It’s only when things happen in life that it brings other things into focus. Why we have this natural complacency to sit back and tick along until something happens outside of our control and makes us sit up and take stock of what’s going on around us and what we are doing with our lives. So sadly Stan Lee, one of the greatest creative minds ever to grace this planet has passed away. Stan created such a body of work over his lifetime and was generous enough to share it with he rest of the world. A career that spans decades and touched and inspired generations and without question generations to come. Stan’s passing has raised questions that I have felt I have needed to ask myself. Questions such as after this fleeting life has passed what mark will I leave behind to say this is how I spent my time? What did I do to make a difference on this world> What will be, my legacy?
Defining a legacy is tricky as it is really a point of view, a perspective. Bit I know I don’t want my time here to be wasted, this is now why I cram as much as I can into every day and although of course I enjoy downtime I have streamlined my existence to be a productive as humanly possible. The TV ariel, skybox and TV licence have gone reducing the time spent staring into the void to a virtual zero. I work on anything I can and want to. I used to have there mindset that I wasn’t achieving what I wanted to because I was spreading myself too thin, that I should reduce the volume of things I wanted to do and achieve i order to focus more directly on one, or a few. It is only now I can see that wasn’t the case. Not the case at all. It was simply that I was not applying myself enough to what I wanted. To the goals I wanted to achieve. The realisation of your goals doesn’t mean you get to park your butt on the sofa at 9pm every night thinking you’ve done enough make it all happen. That is why NOTHING is changing, that is why NOTHING is happening. There is no other formula, it will only ever equate to work put in equals rewards generated. You don’t earn those rewards, you make them.
The last couple of years I have had to completely remodel how I work and approach changing my ideas into realities. Ask anyone on the same path and they will tell you a few of the same facts. There are no such thing as weekends, these are just now two extra days to keep working , to keep pushing that dream forwards. You are going to miss out on things. No that you will be a social recluse but if you want to change the pathway of your life then working on that pathway will come first over virtually everything else. Accept that a lot of people won’t understand this aspect, some will see you as miserable and boring and absolutely don’t expect anyone to understand the volume of time and work you out in behind the scenes . All their eyes will seawall be the glossy finished article and therefore assume it was a breeze. Then the flip side is the negative Nelly’s out there wanting you to fail. They love a behind your back ‘I told you so’.
You are not going to ace it on the first time of asking and realistically you won’t ace it after dozens of attempts but that is ok, you want to fail, you need to see what you did wrong and what you can learn from that to make the adjustments to try again. For me the best and direct personal example I can offer is that of someone I have had the multiple privilege of working with for the photography side of my career. The incredible force of nature that is Emma Hyndman. For those of you that may not be familiar with Emma and her work she is, for one a professional athlete in the bodybuilding and fitness world, an incredibly talented dancer, an astute business woman and a world class posing coach. Those interested in recruiting her services please do check her out at @emmahyndman_theposingpro. To me Emma absolutely represents every trait of someone that is obsessed with their passion, absolutely consumed in the infinite refinement of her skills and goals. She, like all those other people chasing down their dreams aren’t just a simple 15 second video for us to watch and say they’ve got it good or I’d like to be as successful as them. They are facing , climbing and conquering mountains each and every day. There is no ‘oh I’ll do it tomorrow’ instead it is a solid there is thing s to be done so I’m going to do it now then tomorrow I will have time to get something else done. Emma is fuelled by the hunger to be the best at what she does, the desire to improve each day and for me, being there behind the camera is an absolute privilege to be around. Seeing how she wants to help others, wants other to improve and strive. That is why she is a champion. That is why Stan Lee was so instrumental in sparking such imagination into our minds. That selfless willingness to help and inspire others through their own passion. Even here with me, may not be churning out billion dollar movies (yet) or making future bodybuilding champions but the telling of my story, the reaching out openly and honestly has helped people. That to me is mind blowing that from the ashes of such hurt and pain, hope and courage is born.
Whatever your passion is, however it is born or has come about then obsess about it Do it for yourself and no one else, tat keeps your goals pure, keeps your mind fresh and focused. This life can change in a heartbeat. In the blink of an eye everything you once knew can be gone and you don’t have a single say in it. What you do have a say in though is what you do with your life regardless of what happens or changes. Even if life is pieces you get to choose how those pieces get put back together. If your life feels like it is lacking direction you can take it off in any direction you want it to go in. Don’t waste life, don’t let it drift by. Challenge yourself, dare yourself to to go and be what you want to be. Imagine if at clocking out time we get to stand at the top of the hill and look back at what we did with our lives. It doesn’t have to be grand, it doesn’t have to be all bells and whistles but we have to look back and see that we lived our lives as we wanted to. Lives that made us happy. Fulfilled.
It doesn’t have to be a career and it certainly doesn’t have to be material, it simply has to be what you want it to be. No life is about compromise but your happiness isn’t and nor are your dreams. Chase them both down and equal levels of gusto.
So think about it, take a moment to consider what you want your life to be. Are you putting all the effort required to reach that vision? You’ll soon know if you are as you’ll go from saying you don’t have enough time in the day to do this that or the other to getting up before the rest of the world and going to sleep long after it has gone to bed just so you can prise every ounce of productivity into every day. Because that is what it takes, it takes hunger and sacrifice. Sacrifice not just of sleep, social activity and down time but in sacrificing all of the thing s you think you need around you and certainly sacrificing the excuses that it cant be done or you don’t think you can do it. Anyone can do anything, period. It is what we choose to accept as our reality. it is what we choose to apply ourselves to.
Above allow need to be the best of ourselves, become the best version of us that we can be, this may well come before we even start on the road to building our goals into our reality. That version of you will always be seeking constant refinement. So this question that raised itself with the passing of Stan Lee has been resonating loudly with me since the news broke. At 42 it took me a long time to find the path but ever since I did life has been good. Not without its challenges and trials but I embrace that. Even though I’m not where I want to be yet I know I will get there because I know in myself I will put in the work required and I won’t accept anything short of total satisfaction. Then, you raise the bar again.
Life is here to be enjoyed, it is here to be experienced and lived. We all get the same tools at our disposal, some of us might get a head start but the only life to focus on is our own. Build your happiness daily, the work you pour into you and your world is the reward and fulfilment you will reap back in turn.
Create your own uncompromising legacy, the master of your craft, the captain of your ship and the driving force behind your own destiny.
Legacy is built, not born.