I know you’ve probably had the experience of being in a mall, or some cities have them downtown, where they provide you a map and they have a star on the map to show you where you are. Having just come from Indianapolis they had those maps downtown. They’re very helpful because from this map I can see where I am and see where I’m trying to get to. From there it is a relatively simple process of figuring out what streets I need to take and what direction to turn in order to get to where I want to go. The same principle works in malls where they will break up every store into categories, so you aren’t directed to a Foot Locker when you’re looking for Zales Jeweler’s. Some of you have GPS devices in your car, or maybe it’s an app in your smartphone. It will track where you are (anywhere on the globe) and locate your destination and provide you directions on how to get there.
There are two key points to using any of these devices:
1. Where are you now?
2. Where do you want to go?
Everything in the middle is simply logistics. If you’ve ever solved a maze puzzle, you can figure out how to get from point A to point B. Ultimately the most challenging part of successfully completing this maze we call life is to clearly and fully identify point A (where you are) and clearly and fully identify point B (where you want to go)?
Interestingly enough, since Robin Leech’s show Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, we have built a culture around admiring the successful, the powerful, the popular and the rich. We know more about the ultra-rich now than any previous generation has ever known about their rich. It’s easy to look at any of the rich and famous and say “I want that!” Because we think we know what “that” is. We know what kind of yacht they sail, what kind of planes they fly, what kind of cars they drive, and what kind of mansions they live in. We know who they’ve dated, who they’ve married, and who they’ve been rumored to have an affair with. We know the outer trappings of their life. Still, how much do we know about the inner workings of their life? How well have we looked at the inner trappings?
How many of you would have wanted to be Kurt Cobain? Who wants to be Phillip Seymour Hoffman? How about Freddy Prinze? Billie Holliday? Elvis Presley? Chris Farley? Whitney Houston? Heath Ledger? All of them were at the top of the entertainment world, as popular as you can get, and all of them battled depression with drugs and ultimately lost their battle.
How many of you would want to be Mike Tyson? Bjorn Borg? Lawrence Taylor? Lenny Dykstra? Marion Jones? Scottie Pippin? Curt Shilling? Terrell Owens? Pete Rose? Darren McCarty? All of them were at the top of the sports world, making ridiculous amounts of money and all of them went broke after their careers were over. In some cases they made half attempts at a comeback, well after their prime years, just because they needed the money.
Who wouldn’t want to be Jordan Belfort? Allen Stanford? Bernie Madoff? Dick Fuld? Kenneth Lay? Charles Keating? Joe Berardino? These men were all titans in business and industry until their shady dealings and bad business decisions pulled them down both in the public and in many cases, in prison.
If you’re going to model someone, make sure you know what their life is really about and what they really deal with. Likewise, if you are going to aim for a goal (whatever that goal is) you have to really know where you are starting from and who you are now. There are an infinite number of paths in life, but if you don’t know where you are and don’t know where you want to go, how can you possibly expect to get there?
In case you’re wondering how to get to your destination, take a tip from your GPS. It may be time for some recalculating.