Revolutions happen all the time. The Industrial Revolution. There have been revolutions about technology, a revolution in Russia, France, and several other countries. They happen all the time.
There’s the Tiny House Nation revolution. That one both fascinates and repulses me. Because the houses are so freaking adorable but I have the worst case of claustrophobia. And watching even one episode of that television show left me struggling for air. I can’t help it. I need my space. More than those houses have to offer, apparently.
So when I was asking my husband what I should write about today and he said “starting a revolution” I was a little bit struck by his words.
Because revolutions happen all the time; in big and small ways.
Like last night, we watched as forty one high school students graduated from the local high school. Forty one kids who have experienced all kinds of things in their short lives and yet still got up and went to school. Every. Single. Day. Or at least enough days to count toward graduation.
And they didn’t just go to school; they had to do stuff when they got there. They did homework, took tests, read books, wrote papers, and completed science projects. They didn’t give up, even though I’m sure there were times when they wanted to.
Getting up every day, going to school, doing the work, and never giving up…that’s a revolution.
Watching young people get jobs, take care of their siblings, help their parents, learn to drive, help others, make friends, deal with losses, and constantly putting one foot in front of the other amazes me.
Some of those kids? They were never expected to graduate. Maybe they were the first ones in their family to get a high school diploma. Or they had to overcome a great tragedy to get to that point in life.
Do they know they were part of a revolution? I’m honestly not sure. I remember being in high school. It was a wonder I could remember my next Spanish assignment or to finish my math homework; I don’t think I realized that every effort I made, no matter how small or how overlooked by others, was really a part of a lifelong journey.
So, how do you start a revolution? It’s easy. You have to believe in something or envision an idea or a goal.
Okay, I lie. Starting a revolution is incredibly difficult.
It’s difficult because there is a high probability that other people won’t believe in what your revolution is all about. I mean, really, did the Tiny House Nation people have a great following from day one? No. It had to grow, just like anything else.
A revolution has to grow like a plant or a tree or a person.
Some grow faster than others. And some take a lot of time to get there. While some revolutions have a clear path to follow, there are others that have to take a twisting, turning path that no one ever imagined in the beginning.
Think about that for a minute. Are you in the middle of your own revolution that didn’t go as cleanly and simply as someone else’s? Mine was like that.
College didn’t come right after high school. There was another path I had to take first that wound its way back to the college road. When I was twenty-three. Yes, a lot of my classmates had already graduated from college and were in the early days of their shiny new careers by then. I was figuring out childcare, FAFSAs, and wondering what the hell I was doing trying to start college when people my age were finishing college.
That was how my revolution grew though. I was a bit of a late bloomer. The path I took had more potholes and detours along the way, but I walked it lovingly. I was determined to get there somehow, someday.
After you find something to believe in, you start walking the path to get there.
Rest assured that while there is no yellow brick road to follow, you’ll find the rest of the cast from the Wizard of Oz along the way. (The teacher who spoke at the graduation last night did a splendid job using this great story to demonstrate this to the students and the spectators.)
You’ll find a few people (usually the ones you least expected to encounter) along the way who encourage you, support you, and maybe even tag along for the journey. The Wicked Witch of the West will be there too, but don’t worry. We all know how that turned out for her in the end.
Besides, it wouldn’t be a revolution if there wasn’t a naysayer (or twelve) to participate.
Be careful of those as you travel your path. They’ll do anything (and I do mean anything) to get you off course. The biggest ammunition in their arsenal? To tell you that your dream, your idea, even you, doesn’t matter.
It’ll hurt when you hear that, but please, turn to your travel mates who encourage you when those words are said or written or whispered. Because the truth is, if you have those negative people telling you that you can’t do it, that just means those negative people are scared.
They’re scared of you and your idea. They’re scared of all your accomplishments and your confidence.
Try not to get too angry at those folks either. If anything, pity them. Maybe even say a prayer for them. Because if all they can find to do in life is to try to tear you down, it means they haven’t found their revolution yet. And everyone needs a revolution.
Now that you’ve found your idea and believe in it (and yourself), the rest of this will be easy. To help you along, you’ll need a picture of a dog.
Specifically, a picture of a dog with a chew toy or a rope or something in his or her mouth. Like these dogs.
If you have a dog that you play tug-of-war with or who doesn’t let go of a chew toy for anything, snap a picture of your pooch and keep it handy. Make it your cell phone wallpaper or print the picture and slap it on the bathroom mirror for future reference.
Because that dog not letting go is going to be your visual aid in the “how to start a revolution” guide. That dog is how you’ll need to be with your idea/dream/goal/plan.
When you feel like giving up (because you will), you’ll want to look at that dog. When you feel like you shouldn’t bother because no one else on the planet cares about what you’re doing, you’ll want to look at that dog. When you’re so stinking tired of putting one foot in front of the other for a dream that seems impossible, you’ll want to look at that dog.
After you’ve spent time looking at it, you’ll want to be that dog. You’ll need to be that dog. You’ll need to grab onto your dream and not. Let. Go. Ever.
Because that’s how you start a revolution.
Did the Tiny House Nation guys look around at all the other big houses and fold up shop? No.
Did the high school graduate look at everyone else who wasn’t going to school and skip class? No.
When you get hold of a dream, you can’t. Let. Go. Ever.
Still need to be convinced? Let me give you a few examples of people I know that held onto their dreams like a dog does a chew toy.
My aunt just graduated law school the other day. She’s something like fifty years old. My son graduated high school the other day. He struggled with ADHD, poor sleep, and a serious disinterest in sitting in a classroom all day. Steve Jobs. J.K. Rowling. John Grisham.
Okay, so I don’t personally know those last three, but come on. They’re stories are pretty cool. They held onto their dreams and never let go.
Will your revolution end up being a television show on HGTV? Maybe. Will you be in charge of a major company? It’s possible. Will you write a bestseller? It could happen.
Whatever happens will. But only if you start a revolution. Only if you never. Let. Go. Of your dream. Only if you believe in it enough to keep moving forward.
One thing for certain: you won’t regret having walked that path. You’ll have a story to tell and confidence to spare by the time you’re done. Because no one ever looks back and says: I wish I hadn’t tried so hard…