Hopefully you’re asking yourself this question. And, hopefully you’re asking yourself this question frequently, not just when making your New Year’s resolutions and goals, typing out your “bucket list,” or when you’ve had a really, really bad day and in that solitary moment want your circumstances to change. Because they won’t, unless you’re asking yourself this question often and also asking yourself what you’re going to do and what comfort you’re willing to risk to get there.
I heard actor Adrian Grenier interviewed this week, and naturally one of the questions posed to him was how he got to where he was, and if he had one piece of advice to give to aspiring actors and film makers, what would it be? What he said really moved me: “decide what you want and pursue it with arrogant relentlessness.” Arrogant relentlessness. Wow. Sit on those words for a moment before moving on too quickly.
If you’re like me, you really want the process to be easier and faster than that. I watched the retired couple in Illinois receive their $218 Million check on TV this week along with many of you, envying their good fortune and wishing I could somehow insert myself into their place– or into the place of an heiress or a duchess, any of them would work. Of course I say things like, “well, I’m glad to have been born into a middle-class family because I have a true appreciation for what I have.” Which, I will say, is true. I am abundantly grateful for what I have and the work ethic I was taught. But blah, blah, blah. If I could have been born into high privilege for not only the money, but the insider access to opportunities that most of us have to work harder to get, I would would take it in a heartbeat.
But, I wasn’t. I have all of these massive dreams, but I still have to work a day-job and make money to live, like all (or most) of you. Sometimes I feel stuck in life by not knowing what the path is to get where I’m wanting to go– or, by feeling paralyzed and overwhelmed from the amount of work, focused determination and heart that it’s going to take to get there. In those moments, it feels easier to not start, but that’s no good, because I know I’m on this earth for more than that. It is a dilemma. Can’t someone just see my potential and pay me to travel around the world as a t.v. travel host? I’ll do anything, really!! Eat haggis in Scotland- yes! Munch on bugs on a stick in the markets of China? Absolutely! Stay in hostels? No problem- send me! I have to remind myself, “Ashley baby, it doesn’t work like that.”
So this is where the arrogant relentlessness comes in. Dreams must be pursued with the mindset that they are ours to pursue. Why else would they exist if not to be realized? The dream in your heart was created for you to fulfill. It wasn’t just placed there as a wish or a tease from the universe. We must be haughty in our belief that what we believe we were created to do is attainable for us. None of this shying away, ‘if it’s God’s will’ belief with no action kind of to make it happen. God is not going to magically will something to happen that we’re not working to put legs to. That’s my personal belief- if you disagree, that’s perfectly fine, you can write about it on your own blog.
Relentlessness. I absolutely love this word. There is so much power in it. To be relentless is to be unbending, unyielding. Unyielding in the pursuit of your dream. Unbending in your vision and the fulfillment of what you know your deeper purposes in life are. So, to be arrogantly relentless is for the song in your heart to play so loudly in your being that you know in your deepest parts that whatever this song is, it is possible for you. And once you know that, to have a gaze so fixed on it that you will do whatever it takes to see that dream realized.
I know the songs in my heart. They are to travel and experience as much as this world has to offer, and to write about those experiences. That gets me going more than wanting to get married or have kids, more than wanting a job promotion or to be a CEO, more than any desire to be famous. I don’t know how the chess pieces of my life are going to play out yet, but I do know that I’ll get there. And I’m going to be more mindful on a daily basis to pursue those songs with arrogant relentlessness. I hope you’re inspired to do the same.