For years, I have been coming out to this view in my backyard and sat on the old white bench. To my right, my two dogs…my best friends throughout childhood are buried where they use to sit on the view next to me looking out into the valley. Sometimes I come here to write, but a lot of the time I come here to think. I come here to listen.

Almost one year ago I dedicated my life to others with the goal of helping people live powerful and impassioned lives. At the time, I really didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I took a leap of faith and decided to follow my dream. I did this because there have always been people throughout my lifetime that have believed in me and supported me through everything. I have grown…a lot. At times it is almost funny what life’s baptism by fire method has yielded me. Most of my friends call me an old soul. Maybe I am 70 at heart. I think this may be hard for some people to understand when they first meet me. They may think I am scripted or putting on a mask, but truthfully, it’s just me. I got here through a lot of deep diving into myself and reading. I got here through looking at myself in a mirror that only tells truths.

I boiled it down to three things last year. Love. Passion. Never Quit. But I want to talk about passion. I think that you are wasting your time in this life if you’re not giving things your all. It’s not that you won’t get the job done most of the time, but when it comes time for you to feel good about accomplishing something and you’ve been half or quarter assing it…that feeling won’t come. I’ve been there. In fact, I gut check myself a lot to make sure I am not even there in the moment.

I am passionate about my work, about my writing, about developing my mind, but most importantly, about people. I think where life really starts to burn bright is when you throw down all your barriers and you really try to connect with people. What I have come to learn is that there are essentially two types of ways people act. They are afraid of looking bad or trying to look good. Both of these ways only create nonsense. It makes everyone wary of each other and scared of truthfully being who they are. I know when I am being myself when people laugh at me and call me a dork. Yeah, I can be ridiculous at times, but deep down at my core, that’s me being vulnerable…no mask…100% real.

Theres a song, and one of the lyrics goes “I wear my heart up on my sleeve.” Yep, that’s exactly right. Because with me, what you see in front of you is what you’re going to get. The way I am acting, who I am being, and what I am saying to you is not a lie, it is the dead truth. It’s  what I believe in, it’s who I am, and those words are me living my dream every day. I know that I will be judged for living with passion, but that’s a misunderstanding I’m willing to just let go. You can’t aim to please everyone in life…or else you will become a cookie cutter person. You must see your goal and maintain your vision. No matter what, you will be misunderstood, critiqued, and even judged harshly. It’s fine…your on the right path.

The last thing I want to say is to not take things personally. Most of the time the difference between the reality of what you think is being said and what actually happened is large. A lot of the time things are thought through and they are just fired off without much thought. God have we all been guilty of this. It’s not about having thick skin, it’s about understanding what is actually being said. And it comes back down to what I was talking before. Everyone is scared of everybody else. In one way or another, this will manifest itself in defense mechanisms, insights, insults, complements, and critiques. But when you are playing a big game in life, you are going to have big problems. It’s just the way things go.

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given is “pay attention to only what they do and not to what they say.” While I write about a lot of this stuff, I only put it on paper if I truly believe I am acting it out in life. But for those who know me well and to those who will know me in the future…if you just sit down with me for 5 minutes…not even having to talk…I know that my passion for life can be felt.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project