Compromise (inspiration)

by Tim M on June 26, 2009

I am off to France to ride in L’Etape and follow the Tour de France – the GREATEST sporting spectacle on God’s Green Earth (World Cup Soccer, pffft whatever to you, soccer! 1 MILLION people on the Alpe D’Huez!). I’ll be blogging and twittering from the road. Straight to you.

I told an old high school friend this today. His response?
Your trip looks unreal, it should be great dude. I’d love to do it one day. Maybe next year. I should make an effort.

Your trip looks unreal, it should be great dude. I’d love to do it one day. Maybe next year. I should make an effort.

This statement was so revealing. You know why? Because I highly doubt he’ll do it (though I hope he does).

There’s a vast gulf between people who get can-do, and people who talk in phrases like “I’d love to” or “someday” instead of “I am booked to…”. Compromise, inability to Just Make Sh!t Happen – the reasons are many.

People compromise. In life. In relationships. In everything.

A little compromise? Totally ok.

A lot? I don’t think any good at all.

ESPECIALLY in relationships and lifestyle. I’ve done it. Frequently said “ok”, instead of “no”. (Digression – I am now with a girl who is TOTALLY AMAZING and understands the need for me NOT to compromise, coz a happy Tim means a non-resentful Tim = awesome relationship).

I’ve done it in my job. I remember the day part of my soul (temporarily) died. It was in between my third and fourth year of a Telecommunications Engineering degree in 1999. I’d gone from the first two years of uni, with its endless 4-month summers, pub-crawls, bailing on class to go bodyboarding and snowboarding, to being locked in a tall tower in Melbourne, Australia working for Telstra (note: the work was reasonably interesting, I just longed for endless shred). On the first day of my 3 month internship (well paid I’ll admit), I just felt an enormous sadness. I knew this was not right. I had more to offer, now. I just wasn’t able consciously realise this and act effectively on it.

But I thought, “I’ll do this [tick], finish uni [tick], get a job [tick], get well paid [tick], buy everything I want [tick], travel [tick], party [tick] and so on. Stepping stones. Bad. A road to mediocrity.

Along the way, we settle.

We settle for something not quite right, or an outfit that isn’t our best look, or a job that doesn’t quite maximize our talents. We settle for relationships that don’t give us joy, or a website that’s, “good enough.”

The only way to get mediocre is one step at a time.

You don’t have to settle. It’s a choice you get to make every day.

But boy have things changed. I don’t compromise my time anymore. People who don’t interest me, people who don’t have a role in my life, things I don’t want to do (even with my girlfriend! Like I said, she’s amazing), work meetings (banned, I go to virtually none, only crisis meetings)…the list goes on. People think I’m arrogant, obnoxious, self-important, probably even an arsehole – not the people who matter though (family, best friends, girlfriend). They all know my time is incredibly important to me, and they want to see me happy. I do not compromise, period.

What effected this change? Reading some totally bad-arse business and entrepreneurship books. (By the way, I totally recommend all those books, they’ve been instrumental in changing the way I see myself as a human and how I work).

Seth has been instrumental in this (see below).
You matter

* When you love the work you do and the people you do it with, you matter.
* When you are so gracious and generous and aware that you think of other people before yourself, you matter.
* When you leave the world a better place than you found it, you matter.
* When you continue to raise the bar on what you do and how you do it, you matter.
* When you teach and forgive and teach more before you rush to judge and demean, you matter.
* When you touch the people in your life through your actions (and your words), you matter.
* When kids grow up wanting to be you, you matter.
* When you see the world as it is, but insist on making it more like it could be, you matter.
* When you inspire a Nobel prize winner or a slum dweller, you matter.
* When the room brightens when you walk in, you matter.
* And when the legacy you leave behind lasts for hours, days or a lifetime, you matter.

I stumbled upon Chris probably from Seth. From Chris, I stumbled upon Clay, and then Johnny and then Penelope, then Jonathan, then the amazing Naomi, and on and on it went. So much inspiration.

I’d say it was probably Chris Guillebeau’s inspirational emails that made me finally jolt into action (yeah, yeah I know, Johnny B does this but I’m like whatever to you, you can use him instead!)

I am aiming for this within 24 months.

If you want some inspiration, I highly recommend starting with these books, and the links below. Then RSS these people, they’re awesome.

Tim

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