Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Change the World? Why Not

I’ve relied on a number of mentors in my life. Starting with Lancaster Royal Grammar School teachers Doug Cameron and Peter Samson, the late great Jack Byrum who worked with Presidents Nixon and Reagan - and me - (and a few others), John Wareham who made me believe in myself creatively, Bob Seelert who stands shoulder to shoulder with me today, and Norman Ellis, the Greatest of them all – currently battling Alzheimers in a Nursing Home near Lancaster. Mentors can’t be programmed. They find each other. As this lad and I have done. Twenty minutes in I told Cameron I’d love to see him again next month. He stood up, stripped off his shirt and revealed the t-shirt pictured above. And then gave me the t-shirt I’m holding. Make a note of the name. Cameron Gallagher. You’ll be hearing more from him. Here’s his story of our meeting. KR.

Kevin asked me to write a post for his blog today. And that's a little bit difficult, because my brain is telling me to write something profound and superb, but I'm not a writer so I'll do what my fifth form English teacher said and KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)!

Six months ago I wrote to Kevin and asked if he would meet me. He said yes. Today, I walked into Kevin's office and told him that a friend and I wanted to change the world. I asked him if he would consider mentoring us. He said yes.

If that sounds simple, it's because really, it is. But it certainly wasn't easy. To describe it as a life altering moment for me would not do it justice. The landscape of my world has shifted so fundamentally in the last few hours that already yesterday seems like it does not exist.

Kevin is a hero of mine, who I first saw on Youtube a year ago, so the very idea of being mentored by him is beyond my wildest dreams.

But how does something like this even happen?

Well for one, this never would have happened if I had not chosen to put my balls on the line and give it a shot. 99 percent of me said it wasn't possible, along with pretty much everyone I told about it. The words out of their mouths when they said 'that sounds like a great idea', didn't match the look on their faces if you know what I mean. But one percent of me believed it was possible. One percent. That's all. One percent of me, said why not... And fortunately for me, in this case, I chose to listen to that one percent.

So today I'm really writing about listening to that one percent. You see, every day we make a million choices. And most of them get us nowhere fast. Why? Because most of the time we make the choice that 99 percent of us tells us to make, and that 99 percent is the loud voice of the status quo.

Now I'm not going to sit here and advocate the status quo in any way just because it might help some people sleep better at night. The fact is that the status quo right now is not working. It's broken. It robs people of their potential and keeps us living in fear. We complain about the problems of the world but we don't fix our own backyard. If you're not pursuing your dreams, it's unlikely that you will ever be very happy. And unhappy people cause problems, a lot of them.

So my question to you is, do you want to change the world?

If you don't think there's a roadmap, you're wrong. It starts, and ends, with you. And to start, you have to have the courage to leave the status quo behind. You must find the courage to pull the dreams out of the box at the back of the proverbial closet in your mind and look at them. Accept that you want them and stop listening to the 99 percent of you telling you that they are not possible.

If you want to know what the road looks like, here's an idea. In trying to pursue your dreams, you will fail. A lot. And it will hurt. A lot. But you will get back up. And that will feel good.

To say you will have the boundaries of what is courageous for you pushed will be an understatement. Sometimes you won't find the courage, and that too, will hurt. Sometimes, a lot.

But with each challenge, you will grow stronger. And you will learn, as I am learning, that the reward of living life in a world where everything remains forever possible is a reward far greater than any material prize could ever be.

So now I must live up to the seed I have sown, and the very idea of trying to do that terrifies me. The 99 percent is already telling me I'll fail and stuff it all up. However, in reality, that just means I have another opportunity to prove those voices wrong.

So, my question to you is this;

Are you ready to Change the World?

Because you are only one choice away.

- Cameron Gallagher