On my last day in Santorini and on the plane to London the next morning, I couldn’t tear myself away from “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell (a book that Pat LaFontaine suggested I read to understand the importance of hockey and poker).
After finishing the book (a very quick read), I have to say…I don’t entirely agree with Mr. Gladwell’s thoughts on what it means to be an outlier, because I am considered an outlier as well.
If you want to know my history…first, I have to rant a little…I can’t stand people that like to talk about how their ancestors were slaves.
So what? My mother was sold into slavery at the age of 8 by her own family so that they could have enough money to buy food for 3 months. My mother was abused for years during her servitude before she ran away at the age of 16. By 21, she married the first American soldier that took an interest in her so that she could get the hell out of her country.
So trust me…I turn a deaf ear to those who want to talk about how their great- great- great- grandparents were slaves and they have a right to be mad at white people, slave owners, etc.
I’m Scottish royalty descended from King Robert the Bruce…guess what? That doesn’t matter anymore because what is dead is dead. I don’t hate the British because they took over my family’s lands and homes. I don’t hate the British because they put our family in fear that had them fleeing the country for America.
I like the British. The British of today weren’t the ones who persecuted my family way back when. I don’t hold a grudge. In a way, I’m thankful that I’m not in line to any throne anytime soon. I wouldn’t have enjoyed that life at all.
The history of my mother’s slavery is what makes my story more unique. There are very few people in America that can talk about slavery and how their very own mother was a slave. That kind of slave story is alive in the history of my life because of what my mother went through to save me and future generations from becoming slaves.
Slavery still exists in this world today. If you want to talk about slavery…start talking about fighting slavery in the world today. My cousins are constantly being thrust into the position of trying to make it in a third world country and escaping slavery or human trafficking scenarios. Slavery still exists today for my family.
The reason why I go off on this rant is because Gladwell talks about slavery at the end of his book and how his great whatevers were slaves and he descended from slaves. I descended from a king, whose great whatever grandson married a slave. So friggin what? The important part is what my mother did so that her children would not become a slave like her and what we still continue to do to save our own family in Thailand from being sold into slavery.
My mother married a man she barely even knew so that she could go to a land where children could not be born into slavery. That land was America. In that dream of America, she had hopes that her children would someday be great and tell her story.
It was my mother that suggested I become a hockey writer a long time ago. My mother and I are estranged now and she has no idea that I do tell her story…and I’m a hockey writer…and I fight to eradicate slavery in the world.
But I don’t base the history of how I came into being from a birthdate or circumstances like Gladwell suggests in his book. I base the history of my success on a blessing from my grandfather when he died. My life began when his ended.
The problem with Gladwell’s book is that he leaves out God, synchronicity within the universe and the paths in life that people are destined for. Destiny is not predetermined in a birthdate or lucky opportunities.
If you could see my world, you would see that it is more than just a bit magical. You can’t help but see it in everything I touch, say and do.
My world is a bit charmed.
I don’t base this charmed life with unique and incredible opportunities on a birthdate or privileged circumstances. I base this path on fate and destiny.
Last season, in the Devils locker room, I couldn’t help but feel the bit of magic in that room. Everyone could feel it. It almost felt like I was rubbing off on these guys. I could even pinpoint the exact moment when the magic balloon bursted and the subsequent look on Patrik Elias’ face. When that moment of luck ended, it was really over and everyone in that room could feel it.
Belief became hope. When a belief becomes a hope, you’re doomed for failure.
I meditate a lot because I need to understand things fully. There are things hidden in the universe that need to be revealed. It is through meditation that I’m able to connect with God and see everything that lies around me…I’m searching for the truth.
But I am also a firm believer in the saying, “Through God all things are possible.” There is so much truth in that saying.
Before my grandfather passed, he told me that nothing would work out for me unless I was on my path in life. Until I am on my path in life, nothing will work out.
So what did I do? I found my path…or rather…my path found me and I have not left it once.
There are twists and turns along the way and options that are presented where it’s a choose your own adventure sort of destiny, but when that happens, I’ll wait for the answer to come.
Things work out more magically than I can ever dream it to be because I am following my destined path in life.
So if I reject a guy, it’s because I know already, “You’re not the one. If you were the one, you would have shown up in my meditations already.” So guys don’t take the rejection too harshly. God just didn’t put you into my plans in this lifetime. Maybe he’ll consider you an option in the next lifetime.
