Lemmings

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Photo courtesy of John Neuman.

Photo courtesy of John Neuman.

I played a game years ago in the early days of computers called Lemmings. My guess is that many of you have at least heard of it, and probably played too. The object of the game is to save as many of these little green creatures as you can at each level. You save them by navigating them through a series of obstacles and hazards to the goal for that level.

These guys follow one behind the other, marching right in step behind the guy in front of him. In short, if you save the one at the front of the line, you save them all. But if they begin to die or fall off the cliff, those in the back of the line are doomed to the same fate if you can’t rescue them.

Sound familiar? Do you know anyone who falls in line behind what everyone else does? Who doesn’t think for themselves? Who is resolved to the fate that befalls those who went before them?

It’s an easy trap to fall into. We look at someone who has a degree of success that we want to attain, and we attempt to replicate their success. In fact, the easiest path to follow is one that someone else has already cleared for us.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach. Tried and true is the safe, easy way to go.

Here’s the problem, though. If all you do is fall in line behind someone else, you don’t have the luxury of seeing what lies ahead of them. And that can be a dangerous situation to be in. You also miss out on opportunities that may be just off the beaten path.

The most exciting path that you’ll take in life is one that you forge yourself. It fuels your sense of adventure and daring. It creates envy and admiration in those around you. And it will take you places never-before discovered. And we’re not just talking about geography either. You can take a different path in your home life, at work, in your art or creative side, or any component that makes up your life’s existence.

Of course, not everyone is cut out to be a leader, so it is OK to be a follower. Just know who you are following, and for what reason, and what their ultimate destination may be. Or else you too may find yourself falling off the cliff with the other lemmings.

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Paul McGuire

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In addition to being the author and curator of Affluent Student. Paul is a Dave Ramsey Certified Coach. He is husband to Kami and father of Will, Nick, and Ashley. Paul has been featured as a guest blogger on Dan Miller’s website at 48Days.com and YourTeensMoneySkills.com. Paul is a leadership and professional development manager and is a nine-year veteran of the United States Coast Guard.

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