Down on William Street in my hometown of Stratford, Ontario, grand Victorian houses and emerald green lawns back on to the Avon river that cut the city in half. When the sun rose on a recent summer’s morning, a mist surrounded early morning strollers walking briskly on the banks, sidestepping the swans that call the river home, while more adventurous exercisers lower canoes gently into the still waters.
On that beautiful morning I joined in with my own workout, doing several laps around the river on my bicycle. I pedaled rhythmically, breathing in the fresh air and the memories that flooded back to me. I whizzed by the world-renowned Stratford Festival Theater, where a young William Shatner got his start in the late 1950’s, and where international visitors attend Shakespeare’s plays six days a week during the summer months.
I climbed Snake Hill behind the soccer pitch that lay adjacent to the Festival Gardens, and circled by the tennis courts on my way back down to the river that lay at the heart of my hometown.
“Just one more lap,” I thought to myself, though I wanted to peddle around and around my childhood memories for hours. I didn’t want this magical early morning hour to end.
Then the spell was broken.
First, by sound, then by smell.
Underneath the picturesque exterior of Stratford lays a dark and gritty underbelly. It exists in the soul-sucking factories, the substance abuse that plagues every town, the smell of cigarettes, and the litter in the streets.
On that sunny summer Sunday morning the spell was broken and underbelly exposed by the sound of a worn out exhaust system hanging on to the underside of an old Pontiac Grand Prix. The noxious smell of the acrid cigarette smoke pierced my nose as the driver lit up before pulling away, but not before he had tossed his McDonalds’ breakfast wrapper onto the road beside him. He had to clock-in by 7am at one of the local factories, and his time idling down by the river was up.
This is the blight of our town. It’s the itch under our skin. It reminds us that nothing is perfect.
We all have similar irritating reminders in our personal lives. We all have itches under all of our skins and bugs in the back of our minds.
On the outside, your life might appear perfect to your neighbors, family, and community. You have a good job, a wonderful spouse, well-behaved kids, a splendid home, and perhaps even a growing nest egg that will offer you a comfortable retirement. You have achieved the American Dream.
You try to ignore it. Sometimes you go months and months without it bothering you. You find a project, a muse, a hobby that acts as a salve and suppresses the itch…for a while.
Then something sparks it to return with a vengeance.
Our itch inside of us is the knowledge that there is something more.
We know that there is more that we can do. We know we are capable of achieving bigger things, even levels of greatness that most people dare not dream about. We want more. We deserve more. We can do more. We can be more. We know that. And it itches.
That is the irritating sensation you have not yet satisfied, knowing that you are destined for more, for greatness, and that you have a duty to the Gods to unlock your potential that lies within.
But until now, you have been too afraid, too confused, and too unsure of where to start to fully scratch the itch.
It gets stronger with time. Its intensity increases every season it returns, as if it’s saying, “You’re running out of years, you know? Scratch me now or I’ll burn even worse when all you can do is regret missed opportunity.”
ETR reader Ken R. recently described his itch to me. It probably sounds, and feels, a lot like yours. He wrote:
“Dear Craig, I am an electrical engineer at a major aerospace company. I have been here for 13 years, and have worked my way to a very respectable title, a nice paycheck, and a comfortable place in life. Despite my relative success, I have always felt I was destined for more.
I’m a subscriber to your ETR newsletter and read it as often as possible. The other day I read Mark Ford’s article titled, “How to Afford a Great Life.” This article reminded me of that deep-seeded desire for more. I desperately want to be completely comfortable in life in a way that allows me to travel and seek opportunities without ever having to worry about money as an obstacle. The problem is that I don’t know how to get there.”
His story sounds familiar, I’m sure.
No matter where you stand in life, no matter how far you’ve made it down the path to success, there remains the #1 burning issue under your skin that you must address – that you can and MUST do more if you want to be truly satisfied with how you measure your life.
What you need is a system to put you on the path to greatness. What you need is a daily action plan. What you need is accountability. What you need is the final push from a mentor to make you scratch that itch and satisfy it once and for all.
That’s why I put together this kit for you. It will help you scratch that itch, satisfy your desires, and help you achieve greatness.
[Ed. Note. Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise (Join him on Facebook here) and author of Financial Independence Monthly and Turbulence Training. He is also the co-creator of the Early to Rise $100,000 Transformation Contest. Though this round of the Transformation Contest has closed it’s not too late to get access to all the helpful tools and advice that has helped many people make a positive change in their lives.Get started on your major life transformations today.]