I remember my 6th grade report card from Mr. Gillespie. I don’t remember any narrative from any report card before or after. Seared me. Here’s my recollection of his words written over 50 years ago. “Chester is a gifted student. He would be much better if he invested more time in learning what’s being taught and less time trying to prove the teacher wrong.” Damn.

He’s right and oh so wrong.

The world wants you to conform. From teachers pets to elected officials we reward those who conform and “rep the party line,” so to speak. I believe we’re not here to conform but instead to transform. We cannot become the original we are without fighting for it. You see the world doesn’t want you to originate as much as it wants you to step in line and simply march to the sea. Fact.

When I created BTL back in 2002 every well intended friend, family, and expert told me how to do it. Many told me my way was insane and unsustainable. The proven way was through speaking to larger audiences and going an inch deep with thousands. The BTL way was just the opposite – Deep with a few. I knew what I wanted to build and it wasn’t following conventional wisdom. I believed individuals, teams, and leaders chasing excellence was the way to go. I believed in one on one practice and team practice; speaking engagements and entertainment, not so much. I believed in modeling the way, embracing pain and suffering, and embodying truth in love. I believed in perpetual practice, laced with passion and purpose. I believed we could change the way a few in this world work and live by applying the 12 8 4 framework, powered by 2. I believed, and still do, my way is the highway.

I now believe in the power of this band. I believe in the power of my few. Funny, a few seem to agree. Good.

I’m not interested in proving any teacher wrong, I already know I’m on the right path and not chasing easy answers to hard (oftentimes unanswerable) questions. We are a band of believers at BTL. We are one and we’re not the same (Thanks, Bono). We are one, distinct and deeply connected, becoming BTL. Are you conforming to what the world wants or becoming the original you already are? I believe you are here to transform and originate. I believe a strong CORE and authentic OPUS are your compass and map to your best life. Most don’t. I am an original becoming more who I am through this real, hard, work of BBTL. You?

Live hard. Love harder. Originate…

2 thoughts on “Originate…

  1. A wise man once said: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” You are in good company!

  2. I have a similar experience in that I remember my report card from that time. My report card had solid grades of mainly A’s and a few B’s. However, I always received an “Improvement Needed” regarding classroom behavior. To this day, I remember the focus my parents gave that “Improvement Needed” over my grades. I have come to accept that they were doing the best they could with what they had at the moment, but I also wonder what differences would have happened in my life if they had dealt with it differently.

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