Monday, February 27, 2012

Rethink Possible

Every time I boot-up my Android AT&T smart phone and every time I check my AT&T account on line I see this screen come up that says, “Rethink Possible.” I’ve been seeing this just about everyday, even multiple times a day, for months and months. Today, as it came up again, I began to think, hmmmm, maybe there’s a message for me here. So, I’ve spent some time calculating what “Rethink Possible” means to me.

So, here it is. While there may be some things that are impossible, or at least, to date, haven’t been proven to be possible, most things are possible. But, what prevents the possible from manifesting itself in our lives? Boy, this is another of those basic questions that we tend to make complicated. The difference between something becoming possible and not seeming possible is our perception of it. It’s our attitudes, belief systems, self-confidence, self-esteem and philosophy of life. It also depends on determining what we really want out of our lives. Remember, no one owns your life except you. Despite cultural and religious doctrine and imposed guilt trips, you don’t owe anything to anyone for your life. You are the sole (and, maybe, soul) captain of your life. You are the boss of you.

Everything we have and everything we’ve accomplished in our lives has happened because we made conscious decisions and choices. We are conditioned from the moment we are born until the day we die by outside influences. Why do some people become successful musicians, actors, artists, scientists, financial managers, investors, doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, inventors, entrepreneurs, athletes, mechanics, plumbers, electricians and so on? Is it because they are just lucky or were destined to be successful? Or, did they think and “Rethink Possible?”

Follow along with me for a while. I’m in my mid-60’s. Here are just some of the things I’ve accomplished . . . so far. I want you to write down a list of your accomplishments as I’m listing some of mine. My list is in a random order as I think of them.

I have . . .

owned 24 different motor vehicles including cars and vans and driven nearly a million miles.

owned and operated something like 30 or more analog and digital professional recording systems of one kind or another.

had several recording studios.

owned several tape duplicating businesses including one in Washington, DC that was so advanced and cutting edge that we locked our doors and wouldn’t allow anyone in to see it.

had my own record label.

created, produced, marketed and internationally distributed my own audio magazine on personal and professional development.  

traveled to several foreign countries including audio and video recording professionally in Beijing China.

been to all but four of the states and just about every major city and a lot more of the minor cities in the U.S.

owned houses, leased properties, lived in seven states and the District of Columbia.

lived on a lake, on a mountain, on a horse ranch, in cities, suburbs and the country and in many different styles of houses up to 5,000 square feet (moderate by today’s standards).

recorded almost every genre of music and produced countless audio productions for large and small businesses, religious, association and educational institutions as well as countless individuals.

snorkeled and scuba dived and in one day I was 10,000 feet above sea level on top of a volcano to 28 feet below sea level under the ocean.

been married and raised a family.

been a professional speaker and taught on a university and college level.

had cancer, recovered and survived.

been a member of the prestigious Audio Engineering Society for 18 years and the National Speakers Association for 25 years and was a founding member of a small association that has continued operating for 32 years.

founded a small radio station that continues to operate 46 years later.

been a book publisher, recording engineer, video producer, concert sound engineer, voice-over artist and president and CEO of several small companies

And that’s the short list . . .

The idea is not to brag. The idea is that I had no idea when I was growing up that all of this and so much more was going to be my future. I went to public schools. I wasn’t a whiz kid. As a matter of fact, although most of my classes were with the smartest kids in my class of 800, I graduated as a member of the half of the class that supported the top half. I went to a state college in New Jersey, not some Ivy League school. My graduate degree is from Syracuse University not Harvard or Stanford. I was exposed to the same kind of mental and environmental conditioning as the vast majority of the U.S. population. I certainly have not been anywhere near as successful as the “wonder kids” like Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Megan Whitman and others. But, in my own way, I’ve been more successful at living this life then so many other people. Why?

I simply chose to do what I thought and believed was possible even when so many others thought I was somewhere off center. Well, actually, I was off center. I chose not to be average and accept average. I chose to push myself onto the positive, achieving part of the curve. Now, truth be known, I’ve failed way more then I’ve succeeded. But, the failures are how you learn NOT to do something. Failures are the catalyst for “Rethinking Possible.”

