By Michael Gregory:
Each day we make with decisions. Sometimes hundreds at a time without even realizing. Some of these decisions are small. Like which sneakers to wear. “Are these pants dirty?” Some decisions carry more weight than others. Dozens of decisions are made just in order to get out the door in the morning. Some with just a bit more calculated risk than the next, some with none at all. Choices. A simple google search of “decisions” would return a myriad of inspirational memes and images about how difficult decisions are, to lead your own life, blah blah. None of these are truly relevant until you actually make a decision of your own that truly carries weight. Some decisions are made out of fear. Fear of doing the right thing, or rather the wrong. Emotions often get in the way of the rational, logical decision. Once again, risk. Calculated risk. We don’t get to achieve the extraordinary without taking risk.
The movie Dangerous Minds — A debatably monumental Generation X right of passage. The movie describes a group of “at risk youths” in an inner city Los Angles high school who all battle different experiences from teen pregnancy, to gangs, drugs, and murder. Michelle Pfeiffer plays an ex marine who comes in as a substitute teacher. From poetry to karate, she applies her world knowledge to show them all the difference between choices. She says, “there a lot of kids who live in your neighborhood who choose not to get on that bus….they choose to go out and sell drugs, they choose to go out and kill people.” She continues, “the people who choose to get on that bus, which are you, are the people who are saying, ‘I will not carry myself down to die, when I go to my grave my head will be high.’” Quoting Bob Dylan, she makes a stark example out of a seemingly trivial, yet critical choice in the student’s life.
Now this example may or may not resonate with you. You may even be thinking, “What the fuck is he talking about, the only reason that move mattered was because of Coolio.” Which is true as well. But, my point, as I have related this to my life and my professional career, is that we can choose to be victims of circumstance or environment and not get on the bus. Or we can choose to get on the bus and better ourselves. Too many people drift through life as victims of circumstance and so rarely grab the reins and choose to pursue their passion over monetary fulfillment.
From the exterior my career and life was exciting, but it was no longer fulfilling. So I chose to take control of my destiny, not be a victim of circumstance, and make a change.
For clarity, this is not a criticism of those who chose to remain in positions, professional or otherwise. But rather an explanation of my journey. People’s lives are driven by all types of obligations that force them into area of their lives that become banal. Its natural, even inevitable. We will all at many points in our life become bored, stagnate, and complacent.
I am blessed. I am blessed and fortunate to be in financially stable position and at malleable point in my life where I can make this choice, along with a beautiful partner that wants the same thing. I have to remind myself to be humble and understand the battle that everyone goes through in this journey we call life. But I can confidently say that I am proud of my courage to choose to make a change.
Those that know me will say that I create chaos for the sake of creating chaos. While taking full responsibility, my perpetually insatiable mind and body continually decide to change circumstance, environment, people, things, to stay active and engaged. Sometimes those decisions are good. Sometimes they are bad. In my relationship with Deena, it has often been bad, but plenty more on that as this “journal” develops. For some reason I struggle with the word “blog”.
In March 2013, I left a Director position at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. A job which many reading this would imagine to be dream job. I was the youngest department head the company had ever had. I was surrounded by wonderful people that had shaped me and my professional demeanor over nearly 10 years of employment, probably more than that. I left Mammoth to take a six figure salary at Beats by Dre.
At 27 years old, making that amount of money at one of the largest brands in the world was far beyond what I ever imagined I would do. Just the excitement of the opportunity alone drove me crazy. Here I am, a kid who grew up in a small ski town going to work at the hottest marketing company in the country; debatably, the world. Beats was full of young, talented, intelligent people. Much more than me. I finally felt that I had found somewhere that I was understood. Like I was back in college, I was ready to be challenged intellectually and operate far outside of my comfort zone. I was ready for inspiration, risk, willingness to push the envelope. I am definitely not the typical Beats employee. Which from the outside, one could say is very hip hop. This is very true. But more importantly an intellectually stimulating environment lead by similar people who generally just want to question “Why?”; “We don’t need to do it that way.” I was so tired of doing things the same way at an established company that, in my arrogant, young opinion, had no larger vision. I wanted to change the world. So I packed my bags.
Fast forward to November of 2014. I have force-fit Beats into my life for nearly two years. I have had some wonderful successes, but some awful stagnation (not in the economic sense). I have met so many wonderful people, but recognized in the end that this is not the place for me. My wanderlust and life long goal of traveling around the world has mentally caught up with me. Consuming me. I am done working. I’m ready for adventure. I don’t need to be held to a job just because it pays well.
So circling back to my Dangerous Minds analogy. I made a choice. To no longer be in the mindless state of turning up for work for a paycheck. I can make my own way. And while it may not be about money, “the struggle”, “hustling”, or anything else, it is about me, my dream and the collective dream of me and my partner. I chose to walk away from a six salary and stock options at what is now Apple and pursue a dream of my own. To Travel. To quite literally do what so many people talk about. To quit my job, sell all of my things, and travel around the world for a year.
This is my first post. This blog (or whatever) will be raw and uncut. A dichotomy of two very different writing styles and intellectual thoughts, as Deena and I ramble about travel, life, relationships, sports, philosophy and whatever else happens to flow from too many Pisco Sours. I hope that you can join our adventure and read along.
Music: Thrice – In Exile
-The name of this site was born from the lyrics of this song. Check it out.
Focus – Focus on what matters
Risk – Calculated. But take them when you can.
Passion – Whatever it is follow it. Everywhere.