Birds Fly & Fish Swim: You Are Just in the Wrong Environment

There have been moments in my life when I just felt completely dumb because I was not able to comprehend or grasp a new concept in certain areas at all. In school, there were certain subjects that I just thrived in. I did very well in English. I was not a big fan of doing book reports on books and stories that I had absolutely no interest in. But, I did enjoy free writing about topics that I actually liked. Even in college, I enjoyed my English classes. When it came to math, that’s where my challenges arose. I’m actually pretty good with numbers and have no problem applying math to the real world. When the problems involved figuring out complex equations that contained more letters than numbers, the struggle was real. I get it, the overall concept is to get you to think. But when it came to trying to figure out when the train that left the railroad station in California at 9:00am was going to meet the train that left New York at 11:00 pm, I was lost. In my mind, because I was not as successful in math as I was in other areas in the classroom, I subconsciously limited my potential. I thought success in school meant being good at every subject, especially math since it was really being pushed. I was a bird who was meant to fly, but instead believed that I had to swim like the fish. That’s where the problem starts. 

So many of us are going through this life existing in an environment that we were not meant to be in. The advice we are given is to go to school, get a degree, and get a good job. What ends up happening is that you get a lot of miserable people walking around absolutely dreading going in to work. If you don’t believe me, ask your coworkers what is it that they would actually prefer to be doing with their life. You may do well on your job and even get a few promotions. But deep down inside there is a voice whispering saying, “there is more to life than this.” You are a bird who was meant to fly. You realized that the water is not for you, so you’ve started walking on land. You can do that and do it pretty well. But the problem is that this is not what you were meant to do. The question now becomes why isn’t the bird flying? The answer to that question is easy, exposure.

What have you been exposed to? I never knew that my passion for writing could turn into anything more than a hobby. There are a lot of you just like me who are extremely talented but only believe that your talent is nothing but a hobby. In high school and college, I never really knew what I was good at. I liked to write and journalize things, but I thought nothing of it. I never met any writers who turned their passion into a career. Being a columnist for a newspaper did not interest me at all considering the internet had taken over. It didn’t even cross my mind to pursue a career that involved writing because like I said before, I had not been exposed to it. So, I started working at a local credit union. It was a good job with a lot of opportunities to get promoted. I went from a credit union to a bank (more money of course). Again, it was a good job. But it wasn’t for me. I tried my hand at metal fabrication and construction, and those were not for me either. Even now working at a health food store ( I LOVE to workout so it fits that part of me), I’m still just a bird on land. In my late 20’s and early 30’s, things slowly begin to happen. Those subconscious limits I put on my brain began to loosen up. I began to be exposed to things that I’d never seen before. My wife would perform in local stage plays and there was one particular element that caught my attention, the writers. I sat back and just saw how they turned a passion into something that was profitable. Writing plays is not for me, but now my brain was open to ideas and things that it never was before. When I picked up my pen and started to write again, it’s like I could feel my wings flapping. It was a great feeling, but it was scary because it was something I was not accustomed to. Unfortunately, this level of exposure alone was not enough for me. It took me another 3-4 years of learning life lessons and actually seeing what success looked like for me to go down this path once more. Now when I write, I’m no longer just flapping my wings, I’m flying. I can honestly say that I am in the right environment when I write. Now I can go to another level. 

What if I were exposed to all of these things in my teenage years? How would my life be different? If I knew back then what I know now, there is no question that the world would know who I am. I was fortunate enough to be able to be exposed to new things and see the environment that I was meant to be in. Unfortunately, this will not happen for everyone and it breaks my heart. There will be fish trying to walk on land instead of swimming in the ocean. There will be other birds like me who always stay on the ground. Animals that were meant to climb trees will never get the opportunity because they have been told that they are only allowed to swim. Your hobby, the thing that you’re actually really good at and love doing can turn into something if you get into the right environment. Get around others who enjoy doing what you do. Look up successful people who also do what you love to do and see what path you could possibly take. Get in the right environment and get a glimpse of what your life could be. And if you like it, stay there.

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