I was loading up up my 1989 red Ford Escort to visit my sister on the East Coast. My dad and I got into an argument, as he didn’t want me to take the road trip. He wasn’t a hater, he was just a kind but small-minded man who lived in the prison of his own mind.
You see, I grew up dirt poor in a small hick town. To this day I have a horrible sense of direction and get lost on the freeways.
We never had a family vacation. We couldn’t travel more than an hour away from home, because old clunkers sometimes don’t even start up and they always cause you problems on road trips. I watched my dad suffer second degree burns after the car overheated on a highway less than 30 minutes away from home.
Maybe I was delusional. Or maybe all of that self-help crap that people mock made me fearless. Either way, I popped Dale Carnegie’s “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” into my CD player and set off.
Then my life changed.
After arriving at my sister’s house, we went to stay at her father-in-law’s ocean property. I had never seen the ocean or even stayed in a nice home. The home I grew up in was furnished with couches that better off people were throwing away and there were holes in the carpet. I was always ashamed to bring friends over and of course having a girl over was out of the question.
I can still remember hearing the ocean waves crash against the beach. I can still smell the salt water. That’s when I told my sister, “I want to be rich.”
I knew what I wanted and nothing was going to stop me.
Looking back, it all seems sort of childish – silly even. The apartment was a time share that probably only cost a few grand each year in upkeep fees.
Today I can see the ocean whenever I want. I can drop the top in a fun car and cruise up Pacific Coast Highway in a car that I own, not lease.
But it all started in that moment out East, when I heard the waves crashing and smelled the salt water and saw a sea turtle laying eggs at night.
Young men often ask me how they can find their life purpose or motivation. They don’t like my answer, but it’s the only one I’m capable of giving:
If you feel unfilled, stop doing whatever it is you’re doing. Try something else. Walk the streets until you’re exhausted. Repeat this every day.
When you see what you want, your life will change.