And…ummm…yeah, I already know who the guy is. He shows up in the meditations a lot. Not that I want him to because I’m focusing on something else, but he shows up regardless. There’s a bit of a strong connection there that you can’t help but notice it. Hell, the connection is so strong EVERYONE in the room notices it.
I’ve been dreaming about him since I was 15 years old…or at least the signs that would point to who it was.
But the thing is…a true outlier is someone that defies the odds of mediocrity. The outliers are the ones that succeed in life beyond those that are standing right next to them that choose a simpler life.
I’ve always known I was destined for great things. People throughout my life have seen it too. I know already what those great things are. Great things aren’t always big things. They can also be the little things that can save someone’s life.
My favorite moments are usually the ones where I walk up to someone and tell them the answer to their prayer. They look at me like I’m crazy until I look at them matter of factly and say, “Did you or did you not pray for this?” When they shake their head yes, I then say, “God says the answer is this…you can choose to accept it or not, but either way that is God’s answer.”
It usually shocks the hell out of them, but it’s my way of saying that God exists and the fact that you need someone to tell you he exists has me feeling sorry for your soul…and how important that my upcoming book is for those that are not outliers.
Now, I will admit that when I’m scared or worried and I keep telling myself to not worry, God sometimes has my little angel Rolly call me up just to re-emphasize his point that everything will be okay. Trust me, that little phone call works because I have to remind myself to believe and stop worrying (because worrying doesn’t help anything or anyone).
That is the difference between belief and hope. I believe and put full faith in God that his path is my path. I don’t question it, I just enjoy the ride.
When you hope for something, it’s not meant to be yours. Hope is something created. To me, it’s not real. Hope is a fictitious reality.
When you believe in something…that means that it is real to you.
As an outlier, you can never discount karma or God. Even Bill Gates’ secret to his success lies more in his service to humanity rather than computers and his billions. Good karma means good karma coming back to you. What good you put forth into the world, the same good comes back to you (but in a different way). What evil you put forth into the world, that evil comes back to you tenfold.
Bad things do happen to good people, but it’s how we view the situation that makes it good or bad. It’s like the relationship I have with my father (who also reads this blog). I learned a long time ago that my father’s hate for me and the torment he went through because of my existence was not really aimed towards me in the greater scheme of things. I was really a lesson that God had sent. It took him most of my life before he got it, but it helped me get through the pain by realizing that he knows not what he does to me. I understood that I was a lesson for him.
It was in that understanding of my role in all of this that I could stop feeling pain and realize that there was good in all of this. God had a plan. The reward ended up being far greater than I could imagine.
You see…being an outlier is not predestined upon when you were born or your privileged circumstances. Becoming an outlier is based on living your dream and following your path in life. Each person’s path is different. There are no two paths that are alike.
So if you dream of being Bill Gates…you will never be Bill Gates, because Gates followed his path in life. That was his path, not yours. You take from Bill his inspirational story to follow your own path in life…it is a lesson on the importance of becoming yourself.
In our childhood, we know what we are destined to become. I was always destined to become a writer of books. But it is the world that changes our view of things. We become confused when we get involved in the drama of the world. We lose our way when we become part of the drama.
It was when I was offered my first hockey column two weeks after my grandfather died that I realized that I always knew my path in life. I remember the first sentence I ever wrote. I remember the first book I ever read to myself when no one else was around. I still remember every word in that book.
I remember my first story I ever wrote. I remember the awards I won for writing. I remember being in the 98th percentile of all school children nationwide being tested for English. I also remember the person who realized what my destiny was and announced it before my entire 6th grade class.
Writing was my path in life. It took the death of my grandfather for me to see that. When I stormed down that path in life, amazing things happened.
Outliers are really those that pursue their path in life. We are all destined for great things, whether they are big or small. It just depends on whether we believe in ourselves and God enough to have the courage to follow our paths we were destined for.
Remember who you were before the world started to tell us who we were. They were wrong. Believe that you were the only person that was right all along about who you really were. Nobody knows you like you do.
It takes remembering who you were to find your path. It takes courage to believe in yourself. When you find that courage, you’ll ask yourself why you ever doubted yourself to begin with.
Oh, and as a FYI…maybe you can see a little of where I’m heading with the book “Losing 100 Pounds of Unhappiness.”