’s challenging to answer, think about what makes you smile. Consider what you would do If you woke up tomorrow and money was no object.who would you see? Where would you go? Or if you had only a month, or a year to live, how would you choose to spend that time? Remember, life is short. And truly there are no promises about how long we get to be on this beautiful planet. So, I encourage you to feel empowered to start following your dreams -TODAY. Stop doing the things that don’t make you happy; the things you don’t really want to do. Seek out and find your happiness every day. Chase it down if you have to! And while you may not be able to conquer your goals overnight, and you will most likely, if not certainly, face challenges along the way, it’s important to know that when your heart is in the right place, and your intentions are pure, each and every step towards your goals is getting you one step closer to ultimate happiness.
PS and by the way friends, I know you can do this; stay strong, stay positive, and have faith in yourself.