Leave only footprints

Recognizing The Signs of Your Personal Legend

Your personal legend. Your true calling. Your ultimate passion.  It doesn’t matter what you call it, it will find you and make itself known. Whether it’s a subtle nudge in the right direction or a giant slap in the face, if you know what to look for you will discover what your are destined to do. It may not be clear at first, but it you take that seed of hope and nurture it; it will blossom into a beautiful flower of happiness and content.

People don’t have one calling their entire lives. You’ll have many different paths to take that will lead to happiness. As you grow and change your tastes differ, what you enjoy differs and who you are differs.  So if you are ignorant to the signs of one path, hopefully you will pick up on the directions for the next one. Life isn’t about one straight line; it’s about taking chances, finding a trail that branches off your current path and taking advantage of the lessons learned while exploring new directions. Whether positive or negative, if it is your personal legend you will benefit. Society tells us that we are set up to fail, we need to follow certain rules, act a certain way and be a certain person. But we are not like that. Humanity needs diversity. Without it we would live in a boring world. We need different to be happy. A bad experience is simply a guide to how to try it next time. It’s like the old adage says, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

One of my missed paths was the Alto Saxophone. In high school I was an above average sax player. I could bend my notes a whole step down, play an improvised jazz solo using only three notes (and it sounded amazing) and I could be as technically correct as the next person. I could do all of this without practicing. The only practice I had was during the school day at band practice. I never practiced at home. My senior year, when preparing for Solo-Fest, all I did was read the music. I didn’t play it, only read it. I thought to myself, ‘Well, the beginning is pretty easy, the end is alright…man, this section here is going to be trouble. Yup, that’s a tough part right there…’ but I didn’t practice. I decided to just “wing-it”. And wing-it I did. It was one of the hardest solo pieces performed at this competition and out of 100 I earned a surprising 93. I did better than most people without even playing the piece before that day. No, for those of you who don’t know about solo-fests, you go into a room with a judge and you perform scales, the piece you (hopefully) prepared for, and a sight-reading section. My piece was a 7-8 minute song and there wasn’t enough time to play the whole thing. I started playing, nailed the beginning and when I got to the first hard section the judge told me to stop and start towards the end of the piece. JACKPOT! I nailed it. Did great and had a great day.

That is one missed opportunity I wish I could have back. If I wasn’t a dumbass, I would have realized that this was a sign. I had so much talent and caught so many breaks. The universe was telling me, THIS! THIS IS IT! THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO BE DOING TO BE HAPPY! But I didn’t do it. Since graduating in 2004 I have barely touched the thing. I do pick it up every now and then, but it’s nothing like it used to be.

You need to take advantage of those signs. You need to be active in understanding how the universe works. The universe wants you to be happy, it wants to push you in the right direction. Have you heard of Beginners Luck? That’s the universe saying, “Hey! You’ve found something that you will enjoy! Congratulations, here is a few wins to get you started.” I had a friend who had never thrown a Frisbee before in his life, then he plays Kan Jam for the first time and gets the instant win slot. If that’s not beginners luck, I don’t know what is. My major slap in the face was that solo-fest. I should have taken my saxophone talent more seriously and perused it with fervor.  My life could have been so much different. I could be a famous musician or a movie composer rivaled only John Williams (google him). But I didn’t do it. I ignored the universe and now I’m here, living this life, in this present day and that’s alright with me.

Long days and pleasant nights,

Shoeless Joe

Subscribe to get email notifications when I post a new article. Keep an eye out for my next post about missed opportunities and how your life will could be different if you had taken a different path.

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