Today’s post is from real life ninja trainee, Izzy Arkin.
So bear that in mind before you leave a comment telling him how you could kick his ass. Unless that is, you want disemboweling as you sleep.
Note: I’m fairly sure Izzy has never disemboweled a sleeping person, but I’m pretty sure it will be in his schedule at some stage, so you’d better suck up and be nice.
By the way just a quick heads up that after the great response from my previous post, I will be starting a free uStream channel on Thursday 5th July at 7.00pm EDT.
I will then aim to run them every two weeks with the times rotating between 7pm and 2pm. Watch this space for more details and thanks to all of you that bothered to comment.
An American Ninja In Japan
“You’re going to do what?”
“Are you speaking English?”
“Fool! You are Crazy- With a capital C!”
Hi, my name is Izzy. Nice to meet you.
I quit my job in America.
I moved to Japan.
I am trying to become a ninja.
What’s your dream?
Dateline: October 2009, Los Angeles, California
I pulled over to the side of the road and did the only thing I could do… I broke down in tears. I was in the midst of getting my masters degree, moving up the leadership pipeline, and right in line to run my own school.
I did everything I was supposed to do and yet…
Here I was, on the side of the road, wallowing in tears… Not my proudest moment.
I had spent the last 4 years teaching in the inner city of Los Angeles.
The previous 3 years I had enjoyed the work but as I had gotten older things had changed, I had changed, my feelings changed. I could analyze it, but that would be a waste of your time and mine.
Let’s just focus on the outcome – I was a stressed, depressed mess.
Over the course of that year I never would make it to my alarm clock. I felt massive anxiety every day. To put it lightly, I wasn’t pleasant to be around… And with all that being said -
That was the greatest year of my life.
I’m sorry. Did you not hear me? I’ll repeat myself.
That was the greatest year of my life.
So at this point you might be thinking “First this dude claims he wants to be a ninja, next he’s equating a great year with being depressed… W-T-F!”
What’s Going on Here?
Yes 2009 was the most painful year of my life. It was a struggle. I could barely sleep, I was intensely anxious, and I was slowly falling apart… for a little while.
Around December of that year, I realized things needed to change. I couldn’t keep living my life like that. I was unhappy. I didn’t want to be unhappy.
From a purely logical standpoint, if I want my life to change, than I have to change my behavior. So that’s what I did.
I read every “discover your purpose” book I could get my hands on. I refused to work on the weekends. I started taking afternoon hikes. And slowly the onion started to peel. As my behavior changed, I began to change.
Are you doing the same thing every day yet hoping your life will be different?
Somewhere in the process I started developing weird ideas and ambitions. I started imagining a world in which I was no longer a teacher, I was traveling the world… I started to ask the question “What do I want to do with my life?”
But I didn’t just ask it… I also attempted to answer it.
If all you do is ask the question, but never attempt to answer it, how will you ever know the answer?
Eventually I realized what I wanted to do…
I would pursue my childhood dream: to become a ninja.
Now Do You Understand?
At the time I had no idea, that this would eventually land me in the countryside of Japan, learning a new language, immersed in a culture that simply blows my mind… But that is another story.
Do you see why I say 2009 was the greatest year of my life?
I was forced to step back from my life, question everything, and make choices that have led me to this very moment.
I like this moment.
The Point of All This
Why do I share this story with you?
Because I want you to realize it is possible to pursue your dreams. You can take the worst, most painful moment in your life and use it as fuel to go do crazy shit.
There is no magical super secret formula (Tim’s note: except my book of course). I am simply one person who has chosen to pursue his dream.
I got sick and tired of feeling sick and tired… So I changed my life
If you aren’t happy with your life, why don’t you change it?
Words Are Just Words
We can all sit around and talk about “what we want to do”. That is the beauty of talking… 99% of the population can do it.
The chasm between success and mediocrity is filled with action not words.
Yes, I am sure there are reasons you should hold back on your dreams: you don’t have enough money, you’re too busy, you’ll do it next month, blah blah blah…
I’ve done my research. It turns out there is an excuse 100 percent of the time…
But there is a problem with excuses.
If you believe your excuses you will never achieve your dreams.
At some point, you have to acknowledge that maybe, possibly, perhaps your excuses can be overcome.
I am not saying there aren’t valid reasons to hold back on a dream. There are excellent reasons. But please recognize that this is a choice and not your lot in life.
It is Easier To Start Than You Think
The pursuit of a dream doesn’t start with quitting your job, throwing your middle fingers in the air, and escaping to a foreign country… It starts small, tiny, miniscule.
Do you want to write a book? Write the first page. Do you want to lose 50 pounds? Go on a run. Do you want to travel the world? Save a dollar. Do you want to educate the world? Spend your Saturday at the local library reading to kids.
It all starts with a seed. You need to plant the seed, water the seed and allow it to grow with time.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today”
What will you do today to move towards your dreams?
Bio: Izzy is a former teacher from Los Angeles. He got tired of the traffic, the grind, and the stress. He quit his job, and moved to Japan to pursue his childhood dream: to become a Ninja. You can read more about Izzy’s journey at The 30 Year Old Ninja, where he writes to inspire others to pursue their dreams. You can also connect with him on Twitter or say hello on Facebook.
This post took me 7 seconds to accept. In fact I actually asked Izzy to write it, so impressed was I by his story. But what do you think? Let us know in the comments.