When I grew up, I had big, 90 degrees ears. Almost daily I heard comments like “Be careful of the wind, your ears might just take off.” I wasn’t big enough to punch every jerk in the face.

Instead, I reverted to a dream state.

My big ears were my secret weapon: I could hear everything, even continents away. And, hell yes, I could fly. I battled all these jerks and a-holes with their dumb comments as  SUPEREARS.

Over time, being SUPEREARS became boring. Dreams became my precious space, an awe-inspiring space where I was the master of my own domain. It just didn’t do it for me. I wanted to be the master of my own domain in reality.

I stopped dreaming and started doing.

The small town I grew up in was filled with people that dreamt about doing great things but never left the bar or the living room. They are still there, dreaming, starting many sentences with “If I won a million…” or “If I had three wishes…” I just didn’t want to be that sad guy in the dark corner of the local bar, crying in his beer.

I looked in the mirror and accepted myself.

Sure, I had 90 degrees ears. I was small (I grew 6 inches when I was 14 years old) and not very strong. But I was somebody, maybe a bit strange and different. But that’s perfect when you want to leave a tiny town where everybody just tries to fit in. I would never be my cousin with his curly hair. Or the son of rich parents. I was the only thing I would ever be.

I stopped caring what others thought of me.

I basically stopped thinking about myself constantly. When you are the center of the universe, you care what other people think about you. I focused less on my perceived inadequacies and focused on my strengths. And strengthened those even further. And I banded together with other kids that were in same boat. And we helped each other.

I took chances.

Comfort is nice. I love it. But it makes you weak and lazy. Whenever I felt too comfortable, I left. It’s tough. It hurts. But it makes you grow as a person. It takes a bit of courage and readiness to feel lonely. We don’t want to be lonely. We have to be comfortable in our loneliness to become strong.

I tried to do something frightening each week.

Start with that. We all have the tendency to almost do something. At least once a week, do something that truly frightens you. That makes you freeze, run to the toilet, want to down 5 shots. Do it. (Not the shots.)

And, who knows, one morning, when there’s a nice breeze, you might be able to use your ears to fly.