I Dare You

Today, the district manager visited the office supply store I’m working at.

After years in retail, I understand the stressful nature of such days. At this stage in my life–and level of employment–I have little in the way of trepidation when a supervisor comes through the door. The chances are slim I’ll be intimidated by the prospect the orders from corporate office–which most boots-on-the-ground workers see as out of touch from a daily perspective, anyway–are being carried out according to the standards of someone taking a six- or eight-hour snapshot of several months’ work.

This post is a stepping stone instead of a career move.

Throughout the day, I spent countless time attempting to look busy. I wondered to myself, as I dusted things and moved items around, how much of our lives we spend bustling about appearing to be living when in actuality we are not.  Whether fooling ourselves or others, is it possible to calculate the hours wasted doing something we “should” when we might be better suited to something else?

Late in the day, while sliding new pricing tags into the shelves under items, I began talking with one of my co-workers.

With a semi-defeated tone, he told me he would be a sophomore in college if he was “on track,” because he was only able to attend college full-time for one year and had been away from it for about nine months. We talked more, I shared some of my experiences and mentioned–in my best “wise older guy” tone–that he would be smart to take his time.  Instead of chasing money or following in someone’s footsteps, he should do his own thing.

He discussed his interest in becoming a DJ and almost immediately brushed it aside as something other than a “real job.”

I told him of some I’ve met in their fifties that still enjoy hitting up weddings every Saturday night and encouraged him to at least give it a try “because you never know.” He could be someone that shapes music for the next hundred years or leave that behind simply unaware that

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

When faced with possibility, some will say they are too young and others that they are too old. One may point to a lack of skill or confidence, another to a history of fear or failure.


You still have a chance while you’re alive and will breathe easier knowing you’ve tried.

Go ahead.  I dare you.


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