Evan Spiegel is the founder of Snapchat and he’s also a college dropout. Although Spiegel dropped out to focus on building Snapchat, he still decided to walk across the stage at his college graduation. Why? He said in a speech he gave that he did it because he wanted to avoid looking different.
Today, Spiegel is famous and a billionaire. He’s different in some ways that many of us want to be. Yet there was a period of time when Snapchat was in its early stages and Spiegel wanted to appear the same as everyone else when he wasn’t. He had just dived off the conveyor belt, and he was in the moment right after the jump, before the landing.
For everyone who takes a risk or goes down an unconventional path, there’s always a period of time after you’ve made your choice when you’re uncertain and scared. You’ve jumped but you have no idea where or how you might land. Everyone around you is probably telling you that you shouldn’t have jumped. Maybe you’re working a job you hate to pay the bills and working on your project at night when you can. It’s a period of time when others are judging you for jumping, but you decide to stick it out and see what happens.
This moment of free-falling is terrifying, so a lot of people don’t jump at all. Yet for those who do jump, they are the ones who accomplish extraordinary things in the world. They ignore the others who judge them for jumping. And maybe they make a great landing, or maybe their landing fails. Either way, they made it through the moment after the jump and before the landing. From this moment comes all success, failure, and growth. In other words, this is the moment when we’re most alive.
Today, headlines about Evan Spiegel read something like ‘From college dropout to billionaire and CEO…’ but what about the period of time that Spiegel was working away on something unproven? Something that could fail? When a headline about him at the time would’ve just read ‘From college dropout to…?” When he was in the air after the jump, but before his landing.
Many of us are in this moment right now. Instead of just focusing on making a successful landing, we should take a second to be proud that we chose not only to jump but to dive towards everything that might happen.