So, how is your list coming along. I hope you’re being honest with yourself and recognizing all you have accomplished and all that you have. It doesn’t matter what your current age is, as long as you’re not lying in a casket in preparation for be buried in a six foot hole, you can still “Rethink Possible.” Age is irrelevant. We hear about kids, some not even in their teens, yet, who are already making decisions and choices, “Thinking the Possible” and doing amazing things. I met a young man who, as a pre-teen, had terminal cancer. He survived. Then in his mid-teens he was stricken again by terminal cancer, it cost him a lung this time. Again, he survived. And, yet, he has climbed and reached the summit of the highest mountains on all seven continents and he did that before he was even in his 20’s. And then we hear of people who go back to college in their 80’s and 90’s and earn a degree or an advanced degree. They simply “Rethink Possible.”

That’s the amazing thing about living free. There is really nothing that’s impossible. As long as your mind is free and you choose to live free, you can have or accomplish just about anything you “choose” to. Certainly, how I define living free for my life is not how you should define living free for your life. That’s the great thing about living free. If we are truly free, then each of us is free to define every aspect of our lives. Sure, we have to take into account the laws and structure of the culture and societies we are part of, but if those laws and structures make us uncomfortable we can “Rethink Possible” and change whatever is necessary for us to find a place that works for us. It may require moving from the city or the country or it may require us to leave the state or the country we currently live in. Those are all choices and we get to make them for ourselves. Sure, making these things possible may be difficult, even dangerous sometimes, and we may even fail, but then we just need to “Rethink Possible.”

I have been enjoying meeting and getting to know a lot of people who have chosen to live free and “Rethink Possible” for their lives. They are amazing individuals. Many of them have chosen a direction like I have, which is to downsize to as little material “stuff” as possible, simplify every facet of their lives, live frugally and avoid the confinement and restrictions of what is considered mainstream living in the U.S. society. I also meet many people with open minds who admire, envy, dream about, wish and are very accepting of the lifestyle I, and the others I’ve noted, have chosen. I hope I can inspire them to “Rethink Possible.”

Then there are those I describe as having “lemming mentality.” By this I mean they are so closed minded and conditioned to living within a system of restrictions and limitations imposed by others such as families, employers, governments and even, in some cases, “friends.” They consider those of us who choose living free to be mavericks, non-conformists, weirdos, bums, homeless vagrants and worse. What they don’t understand is that while there certainly are many who are living a homeless lifestyle by unfortunate circumstances, there is a huge population of us who do so by choice. We don’t panhandle or beg. We choose to be nomads, professional nomads, if you will. We are self-sufficient, productive in ways we choose and contribute to society in our own way. We simply choose to live free and “Rethink Possible” as it works for us.

“Rethink Possible” for yourself. It’s never too late, or too soon for that matter. If you’re not currently living free, as you define it for yourself, and you’re procrastinating, I’ll simply remind you that time stands still for no one and your clock is ticking – tick-tock, tick-tock.


Unknown said...

Hi Ed,
I have enjoyed reading your blog this morning very much and applaud your free spirit. My husband & I traveled for a year in a 17 ft Roadtrek and loved every minute of it.
I especially resonated with your recent blog post "Rethink Possible". I have been reading Terry McBrides highly recommended, inspirational book, "The Hell I Can't" and the philosophy of rethink possible dovetails beautifully with Terry's philosophy, and my own. Or as a wise person once said, " whether you believe you can do something or you believe you can't, either way you are right".
We get to choose, and dominate our own minds, rather than accept cultural programming, or "lemming mentality".
Keep enjoying your freedom, and mining for true gold.

Ed Helvey - Professional Nomad said...

Thank you, Elena. It sounds like you and your husband travel a parallel road with me. It's always great to know that you may be on a different "Road Less Traveled" then most other people, but you're never really alone. There are others on similar roads.

Thanks for the tip on Terry McBride's book, I'm adding it to my reading list. I'm rereading Steinbeck's "Travels with Charley" right now. I'm amazed to see how similar his attitudes were about America and life some 52 years ago when I was a teenager looking excitedly to my future dreams and . . . where I am 52 years later.

I use that line about believing you can or you can't do something often when doing seminars, workshops or counseling folks going through bad times. Been there. Done that.

Keep on choosing your freedom and thanks so much for reading my musings and commenting. It's very gratifying.


Anonymous said...

Terrific post Ed. Love your drumbeat. Happy trails and keep good notes.

See you in August. Oops need to sign up.

pat Tith

Ed Helvey - Professional Nomad said...

Thanks, Pat --

I appreciate your comment.

Looking forward to seeing you in August. Information coming shortly.