Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The WHEN factor

A buddy of mine from high school contacted me the other day after we lost contact with each other a few years ago. Our chat went the same as it usually does once we do an extensive search and find the other's phone number. Who got married? Who got divorced? Who made it big? Who died? We also discuss our own personal goals, our dreams and our setbacks. (For the purpose of this blog, I'll call him Mark. 'Cause that's his name) After talking with Mark I was left with the same thoughts, the same disconcertment, the same question I am normally left with after catching up with my friend. Why does he waste all that GOD-given, talent doing not-a-darn-thing? NOT A DARN THING! Literally.

Mark has to be the most talented brotha I have ever met. His talents are extraordinary. Intrinsic. His pencil drawings demonstrate a strong sense of the human anatomy, screaming with the inner beauty of the human spirit. His paintings displayed such skill, raising the bar for my artistic endeavors as I tried to compete with him. And his strong belief and faith in GOD has always been an inspiration to me. Armed with all that, Mark should have taken this world by storm. But he hasn't. Not even a small breeze.

That was 25 years ago. And 5 years later; then 10 years later; then 3 years later; then just last week he's still talking about what he'd like to do. What he'll do someday. What he's gonna do. What he could do only IF. IF he had more training. IF he had more money. IF he had more time. IF he could get into a particular vocational school. IF he had a better computer. IF he were as well connected as I. So many IFs. Afraid of success? Afraid of risk, and therefore failure? I don't know. Don't want to know because that's not how I operate.

Mark dreams of building a statue, an African-American angel twice the size of the Statue of Liberty. To create an animated cartoon series much bigger than Disney's Mickey Mouse. To be the next George Lucas. To open an art school for inner city kids . And I believe that with GODs help and Marks talents he can achieve any of these things. With faith and talent, all things are possible. (although the statue of liberty thing is somewhat a stretch)

Each time we have our catch-up conversation, Mark always seems awed by my accomplishments and I get the sense that he thinks my opportunities just fell from the sky and I was lucky enough to look up just in time to grab it out of the hands of another unfortunate guy. But actually, I worked hard. I haven't done anything extraordinary. I use my talents (On loan from GOD, as Rush would say). I ask many questions, and pursue my dreams with what I'll call the WHEN factor. Not IF I can have a great paying, professional career with only an associates degree, but WHEN (and always have). Not IF I get a children's trade book deal, but WHEN. Not IF I can get a teen memoir published, but WHEN. Not tooting my own horn...well maybe alittle...but to make a point.

So, Mark, if you've found this post, and I hope you did, my only point is that you can do it, too. You already have what it takes within you to do whatever you can dream to do. With what you have. No extra training, although it wouldn't hurt. No better computer, although that wouldn't hurt, either. No extra time, well, that's a lie. Just stop saying what you'd like to do. Stop saying what you will do some day. And just do it. Today.

Guess that's why I have no buddies. Call a brotha to say hi, and get outed on the internet as a hopeless failure.

Unrelated thought for the day: Maybe I shouldn't complain. I mean, Blogger is free. But why can't it work on the first...second....Why can't it just work sometime?


ManNMotion said...

Maybe Mark just never took the first step. I had a friend that is one of the smartest I've ever met. He ALWAYS knew what someone else was thinking and going to do, better then they did themselves. I know people making big big money in sales of products they know nothing about that this man could do better than...but he never did, he spent his time enjoying his drink and never took the first steps toward his potential. Anyhow, this isn't a reflection on Mark, just what the post made me think of.

greggy said...

Hey Don, thanks for stopping past. I think every last one of us either know someone like Mark or who in fact are mark to a certain degree. Some people are born gifted and talented up the whammy , but lack the most critical ingredients necessary for and ambition. Nice post, made me reflect also...

The Archivist said...

IF versus WHEN... a very bad sticking point for a lot of people.

Also, I sympathise with you about Blogger.

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