How John Locke and Willie Nelson Have Changed My Life

Nobody who knows me (or spends more than a few moments with me) accuses me of being a conformist. I pride myself at being unique. I wear the label of “not normal” like a neon sign. I prefer not to fit into the mold determined by others. I dare to be different.

And then I started writing professionally. The motto of the publishing industry must be “conform or die” because that is all that I hear. It has to be done like this or it has to be written like that. Every expert I hear, read or have the opportunity to meet offers the same advice. Look at what is successful and then follow those steps.

I tried. I just get claustrophobic in the box.

My writing friend, Diane, blessed me recently by introducing me to John Locke. Others had tried to get me to follow his sage advice. He is their go-to expert. When these others told how John held the magic bullet, I heard them say he had opened yet one more box. Diane said it different. “What he said changed everything for me.”

I needed everything changed.

Because my need had grown to the point of panic, I was willing to give one more expert a chance. I clicked on the link that led me to the great “how-to book” of John Locke. It only took a few chapters for me to discover that Diane had been right.

John Locke reminded me that I have a unique path. You would think that would be easy enough for me to remember. “Being normal is over-rated” is our family motto. We have it posted on the wall. But I had fallen so low that I needed to be kicked right in my “back to basics.”

John Locke is a good kicker.

I am not required to do anything like anyone else. The truth of the matter is, I am unable to do anything like anyone else. I am unique in all this world. What I encounter and how I encounter it will be different from you if for no other reason than because I am different from you.

Hear me now! No matter what you are doing – no matter what dreams you are pursuing – whether it is starting a bakery, launching a new ministry or crafting words – dare to do it your own way.

That does not mean you should just shove history to the side. Listen to those that have beaten down their own paths. Learn from those that have driven on to their own success. Absorb the wisdom of those that have dared to go on before you . . . then do what YOU need to do to forge ahead into your own dreams.

Thank you to John Locke for confirming to me what I have always known. I am unique in all the world and I refuse to let anyone shove me into their box.

Thank you to Diane for helping me to find my way back into the hope that can only be found when you are following the path designed for you.

Thank you to Suzanne for letting me vent about the great “they” of the publishing world.

Thank you to Willie Nelson, who has helped me have the courage to hunt “they” down.

It is because of these people that I am able to do what I know to do. Dare to be peculiar!

I also want to thank you for taking this journey with me, and allowing me the opportunity to rant against the great “they.” I can only hope that the words I shared maybe inspired you a little. If they did, then I think you might enjoy some of the words of encouragement I share in my weekly newspaper column, Reflections from the Front Porch. You can visit the paper each week online or purchase a copy of the columns today.

Be inspired. Be bold. And pursue your dreams with all that you are.

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