Let’s face it. We all had grand allusions that one day we would grow up and change the world.
Not that we would become revolutionaries or anything, but we all hoped to one day accomplish something that would be memorable. And when you’re young and naive, you truly believed that you could do it. Heck, maybe you still believe. I still do. Kind of.
And it makes sense why we always believed it. Our parents always told us that we can do anything we set our minds to.
Our teachers said the same thing.
Remember your high school graduation speech? Or your undergraduate commencement speech? Yeah I don’t either. But I’m sure the phrase “the world is your oyster” came up during at least one of them.
But then we finished college, and we waited. We waited for that person who was always there to tell us that we would amount to great things. We almost expected them to be waiting our front door, fresh with job opportunities for us.
But they weren’t there. Neither were the job opportunities. It turns out that most people didn’t know we existed. Therefore we had to seek out our own job opportunities and somehow convince people that they should hire us.
After months, and possibly even years, of searching, we finally found something. But it’s not what we dreamed up. But, hey, we tell ourselves that “it’s just a job.” We have our entire lives to figure everything else out.
Two years later, it’s still a job. Three years later, it’s still a job. Five years later, it’s still a job.
And then one day, you wake up, and you think, “you know, it’s not that I still don’t have time to be successful in life… but if I really am going to change the world and make an impact, shouldn’t I be doing better by now?”
It’s that realization that hits you like a steel pipe. You’re probably not going to be the next Bill Gates. You’re not going to be the next Salman Rushdie. You probably won’t be the next anything. It’s these moments when you looked back at your parents, your old teachers, that guy who gave your commence speech whose name has alluded you, and thought, why didn’t you tell me the truth? Why did you make me think I was special?
The worst part about it is when you make one more realization — It’s not the economy that’s stopping you. It’s not the 1 percent. It’s not money.
Of the people who have changed the world, do you know what they had that separates them from everybody else? No, not money, not influence, not power. They had motivation. They had desire. They decided that it was their calling to do great things, so they did. The rest of us, we tell ourselves at some point, “Yeah, I’m not good enough to be rich and famous. It is what it is.” I’m telling myself that right now.
Of course, “great things” mean different things to different people. To some, being great doesn’t mean riches and glory. It means surviving and doing what you have to do to get by, raise a family and provide for your kids. And that’s admirable. I applaud you. But even those people dreamed of bigger things when they were kids. They can’t deny it.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong when you realize that you won’t ever be destined for great things. It surely doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish things, and in fact, it really just means that you’re being realistic. Most people don’t achieve great things. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t mean you lived a bad life.
And when you do finally scrap those grand allusions of fame and stardom, you can begin to look at life and plan your next step through a more pragmatic lens.
Ironically, the world is mostly made up of average Joes. The Bill Gates’, Mark Zuckerbergs and Steve Jobs’ of the world are a dime a dozen. The majority of us — the average Joes — are the ones who have the power to change the world, since there’s so many of us. But since we’re so lazy and unmotivated (that’s how we became average Joes to begin with), we won’t.
So to all of those out there who finally resigned themselves to limited success and five-figure incomes, let’s raise our glass and unite.
We may not be destined for great things, but that doesn’t mean we can’t one day be great at something.