Are you a Walter Mitty?
If you don’t know, he’s a fictional character in James Thurber’s short story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”
A passive, yielding man living in a perpetual dream state—an imaginary world where he’s larger than life.
A trip over to dictionary.com brings us this:
noun, plural Walter Mittys.
an ordinary, timid person who is given to adventurous and self-aggrandizing daydreams or secret plans as a way of glamorizing a humdrum life.
The ineffectual dreamer.
I was a Walter Mitty.
Do me a favor and try to think back to when you were a teenager.
I don’t know about you, but during this period reality was a fog and I was in distress, but my dreams made me king.
I can’t remember how many evil people I ultimately destroyed in varied and creative ways, but I did so often. Yet there they were the next day, ready to antagonize.
My fantasies did zilch, but I dreamt on.
Feel like you’re stuck in a hum drum routine with no escape? Surrounded by berating assclowns? Tethered to a Mitty-like lifestyle?
Often needing to escape the real world?
In a nutshell: Are your dreams better than your life?
I don’t think this is unusual, but I would like to ask you: Does it have to be this way?
When, like Mitty, you start to fantasize about playing the hero, ask yourself this: Why can’t I be the hero in real life?
If your dream state is like a Hollywood production, why can’t your daily life be like that on some level?
Really… why the heck not?
It is so easy to fall into the trap of routine, but it’s even worse for the Mitty’s among us. Because our fantasies are so vivid, so powerful, and we play the faultless protagonist, so we just don’t want to leave.
When I was 15, I always got the girl.
At 16, I pummeled the star linebacker.
24 brought a wave of brilliant come-backs and I was the Caustic King.
In my late thirties my firm was grossing 2.5 Million.
…all part of my pie in the sky fantasies.
And in my mid-forties I really, truly told off my nosy, gossiping neighbor. That was reality, but the other stuff? Well, it took me this long to emerge from my fragile, little, Mitty-world. And since that time, I’ve been fighting the good fight daily, against …
Naysayers and negative creeps.
And doing what I think others want me to do.
I’m also working daily to stop living in my dreams.
So what about you and your world?
I’m not saying you have to be Bond, Neo, or Bourne, but why can’t you win a few battles in real life? You don’t have to beat someone to a bloody pulp, you just need to stand up for yourself.
Be true to who you are and don’t let the inner-demon win. The one who whispers sweet fear-laced nothings in your ear.
He tells you what he thinks others are saying. He excels at piercing your weak heart with doubt, and convincing you to be apprehensive with every move.
Don’t let this good-for-nothing weasel win. Kill him.
And get busy.
If you liked this piece, you should check out my Art of Breaking Out Podcast. I interview guests who will help move the needle in your business, and motivate you to push through the fear, uncertainty, and self-doubt any aspiring business owner faces on a daily basis. Get the details on why I started the Art of Breaking Out Podcast here.
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