Striving for anything beyond the realm of the ordinary will put you in a gray area where some people are inspired by you, and others will do whatever they can to keep you down.
When encountering the former, it would be best to encourage them to follow their own dreams with hard work and integrity. When encountering the latter, it's best to ignore them.
Negative people will set you back in your career and in your life.
Nobody knows that better than rock star Bono, (search) of U2. One of the most remarkable episodes of any recent late-night talk show happened last week when U2 "hijacked" — to quote Bono — "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."
Never mind that Conan is the best show in his time slot, the performances by U2 were some of the best live television will ever offer. And then, Bono spoke about aid to Africa and forgiveness of debt in third world nations.
Before you Grrr! the cause, Bono has been outspoken about aid to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita here in America, as well.
"It will define us," he said of the movement he is leading to help poor countries reverse the course they've been on for too many years to count. "They will look back in 50 years and say 'What did they do?' apart from the Internet and the War on Terror, which are all very noble things."
Bono spoke about America as an idea, "and I love that idea," he said. He also fully expects to be Grrrd by the likes of me and others on the grounds that he is a rich, Irish rock star going around reading the Declaration of Independence to Americans.
He couldn't be more wrong about that.
The way Bono has gone about his activism is both admirable and inspirational. He's done it with respect for others' points of views, and with a reasonable voice that forces people to listen.
"You don't have to agree on everything to get on with somebody," he said of his relationship with President Bush. "You just have to agree on one thing."
According to the Grrr! Lexicon, a "Stupid Lit'l Dreamer" is someone who strives to better his life, his career and the lives of those around him. She is someone who believes she can make a difference. They are people who can ask the most basic and most important question of society or their bosses or the man or woman of their dreams. That question is: "Why not me?"
When you believe in yourself, anything is possible.
In my last column, I covered sportscaster Spencer Tillman's new book, "Scoring In The Red Zone." While I thought the book was a bit complicated with its many idea and ideals, Tillman's message is simple. It's about taking responsibility for your own destiny, and following the will of God.
It's about taking the ball and running with it.
No matter what your faith, one cannot deny the negative energy that we encounter day in and day out when we strive to better our lives. That energy will bring you down even in the happiest times of your life. Indeed, especially during those happy times. Nothing worth doing comes easy.
But what gives you the strength to face that energy and win?
It could be the pride you put in your career. It could be the proud home you've made with your spouse. It could be your faith, or it could be the look on your little girl's face as she runs to greet Daddy or Mommy when you walk through the door at the end of the day.
It could be all of the above.
For Bono, it is his work to help bring some relief to the poorest people of the world. It's in the music of U2. On "Late Nite," U2 played the song "Stuck in a Moment That You Can't Get Out Of."
It opens with these lyrics:
"I'm not afraid, Of anything in this world,
There's nothing you can throw at me
That I haven't already heard...
You gotta stand up straight,
Carry your own weight,
These tears are going nowhere, baby."
Whatever it is that gives you the strength to wipe away your tears, hold on to it for dear life and nurture it with all of your heart. Because at the end of the day, your money, your job, your career and all of those Oblivions who tried to keep you down won't be following you into the afterlife.
The love you've left behind will be the energy that propels you to your next journey.
But We Will Always Have Oblivions
Oblivions are people who are so oblivious to their surroundings, they commit daily acts of rude behavior without ever even conceiving of their own repugnancy. They simply don't know any better.
For example, coming back East from a trip to Los Angeles this past the weekend, I was treated to a father, a son and a daughter who boarded the rental car shuttle for the Midwest Air terminal.
While the kids slung their bags over their shoulders and nearly broke the nose of the person behind them — without acknowledging the gaffe, mind you — the father was busy balancing a sausage McMuffin and a cup of coffee in one hand and his cell phone in the other, all the while carrying on a conversation that was apparently hilarious, because he laughed heartily and loudly the whole ride.
When we came to the Midwest terminal, the family never got up, despite two announcements from the driver. Finally, after the driver walked up to them to ask them if they were getting off, they all sprang up from their seats, awakened out of their Oblivion trance.
The son stepped on the toes of an elderly woman who yelped in pain. He never apologized.
The daughter said "Duh," so at least she acknowledged her brother's Oblivionism, but the father — now he was a study in Oblivionism — never got off the phone as the kids got their own bags and wreaked their own havoc. He continued to wolf down his breakfast while — get this — the driver unloaded his bags for him. Dad never said thank you.
Needless to say, when the doors closed and we proceeded on our route to the next terminal, the entire shuttle bus released a huge sigh of relief.
That my friends, is a true Oblivion encounter.