By: Dodger, @ByMalcolm
In my last column, I talked about jumping. Jumping being a metaphor for the personal risk you have to take in order to be successful. After determining that jumping is subjective, I’ve realized there’s another step essential to shaping yourself for success: you have to stop.
I mean stop in the most literal sense. Stop everything you’re doing. Shut off. Log off. Go ghost. Be fake. Do whatever you have to do. Just stop.
For the majority of my life, I thought I knew what I wanted. I mean I knew I wanted to be successful, that’s good enough right? This gave me a life full of creating. My ambition to be successful is what led me to naming myself Dodger. From the outside looking in, I probably looked like I was on my way to a life of glory. And I might have been. But I wasn’t happy. A man who doesn’t know himself can never be happy; he can only be content.
From blogging to event planning to hosting a radio show to owning a company, I’ve been all over the place. Before, I would tell you that I was trying to figure it out and I was going to be a force in everything. In hindsight, I was lashing out. Being a creative gets us loss in the sauce. A jack of all trades is a master of none.
After graduation, I really had to ask myself what I wanted to do. Answering, “What’s the plan after college?” with an unsure answer was embarrassing — to say the least. I reached the point where I had to look myself in the soul and ask myself who I am and what do I believe. Then, I had to ask myself, “Why?” And that’s the question that will make you stop.
Do you know who you really are? Do you know what you believe in and why you believe in it? Are your values yours or your parents? Or taken from a collection of hip-hop songs? Do you make all your actions consciously? Are you fighting for something or standing for anything? What are your goals? What’s your purpose?
When I asked myself these questions, I went through a semi-identity crisis. I didn’t have the answers but I was determined to figure them out. I’ve taken the whole year off just to get my mind right. And it seems to me that when I did make my jump and move to California, I thought my search was over.
To me, the act of jumping was going to be the start of a new life. Everything would start working in my favor because I took the big risk. But after jumping, I kept stumbling. What I expected wasn’t what I received. Then I realized taking the big risk meant that I had to change too. And I remembered something else I noticed about all successful people — they all learned how to stop.
Stopping can happen in a variety of ways, but the best way for me is meditation. And I was one of those people who thought forcing myself to sit still for five minutes was silly. I figured it was too simple of an action to matter but then I realized people weren’t talking about it for no reason. With every book I read about success, there is some mention of meditation. Taking the time to sit and be still can significantly improve your mental capacity.
Stopping allows you to listen. We all have a voice inside of us that only we can hear. When we stop, we can hear that voice a little more clearly. And as we build the habit, that voice gets clearer and clearer. You get to know yourself. You get to filter through your thoughts without bias or distractions. You get to connect the dots.
Meditation isn’t for everybody but we can all take more time to ourselves. We rarely give ourselves time with no distractions. We never just sit still and sit in silence. Next time you get five minutes, try it for yourself.