Q&A: Author Po Bronson

For example, very rare was the person who ever found that a certain amount of money was enough and they were now free to make a change. People who tried to save up a lot of money to then be able to change often never did, or usually never did.

People who were working in situations they found unethical often didn't trigger a change until that unethical situation came and bit them directly and they were betrayed by someone they worked with or the company they worked for.

So the best way to enable a change without having to be forced into it by a crisis, as I've described is to begin by surrounding yourself with like-minded people, either people who also want to make a change in the direction you want to or who have already done it.

There's a powerful, transformative effect when you put yourself in a community of people. The change you desire simply becomes less complicated, more doable, more feasible, more realistic.

Bronson's Final Thoughts

Many of these questions revolve around, "How do I achieve my dream?" I'm concerned that the lean of the questions tells only half the story. While it's important to get what you love, it's also important to learn to love what you get. Quite a few stories in the book are of people who stumbled into something they never imagined doing and they unexpectedly discovered something to love about it.

In one of the stories that tends to get a lot of publicity because it's bizarre enough to be repeated, an investment banker becomes a catfish farmer in Mississippi. I think it's really important to note that he was not an outdoorsman; he didn't dream of being closer to nature and he never dreamed of being a catfish farmer or a farmer of any sort.

He left banking because it had become unethical and he discovered in farming a business that behaved very ethically, that was as cooperative as banking was cutthroat, and he found in it something to love, not because it was fish or cotton but because it was ethical.

My point is that asking this question is very often an urge for a better life, and pursuing your dreams — if you have them — is just one way to get there. It's just as common to stumble into it. But his story begins where all these stories being: with the consciousness that his life had to change.

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