It’s 1836, and a wise old gold-miner is riding west on the Oregon Trail in a horse drawn buggy. He leans down and says, “You always have a choice. You choose to ride with the right people, doing things for the right reasons and you’ll always end up in the right place. Or, you can choose poorly and end up stranded, buzzards circling and drinking rainwater out of your boot.”
He explains there are various destinations and countless paths that one could take to ultimately reach wherever they’re going.
But then the gold-miner says, “The destination is not what matters, what matters is how you get there.”
Now, that’s just a shot-for-shot summary of the new Lyft commercial I recently saw on YouTube, but the message applies to more than just B-list ridesharing apps.
We at Scroll believe that ultimately reaching your destination isn’t what matters most, what matters most is the journey that each of us should endure to get there.
Let’s coin a term to describe people who don’t appreciate that journey.
Let’s call them “floaters.”
Floaters are people with no purpose — no backbone. They don’t have a reason why they do the things they do or don’t do; they just do what everyone else does.
Floaters are not individuals — they are products of their environment — or people that simply float through their surroundings, allowing themselves to be pushed and pulled in the direction that the current is flowing.
A floater though is different than my childhood friend, an inner city high-school dropout, sitting handcuffed in the back of a police car after he spontaneously and recklessly robbed a 7- Eleven convenience store with a toy gun that he spray-painted to look real.
Floaters aren’t those menace-to-society type people that deliberately or through peer-pressure make life-altering bad decisions.
Floaters are everyday people who on paper are doing everything they should be but, in reality, are guilty of doing absolutely nothing.
Here at BYU-Idaho, a floater might be someone who finds himself or herself in the I-Center at 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon only because everything else on campus is closed. These people aren’t deliberately choosing to be in the presence of uplifting messages; they’re just floating.
Or, a floater might be someone who always wears a white shirt every Sunday, not because they believe God cares how they look or because they want to show respect for something; they just wear it because that’s how everyone else dresses.
Floaters are people who never ask themselves, “Why?” Because they’re afraid that they don’t know the answers, or that they’ll realize what they’re doing is actually insignificant.
Simon Sinek, that average looking guy that gave an above average speech at TEDxPugetSound, explained that knowing why you’re doing something, is so much more important than whatever you’re actually doing.
“People don’t buy what you do,” he said. “They buy why you do it.”
These people, the ones that know why they do things, let’s call them “swimmers.”
A Swimmer might choose to be in the I-Center at 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, not because it’s convenient, but because they’re sincerely seeking answers to spiritual questions. Or they may choose to be somewhere else, like at home, or studying, or eating lunch, or just taking a nap because they’re taking 18 credits, planning a wedding, working part-time and they just need 30 minutes to rest.
Swimmers might choose to wear a white shirt to church every week because they thought about it and decided it shows respect. Or, they may choose to wear something else because they just felt like wearing that really nice blue gingham shirt that’s been in the closet since they bought it, and when did white become a symbol of respect?
Swimmers always ask themselves, “Why?” They’re not afraid that they might not have the answer, because they’re willing to find one, and when they have a good enough reason, they decide how they’ll reach their destination.
We at the Scroll believe in asking ourselves, “Why?” We believe that what matters most is how you get there. We believe in doing things differently than the way we’ve always done, and we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in deciding where we will swim and not just floating there.