A Wild Quest To Uncover Success And Find Your Why
When I set sail to find my why, I had no idea where I was going or how to start this journey. I ventured into a world that school did not prepare me for. I was navigating foreign waters without a sense of direction. That's what finding your why provides you, a compass to point you in the right direction.
I have a pair of loving parents who instilled a sense of curiosity that rivals Curious George. At times, their willingness to let me carve my own path would have been stress-inducing to say the least. Having your kid say he was done with school in Grade 11 would send most parents into a code red.
Oddly enough, it was less scary than you'd expect (for me). That decision held power in the eyes of a seventeen-year-old. I had made the choice on my own. I was sick of ticking off boxes and being told what to do. I was curious what else was out there. I felt in control of my tiny world. I worked long hours in the only kind of jobs available to a kid who was still impressed by the fact he was sprouting chest hair. But it was my choice.
It's impossible for certainty and curiosity to exist in the same moment. To discover new things, you have to let go of the known and be open to every possibility.
The story of a young man named Alex Banayan is one such triumph that comes from a fearless curiosity to explore possibility. He set out on a wild quest to uncover how the world's most successful people launched their careers.
My parents provided encouragement and gave me the freedom to explore. Whereas Alex was born “with MD stamped on my forehead,” he jokingly said in the opening of his book. He grew up with immigrant parents who gave up their entire worlds to see Alex live the life they never got to.
To them this meant becoming a doctor. Alex felt a vice grip pressure to follow their wishes, going as far as enrolling in pre-med to appease them. But the writing was on the wall; this wasn't the career Alex felt destined for. It wasn't his why.
In an incredible journey to find his why, he stumbled upon his purpose as so many of us do, by asking questions. Alex searched high and low for books that answered how did successful people get their start? No such book existed, so he figured why not be the person to write it?
Alex saw his empty pockets as a temporary setback to securing money to fund his mission.
In a desperate attempt to jumpstart the journey, Alex was willing to try anything. He found out the Price Is Right was filmed mere minutes from his house. He made plans to attend a taping the next day.
Alex put Google to work and looked for the secret sauce that would get him on stage, and a chance to win some moolah.
He quickly discovered that the show loves big personalities. The quirkier the better. He put together an outfit that looked like a casting call for a cheese-ball eighties ski patrol movie. Alex played the part and jumped to his feet as the baritone voice of George Gray bellowed "come on dowwwwwnnn!"
This fresh-faced eighteen-year-old had never even watched an episode. He brilliantly picked the brains of everyone in line, including an avid fan of 40 years. She gave him the secret sauce – underbid, always underbid.
Alex did exactly what someone who has been doing something for 40 years would know, how to play the game. He underbid and found himself flying to the second round for a chance to win the showcase showdown. He beat the fellow contestant by a difference of $145 dollars. That meant he walked away with a sailboat. He promptly sold it and had enough cash to start his journey.
It sounds like a farfetched plot, but I believe this is what happens when you find your why. You're willing to try anything because you believe in it as much as you need your next breath.
Alex knew his parents would be mortified at his decision to leave pre-med, but he left anyways. Despite everything that could go wrong. Finding his why had given him the courage to pursue his own dreams.
That's not to say your journey or his would play out like a kids soccer game, where everyone gets a trophy. It takes working your ass to the bone. Alex went as far as saying, "If I'd known then how my journey would unfold – how beaten and broken I'd soon find myself – I may never have started. But that's the upside of being naive."
Fear was there every step of the way, but his mission was bigger than himself. He was driven to make his why happen. What he thought would be a summer project ended in seven years of tireless dedication to getting his book The Third Door out the door (no pun intended).
Alex had remarkable interviews with Bill Gates, Maya Angelou, Steve Wozniak, Jane Goodall, Pitbull, Jessica Alba, Tim Ferriss, Quincy Jones and many more.
When you find your why, it's like throwing a match to jet fuel. It'll burn so damn bright that you'll never lose sight. Even on days where you take a beating, you don't give up because you're in it for the long game. You're not here for the trophy. You're here on your own wild quest. What are you out to discover? What are the obstacles getting in your way? Whatever it is, I'm here to tell you it's possible.