Written by Zach Grossfeld
This morning, I’m feeling inspired by Mike Posner walking across America and wanted to share some words:
This morning, I was watching a video on Mike Posner’s Instagram that he posted a couple of days back.
Most of you know Mike Posner for making music, just one of the things he does. He is an artist, a poet, a songwriter, and a singer, to name a few other aspects of his existence.
Right now, Mike is walking across America.
In this Instagram video, Mike talks about the pressure that builds within the music industry to always release the next song, album, and announce the next tour.
Everything is about “next.”
And we create these reasons, like not having enough money, time, and being too old, for why we can’t achieve the “next” thing. We can call them reasons, but they function as excuses.
What Mike said about excuses and societal pressure made me think about the pressures that build in my life. I’ve never experienced the amount of public attention that has been Mike Posner has received, but I do know what it’s like to value myself achievement - to be happy for a split second when I accomplish something, then automatically, the mind moves to the next thing.
And if I can’t get to the next thing, I create an excuse.
As a college baseball player, I felt fulfilled when I performed at a high level and felt like shit when I didn’t help my team win. As a student, high grades fueled my happiness, which led to a higher GPA, which meant that I’d probably land a better job.
Lower numbers on the top of my test paper decreased my GPA and collapsed the prospects of my career.
For years, I never knew what it was like to see myself as valuable outside of the mainstream, societal norms.
The first question everyone asks a stranger is, “What do you do?” But they don’t care what you do. They want to size up your responsibilities to see how much money you make. I’m guilty of this myself. You want to know how you stack up in the race to accumulate wealth and status. You can start to have thoughts like:
I’m 27, but I just met another 27-year old that already makes 200k. How do I get that?
I need to reach the manager by the end of next year.
I want a more beautiful apartment.
Nothing is wrong with wanting a higher salary or a better apartment, but the comparison will kill you.
Not physically, but your soul will suffer.
You’ll never feel at peace because there will always be someone who makes more, has a more attractive spouse, and seems to have a perfect life.
Walking Across America, like Mike Posner, is the perfect way to think about how we should be going through life.
Reaching the West Coast isn’t the goal.
Looking down and seeing that 3,000th-mile tick across your Apple Watch isn’t the goal. Telling your friends about how much the walk changed you isn't the goal.
The goal of Walking Across America is that there is no set goal.
The purpose is in the path. No one Walks Across America to reach the other side. They do it because of how it will change them, how they will learn from others, and hopefully spread a few seeds of love along the way.
The happiness that Mike seems to be experiencing is not the fleeting spike that surges after a new accomplishment, but rather a lasting peace derived from building relationships, feeling more connected, and detaching from the identity that society placed upon him, which is the same one that he placed upon himself: a pop singer from Detroit.
I hope that I can channel some of Mike Posner’s energy in my endeavors - to be more present with people, spread love, rather than only checking boxes towards the next accomplishment.