Every day, people just like you take charge of their destiny by committing to their dreams and being bold in the pursuit. At revolution.is, we share stories of remarkable people living unconventional lives. Each week for eight weeks, we’ll share one of those stories here, in hopes of inspiring you to begin your revolution. Enjoy!
“Grab A Machete And Make Your Own Path”
by revolution.is contributor, AJ Leon
My name is AJ and I nomad around the world and make things happen. In the past three years, I have traveled to over forty countries, launched four projects that have helped transform developing communities in south Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania, and I run a fun, profitable business with my beautiful wife. We live in New York City and travel the globe about 75% of the year.
But it wasn’t always this way.
It was December 31, 2007, and I was young and successful, making a healthy six-figure income in a corner office in Midtown overlooking Fifth Ave. My co-workers loved me and my boss was grooming me to be the franchise. I had done everything right. I’d graduated summa cum laude, landed a gig at the biggest firm, moved to the biggest city, and took the largest offer I could find.
There was only one problem—I hated my life and I hated who I was.
So there I was on the eve of the 2008 New Year, ninety-six hours before I was to be married, and it occurred to me that somehow, someway, I had been conned into living some other dude’s life. I was quantifying my success by how many zeros there were at the end of it, and relegating my adventures to two-week increments.
I sat at my desk silently, peering over Manhattan from my twenty-eight-story office window, and I thought back to when I was a kid; the time when I truly believed that I was put on this earth to do something special. I could see the thirteen-year-old version of myself looking at me with disappointment, “This is it. We only have one life, and this is what you’re doing with it?!”
Then it struck me: If I didn’t leave—if I didn’t walk away right at that moment—I was going to be that guy for the rest of my life. My heart started racing.
Did I have any idea what I wanted to do with my life? Heck no. But I knew for certain what I didn’t want. And sometimes, that’s enough.
I grabbed my stuff, told the boss, and walked out the door.
Some people are waiting for a sign; for some magical unicorn to deliver their life’s calling on a papyrus script before they leave a life that they know is not for them. I did it for a long while until that one glorious day when I decided that, in order to change the world, I had to change mine first.
You have only one life. And you can spend it living in the shadow of someone else’s destiny, playing it safe and following the well-lit paths—or you can grab a machete and hack down your own.
At this very moment, you may not know what you want, but you sure as heck know what you don’t, and that’s all you need to start the adventure of a lifetime.
AJ Leon is the CEO and Creative Director of The LaC Project and is a writer, blogger, and speaker.
Amber Rae is a passion catalyst, authority challenger, and motivational muse. In the last 365 days, Amber worked with Seth Godin to launch The Domino Project, helped Derek Sivers turn his book into a best-seller, created revolution.is which shares stories of remarkable people living unconventional lives, and launched a “Passion Experiment” program where she helps people give their dreams direction. She’s been seen in The New York Times, Inc., Forbes, BBC, and on ABC World News. For more about Amber you can visit her website orTwitter.