As I write this post, I am boarding a plane to Amsterdam. From there I will be flying to Johannesburg, South Africa. Today marks the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to visit the Motherland.
Someone recently asked me if this trip was for work or for fun. Since I consider it my life’s work to eliminate the distinction between those two categories, I said both. My conviction has always been that we each have the permission and the power to be the predominant creative forces in our own lives. That means we all have the right and the responsibility to look within our hearts, discover what makes us come alive, and dedicate ourselves to a lifestyle that’s oriented aound a sense of purpose, not just a need to survive. I’ve always modeled my life after Seth Godin’s advice: “instead of wondering when your next vacation is, try creating a life you don’t feel the need to escape from.”
The aspect of this trip that means the most to me is that it was made possible by my commitment to the passion I have for exploring new ideas and helping empower others. I can think of many times when I spent my last dime on books. And although I’ve made a lot of people nervous with choices like that, it feels wonderful to be able to experience something so magical precisely because my love for knowledge has put me in a position where I can create value for people.
While in Africa, I will be visiting several campuses where I will give various talks on entrepreneurship, education, and economics. And to be honest, I will have as much fun talking to people about those topics as I will visiting historic landmarks and beautiful beaches.
My parents always taught me that our passions can take us places beyond what we can imagine. They would often quote the biblical proverb thay says “A man’s gift will make room for him.” Well, this trip to Africa is one example of how I experience that.
There are so many different ways to get to the places we want to be in life. Ask a million people and you will hear of a million paths. I think it’s important to seek out the places we wish to visit, but it’s far more important that we move towards our dreams in a time and manner that’s suitable to our individuality. There’s more to life than getting what we want, but there’s nothing worth having if we need to compromise our true selves in order to get it. I’m excited to go to Africa, but I’m even more excited to be walking the path that wears my name. That’s where the magic lies. It’s not in the place. It’s in the person. I hope you learn to trust the magic inside your soul. And I hope it takes you to many wonderful places.