There’s a guy everyone knows. Let’s call him Car Guy. Hi Car Guy!
Car Guy is the guy who has a great car. The thing is really slick; he’s been working on it for years. Rims bigger than his neighbor’s rims. A big ol’ fin on the back. A massive muffler that makes it really loud, annoying everyone for miles, but it sounds heavenly to Car Guy.
The thing I’ve always wondered about Car Guy is this: when he’s not with his car, who is he? He’s invested everything of himself into a thing, so what’s left when that thing isn’t around?
Car Guy goes on a date, and what does he say? “You should see my car.” Until then, he does his best to pass the time, just a regular Guy.
It was about eight years ago that I decided I never wanted to be “just a Guy,” a superhero with all kinds of fancy equipment but no powers, and all my gear just out of reach. Instead, I wanted to be the gear. A Car Guy without a car is just a Guy, but a Guy who is an Awesome Guy is always an Awesome Guy, no matter what he’s driving, where he is, or what kind of date he’s on. He has superpowers, not a losable, breakable, stealable, unwearable-on-dates utility belt.
You shouldn’t depend on something else to make you whole. You shouldn’t be defined by your car, your online avatar, your fancy clothes, or your slick new gadget. You should, solo and naked in the woods, be just as epic and impressive as you are fully tricked-out with all the accoutrements of modern society.
And you do this by learning. By taking in new knowledge and becoming more self-aware. Over time, you become more confident, and over more time, you start to define your personal philosophy and a strong set of ethics. These are the things that make someone epic in any situation. A car is just a tool, and any tool works better in the hands of someone who sees it as an accessory to their life, not as a necessary component of making them whole.
Colin Wright is an author, entrepreneur, and minimalist who travels to a new country every four months based on the votes of the readers at his blog, Exile Lifestyle. Colin’s newest book is Considerations.