As a child you have probably had a favorite hero that you idolized and looked up to. It might have been a famous singer, an adventurous traveler, a courageous army general or a brilliant scientist. One can't help but wonder what can these different role models possibly have in common? Some might say it's their exceptional qualities and abilities - talent, intelligence, beauty - that make them who they are. Perhaps. And yet, every day all around us we see people who are interesting, smart and good-looking who live in obscurity while those of doubtable merit rise to the top. The key is not in their personal qualities but in the way the "chosen ones" choose to look at life.
From the moment we come to this world we're presented with a set of rules to follow. Don't suck your thumb! Don't eat all that candy! Don't talk to your teacher in such tone! The list grows with each passing year. Have you ever wondered where all of these rules are coming from? Who was it that decided that you should live your life a certain way?
The truth is that most of our behavioral traditions were formed by the society in an attempt to unify us, to make us more or less the same. Just think about it, what would be easier to manage, a meek herd of clones or a roaring horde of self-sufficient individuals? The set of rules and traditions that you're so used to following was developed to make YOU a better fit with the interests of the group.
"Wait a minute, - you say with indignation, - "I don't want to just serve others! What about my own interests?" Sadly, the society as a whole, couldn't give a hoot about your personal interests and goals. Neither does it care about the aspirations of any other individual. Figuratively speaking, it is a giant machine that is only concerned with its own operation. Within this system a person is nothing more then a tiny, easily replaceable bolt.
But what about people who "made something out of themselves"? Those who have wealth and power, are they unimportant little bolts too? Or maybe they represent something else within the machine, the engine, perhaps? The secret of the "crème de la crème" is that they are not in the system at all.
I would like you to ask yourself, what is it that makes YOUR hero so special? Perhaps it's George Washington who fought and won the battle for the United States independence, despite the fact that his army was much smaller then the British. Or perhaps you admire Walt Disney for creating the beautiful "Snowwhite" animation film, investing every penny of his private capitol, although everyone he knew advised him against it. Or perhaps it's Russia's Peter The Great, one of the most celebrated European rulers, responsible for some of the most fundamental changes in Russian history. The list of the "greats" can go on and on and, as different as they can be, these shining stars all have one thing in common. They were not afraid of breaking the rules.
Think back to when you were a child. What was it that you wanted to do the most? What did you love with all your heart? Did you stay on the path towards your dream or did you get sidetracked somewhere along the way? Perhaps you thought that by making yourself more "like everyone else" you would be better accepted and move up the ladder faster? Did that happen? If not, perhaps it's time to take a new approach to reaching your goals.
I have discussed this with an American man named Brad Smith who I met on Myspace. Brad's main passion in life is travel which is why his family advised him to work for an airline company. Years had gone by and Brad found himself working long hours on the ramp instead of exploring the world. With his modest salary and scarce free time, he wasn't able to switch professions. His friends and family were telling him to be glad that he had a steady job and yet, somehow he didn't feel like celebrating what was more of an "existence then a life", as he put it himself.
Having spent many years at his unfulfilling airline job, Brad turned to the Internet in search of a solution. After months of research, he discovered an online opportunity called the Abundant Living System, which is a club based on the right of any person to give gifts of money to other people, free of tax. A person must give a gift of money (that ranges from $150 to $5000) to their inviter; afterwards they're given a free web-site and marketing tools to attract others that would, in turn, give gifts to them. "I knew that to my family this would sound really hokey," - said Brad. - "So I joined the program in secret from everyone. I analyzed everything and I knew that it was an amazing opportunity even though it was untraditional."
The opportunity did work for Brad, and now, he is recruiting many others through his web-site http://www.togiveandtoreceive.com"These days I take a vacation every 3-4 months, instead of every 3-4 years," - he shares. - "It was hard to take the first step because it wasn't something I was used to, but I'm glad I took the chance. I was the best decision I have ever made."
There are many others, who were introduced to The Abundant Living System by Brad, who are enjoying the same benefits. Jessica Carter, a nurse from Washington is saying: "Three months ago, if someone told me how much money I would be receiving though ALS, I'd think they were joking. In a few short weeks I received enough money to buy a nice car! It's mind-bogging that something like this exists, but only a few people know about it!"
Nowadays we hear many "Internet success stories", ranging from the inventors of Myspace and Facebook to people like Brad or Jessica, who, perhaps, didn't make it to NBC news, but were able to gain financial independence and focus on their personal goals. And to think that ten years ago many people considered the Internet a fluke!
Change can be scary. It feels like taking a dive off of a sky-high cliff, hoping to learn how to fly before you hit the rock bottom. But the truth is change is necessary if you dream big. Don't let yourself be stymied by the gooey cement of traditions. No one has the right to tell you how to live your life - after all, putting aside the claims of some religions, this is the only life you remember, thus the only one you have! Use it well! Maybe, if you give yourself the luxury to be yourself and follow your own heart, in the future there will be children looking up to you and calling you their hero.