I don’t talk much about 9/11 because I think that so many people have a much more direct and real experience from that day. Once, sitting in a cafe at the airport in Bogota, Colombia, my friend DJ Edgerton told me his story from that day, and again, I knew that what I took away from that event was really such a tangential ripple from what others experienced.
After nine years, however, it’s amazing how many times I’ve explained how that day was a marker on my way to the life I live now. I wanted to share that with you, in the “for what it’s worth” category. This is all just my opinion.
No One Is Coming to Save Us
If there’s one emotion and resonating feeling I can muster from that day, it’s the realization that no one was coming to save us. Many people tried. Many heroic efforts happened. But the system, the larger structure of things that went on around all those heroic deeds, the system didn’t exist. The government had no solution. Business had no solution. On that day, and more so on the days after the 11th, I watched everything I thought was there to protect us turn out to be ineffectual.
An echo of this came later when the US government and local and state governments didn’t really know how to help during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. WalMart seemed to be the only people with the logistics ability to figure out how to dole out resources, an act they’ve repeated several times now during several disasters of lesser proportion.
But how did that affect me?
The Changes I Undertook as a Result
Once I realized that no one was coming to save me, I decided that I had to learn how to save myself. For the first several months after 9/11 (such an uncertain time where we all were speculating what was going to happen next), I took this quite literally, and learned a lot about survival. I stocked my car full of supplies and I planned out a few potential action plans for if (back then it was “when”) something bad happened. It took me 8 years to get that 40 pound backpack out of the back of my car. Now I have a much more reasonable amount of supplies.
After a while, I realized there were many things I didn’t know. I started reading voraciously in nonfiction. Before that point, I only read fiction. That changed on 9/11. I switched over to nonfiction. My passion for writing short stories dried up. I started learning about sustainable living and alternative building and all kinds of interesting things.
Eventually, when the apocalypse didn’t happen, I turned my curiosity on fitness, and then self-improvement, and then business, and then new media.
The Common Thread
I realized that escape velocity from the Matrix was paramount, and that I had to build a much better self-fueled version of my own success, because no one was coming to save me.
I quit thinking of my job as a career. I quit thinking that that “job” equaled “secure.” I quit thinking that someone was going to come along and promote me into some magical new future.
I just wanted to share that, because part of what you see when you see my drive, my passion, my interests, my relentless pursuit of some next level, all come out of that day when so many people lost so many things.
I gained something and I’m grateful.