Before I start my search for the great whatifers of the world I would like to look to my past and contemplate the people who have changed the world I live in. I figure now, while no one is reading my blog, I can get away with a trip down memory lane. Don’t worry, my next few blogs will be about people changing their world, here and now. I don’t promise to blog about anyone you might know. In fact I think that would be boring and a waste of your time. Often the people who stand out in the media as great people are often just more visible than people who are making just as big an impact. In fact often times the people who have personally touched your life have changed your world much more than the latest celebrity do good-er. But I digress…
I don’t remember much about Kindergarten through 5th grade but I do remember Mrs. Allison my 6th grade teacher.
She noticed a kid with a sharp mind; who got overlooked because he was either day dreaming or bouncing off the walls. She saw potential and with a few simple words she changed my world. She encouraged me to write and always said that she looked forward to reading my posts in the New York Times. I may have gone a different direction in life but I always remember her words that made me feel like I could write for the New York Times.
I hate to be cliche…actually I love to be cliché but my wife usually calls me out on it. So I will try not to do it too much, but the next person who taught me that I could change my world was my Mother. I remember the transition from middle school to high school. The high school I was supposed to go to had a bad reputation. We didn’t have metal detectors yet, but I have a feeling that my school was one of the first to implement them. Well most of the kids on my block were going to other schools. Their parents used the addresses of people in their family who lived in better parts of town or some such trick, in order to send them to other schools. I was the only one who’s mother refused to “lie” in order to send me somewhere else. She said “your school is what you make it.” I would have loved for her to try and follow that with “…not what it makes you.” But she was smarter than that. Of course at the time I did not believe her and probably didn’t speak to her for weeks, but as the story goes… I went, I loved it (not that I went every day or anything), and I didn’t get killed. I learned that she was right, you can shape the world you live in just with a change in attitude or perspective.
Lastly, not that this was the last person to shape my world but he helps to make my point, was a neighbor who I can’t even remember his name. I had begged and begged my parents to let me get a dirt bike. They had given in and on my second time out I got run over by the bike trailer, dislocated my hip and was dropped off in the middle of the Mohave desert at some fire station. But that’s not the good part. The good part was my friends took my bike out and cold seized the engine. OK that wasn’t the good part either but the good part was that my folks weren’t really gun ho to pay to fix the thing. Nope not so great either. The good part was that my neighbor (I’m sure my mother cussed him) knew a thing or two about dirt bikes and convinced me I could fix it myself. He gave me pointers and with a little money and lots of work I was able to fix it myself. He didn’t need to talk some hyper kid. He didn’t have kids my age. He was just cool that way. He convinced me that I could pretty much fix anything with enough time and a little know how.
So what do all these people have in common? They were able to change a boys world with very little effort. They did it with only words, as far as I could tell. What if you could be anything you wanted? What if you could define the world you live in? What if you could do anything you set your mind to? That is what I’m talking about. They changed how I viewed the world…they changed my world. The way they spoke to me convinced me that what they said was 100% true. I may not have accepted it outright but inside I felt it was true and eventually, I came to know that it was indeed true. What an awesome power. During my journey I’m hoping to figure out what this power of whatifing is and how it is attained and hopefully I will be able to share some small insight with anyone who cares to know.