One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that, whether we realize or not, absolutely everything in our lives has a complex “why” behind it.
Everything, no matter how big or small, important or insignificant, has a very long, complicated, and extremely interwoven story of how it came be.
This is as true for why you’re wearing a given shirt, as it is for where you live, how your career progressed, the way you met those closest to you, your interests developing over time, and even the thoughts that keep you up at night.
One thing always leads to another and each of those things was always led to by countless others.
And when you begin to break it all down in hindsight — connecting every miniscule event that led to another, even the simplest of things seems almost inevitable.
It’s as if our lives are less about choices as they are a series of reactions.
Let’s try an example.
Right now I’m wearing an old blue scuba diving t-shirt.
I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to go buy a diving shirt, in Indonesia of all places.
Instead, thousands of individual circumstances came together and brought this shirt into my life.
Here are 10 of about 10,000,000….
– I wanted to get out of town as quickly as possible for an adventure, so I booked a solo trip to Indonesia, where ultimately I bought this t-shirt.
– I was perusing international trips because I saw a picture from the exact same time a year earlier where I was on an Ayahuasca retreat in Peru and was frustrated that I hadn’t done anything interesting since. Felt like I was wasting time not traveling.
– I originally booked a trip to Thailand, but posted on Facebook about going and was convinced by a friend that Indonesia would be a better option because he was familiar with the island.
– I met that friend in a nightclub and stayed in touch with them. And had he not been wasting time on Facebook at the time, he wouldn’t have told me about Gili Island and I would have been in another country entirely.
– My ability to go on either of these trips wouldn’t have happened had I not had the financial resources and freedom to do so.
– Those were the result of selling my business, a website that I started because I became interested in nightlife after moving back to Las Vegas and getting a job at a club after seeing it in a newspaper.
– I wouldn’t have chosen a trip to a scuba destination had I not been a certified diver, which happened 15 years prior because I had watched a show on the travel channel about shipwrecks and got the bug.
– My tendency to take random trips on a whim wasn’t by accident, my Father was a longhaul truck driver and I grew up riding with him across the country on his hauls with little notice.
– I wouldn’t be able to quickly go to Indonesia if not for all the countless people involved in developing the global aviation infrastructure we have today. That would have been an awful long boat ride across the Pacific.
– I’m wearing the old shirt today because it’s July 5th and everyone is still out of the office, hence the casual old shirt while blogging.
Change one thing, change everything.
Everything has a story — a why for being, and each of those “whys” was the result of countless others. It all infinitely connects and you sitting here reading this is no exception.
Why aren’t you doing something else? How did you get to this post? If you had hit a stoplight earlier today, would you be sitting here reading this? In what ways are you relating this to your own life?
Back To The Future.
I read an article recently that said if you had invested just $100 in Bitcoin 7 years ago, you’d have around $80,000,000 million today. Not a bad return on your investment, right?
Knowing then what you know now, you’d immediately have jumped on Bitcoin for as much as you could as early as possible. But why didn’t you?
If you’re like me, it’s because you didn’t know much about the emerging cryptocurrency market and, to make matters worse, it was extremely complicated to make your initial investment.
Maybe if had I met someone who could explain it to me at the time, I would have put some play money into it. But I didn’t meet that person, I didn’t know to, nor did I put the money into it.
Looking back, it’s impossible to see how that would have changed.
My circumstances in 2010 were as much the result of those that led to them as my circumstances today are the result of what has happened in the time since.
And that brings me to my point….
Our choices in life are never based on “just one thing,” or even a single moment, but rather an infinitely complicated series of thoughts, actions, influences, and circumstances that have each come together in sequence over time to reliably produce a given decision at a given time.
Here is why that matters….
If we can begin to understand individual choices as instead being inevitable reactions, it changes how we see the world around us.
Instead of judging others, learn about them. Find ways to change the trajectory of someone who needs it. Be their reason why.
Recognize that the person you will become isn’t the person you are today, but the decisions you make between now and then will 100% shape you into that person.
Instead of beating yourself up for mistakes you’ve made in the past, deconstruct each and every one of the reasons that led to them and find practical ways to change your actions going forward.
Understand that your words and actions truly do affect others, whether you know it or not.
Even a simple Facebook post, which is why you should share this one.
– Jack Colton