Rebel Wired: Young and Dumb

Rebel Wired: Young and Dumb

The open road—a symphony of moving parts, a ballet of bumper-to-bumper traffic where each driver plays their part in the grand dance of commute. Yet, amidst this orchestrated chaos, there's always that one character, the maverick, weaving in and out, cutting through the lanes as if the rules of the road were mere suggestions. Just the other day, I found myself caught in this daily performance, watching a young driver zigzagging his way through traffic, a mirror to a past version of myself. As I watched him, a thought crossed my mind, "What a dumb kid." But in that moment, I couldn't help but reflect on my own journey, realizing that I, too, was once that 'dumb kid.'

Back in the day, I was all about the shortcuts, the quick fixes, the immediate gratification. Life was a game, and I was in it to win it, or so I thought. I was the master of my destiny, the captain of my fate, navigating through life with the same reckless abandon as I did through traffic. And much like that young driver, I believed that taking risks, cutting corners, and pushing the limits would get me where I wanted to go faster. How many times people must have looked at my antics and thought, "Dumb kid"?

But here's the thing about being young and, for lack of a better word, dumb—it's a rite of passage. It's the mistakes we make, the chances we take, and the lessons we learn the hard way that carve out the path to who we are meant to become. It's in these moments of youthful folly that we find our strength, our resilience, and our true selves.

I remember a few particular instances, much like watching that kid in traffic, where my own impatience and impulsiveness led me to a dead-end—literally and figuratively.  Like when I was in college, at the start of the ecommerce industry. I decided I was going to sell GPS navigation systems for boats on ebay.  I kicked the business off and things were going great for a month or two. Sales were there and some money was coming in. But, I was "young and dumb". I took the money in the bank account and felt "rich". This was probably a few thousand dollars or so. I went out, bought all my "friends" drinks and had an epic couple of nights. Then reality hit. I didn't factor in the cost of the goods, shipping costs, listing fees, taxes, etc...   The problem was, the cash came in when you made the sale, and the expenses came later.  Another instance was right after college. I was making good money in the mortgage industry. Life was "easy". I piled my money into stock index funds, and they went up and up. It was so "easy". Then 2008 hit. It was cut in half. And that period coincided with a need for cash, so I had to withdraw at a loss.  These are things you don't think can happen when you don't think about the future. Young and dumb. More recently was  a number of years back at the height of the crypto currency bull market. I chased it, piled money in. It was easy. Until they crashed.  While not as young, definitely dumb. We all get sucked into wanting the short cuts in life. I call this the Amazon effect. We want everything yesterday. In all of these instances I was so focused on the destination that I lost sight of the journey, of the beauty in the slow moments, the wisdom in the waiting. It took hitting that metaphorical wall for me to realize that life isn't about how fast you can get from point A to point B, but the experiences, the people, and the growth that happens along the way.

So, to all the 'dumb kids' out there, weaving through the traffic of life, I say this: Embrace your mistakes, your missteps, your moments of madness. They are not in vain. Each wrong turn, each risky maneuver, each 'dumb' decision is a stepping stone to becoming wiser, stronger, and more resilient. It's okay to be young and dumb because it's through these experiences that we learn the most valuable lessons of all—patience, perseverance, and the power of slowing down.

The journey of personal growth is not a race; it's a marathon. And sometimes, the scenic route, the path less traveled, the slow lane, is where the real magic happens. It's where we discover the depth of our courage, the breadth of our wisdom, and the true pace of progress.

So, the next time you find yourself in traffic, literally or metaphorically, take a deep breath, slow down, and remember that the journey is just as important as the destination. Let's not rush through life trying to save a few seconds, but instead, savor every moment, learn from each experience, and grow into the best versions of ourselves. After all, it's in the journey that we find the joy, the growth, and the adventure of a lifetime.


Stay Relentless,

Ryan (former "dumb kid")

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