Hey. You there.
Let’s do something stupid today.
First, play a song that puts you in the “gives-no-fucks” mood. Here’s one to get you started:
Now, think back to when you were six or seven years old. You know – old enough to have dreams with some significance, but not old enough to learn how to hate your own ideas and question their practicality.
What did you want to do back then?
I wanted to be an archaeologist, a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys, and President.
If you’re at all familiar with my life (Hi, I’m Michael, by the way), then you know that those dreams didn’t necessarily work out – some for obvious reasons. I’m not old enough to be President yet.
Children are insane
When I was five years old, I decided I wanted to be a barber. It became a thing for me. I called every barbershop in Cameron, Texas and asked for a job. My tiny little voice squeakily asked if I could sweep hair off the floor for an hourly wage.
You can guess how that went over.
I asked my dad what I could do if I wanted to work somewhere but they wouldn’t hire me.
“What do people do then?” I asked, bouncing up and down with frustration.
“They buy the place,” he said, in his exasperated dad-voice.
So I sat down and made my plan to buy a barbershop with my allowance.
I made $5 a week, and I figured barbershops cost about $3,000 dollars, so it was only a matter of time before I could afford to do it.
What was your barbershop?
Why did you give up on your dream?
I never bought and ran a barbershop.
In fact, I had completely forgotten about my goal within a couple weeks and quickly moved onto something else, like deciding that I wanted to clone things and move to Oceania.
For a lot of us, we can safely say that our dreams as children were, to put it nicely, somewhere outside the realm of possibility. We wanted to be telekinetic firefighters who moonlight as talk show hosts. (I was an imaginative child.)
For others, we just lost sight of our dreams before we reached the age that we could actually work on our goals. Time got in the way. In order to get a work permit, I had to be 14 years old. That was still nine years away. Nine years is a long wait. Hell, when you’re five, nine minutes is a long wait.
Could I have opened a barbershop?
Sure. I probably couldn’t have afforded to buy one for a very long time, but getting a job in one wouldn’t have been difficult, given the rules and economy of 1995. By the time I reached the age of majority, people had pretty much stopped going to barbers, and I would have had to compete with Supercuts, but I could have done it. It was in the realm of possibility.
But the wait was simply too long.
I dream bigger as I get older
My dreams haven’t become more practical as time goes on. Instead, I get less realistic.
Last year, I decided to start a YouTube channel, build an audience, and have a career on social media. The first year has gone about as well as you can expect, realistically. (More to come in about a week when I hit my official anniversary, by the way.)
As a lot of you know, I quit my job back in July and moved to El Paso to go into business for myself. Try reading back a bit if you want a sense of how my entrepreneurship journey has been going.
Going full-time self-employed with a very, very small audience is really, really stupid. But so far I’m surviving. Somehow. (Stay tuned for that, too.)
Thing is, for most of us, it takes a lot of time to build a business.
Like, years. We’re talking, say, a decade here.
And since it’s been a year, that means I have nine years left.
I have nine more years before I can reasonably expect success as most people see it.
Why I’m not ready to give up on my dreams
Nine years was a hell of a wait when I was five years old.
When it comes to having complete ownership of some hypothetical media empire and the exact life that I want, nine years seems easier to deal with.
I may never be “YouTube famous” (I don’t actually want that). There’s about a one in a million chance that I’ll make a bajillion dollars and own three vacation homes (I don’t actually want that, either). And try as I might, I’m never going to be a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys.
But I can run a business. I can create a huge, successful brand, hire a hundred people, pay them an insanely comfortable wage, take them and their families on vacations to Disney World, and spend the rest of my life teaching free yoga classes and volunteering with shelters. I’m capable of doing that. It’s entirely possible.
And if I keep sight of that goal and keep putting in the work, I know that I’ll get there.