(WHAT IF?) What will your life look like in 5 years from now? What do you want to see compared to what you see today? This episode is very different from the normal short story. Since this is episode 6 and we’re coming right after the new year, I thought I would do a bit of dreaming with you while sharing a really cool way for you to dream BIG as well.
So, join me in this imagined interview with myself and an interviewer 5 years from now. Step into the world of my dreams and learn a little about how I got to where I am today. I hope you enjoy and I hope this helps you take your dreams to the next level!
Today, I’m going to do something a little different as this is episode 6 and a special milestone in my mind. Halfway to the full year and also coming right after the New Year I thought this was perfect timing to do what I’m going to do. Dream. Instead of a traditional short story, I’ve put something together here that is still for your entertainment, but it is also an exercise in dreaming that you can all try on your own. You’ll also get to learn a lot about myself along the way.
Today’s story is called, “Inter-View.” “Inter” is a latin prefix that means “between.” And “to view” is to see or look at something. So, this story is all about an attempt to view what life might look like between what I see now and what I might see in the future. It’s a dreamed up interview with myself and some interviewer. It’s a podcast interview, within this podcast. Like a dream within a dream… it’s a podcast Inception!
For as long as I can remember I would do this and I still do this all the time. I’ll have a new idea for something I want to create, try, do, etc. and my mind immediately takes me into an imaginative interview where I am simultaneously visualizing the success of that idea, and also brainstorming about my path to get there. How did I get there to that interview from this new idea? You know that person who talks to themselves… well, I might be that person. Talking to myself in my head.
I think these interviews are just my way of clarifying what I hope to achieve from that new idea, and they also help me explore different pathways, and different perspectives around that idea. They help me dream bigger and bolder and see a way that no one else has seen. Where will this podcast go? Where will my other projects and ideas lead me? I have no idea, but I can imagine some really amazing paths and potential directions. And I’m going to share them with you today.
So, as you listen today, I’m going to give you it all. I’m going to tell you, through this interview, most of my dreams and my goals and desires for the future. I’m also going to tell you a little about my journey and how I got to where I am today.
As I explain in Design Your Life: Like an Architect, as we go through life, our experiences and our own growth changes us and what we may want in life. So, I don’t know if all the things I want today, I will still want in five years from now. I don’t know if new opportunities will open before me that change my course, or if a new experience will change my perspective. The idea is to be able to change the World around you to match the changes inside of you.
This interview exercise is something you can all do and I encourage you to try it. If you don’t have aspirations to be interviewed one day, then make it a conversation with your grandchildren, or a close friend. Still an interview, but maybe a little more personal even. What questions would they ask you, or what would you want to tell them about your life? Now, I went a little further and threw in some extra creativity here for you to make it more entertaining, but you can just write questions and answers.
Today, you’ll hear some musical interludes, some other surprises, and another guest appearance by my wife, Victoria, playing the role of Melissa Rosen, the interviewer. I hope you enjoy and I hope it inspires you to dream bigger for the years ahead.
If you go to the blog post for this episode, I’ll lay out specific ways to make the most out of this exercise. Questions to ask yourself, the mindset to do it well, and so on.
Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter on my website and follow me on instagram and facebook to be a part of where this Podcast is going. I want to hear what story genres are your favorite, what episodes spoke to you, what takeaway ideas inspired you. I look forward to connecting with you more. Ok….
The following dream interview takes place 5 years from now. Let’s get to it…
Melissa: Hello everyone, today on our show we have Derek Henig, aka The Roaming Scholar. Derek is a NYT best selling author, his podcast is on the Top 100 list, and his YouTube channel has reached over 5 million subscribers. Derek is changing the conversation around Education; teaching and showing that there is always a way to pursue our passions as a career.
Derek wants his listeners, viewers, and readers to question the path they’re on or the suggested paths put before them. He wants us to think if we’re doing what we really want. Are we throwing caution to the wind a bit, and giving this life of ours, everything we’ve got?
His own journey echos this message as he has evolved and incorporated all of his passions into his work. From writing stories, making music, creating online courses, to making Youtube videos, he seems to always be making something new. His latest endeavor combines an educational/motivational talk with a sort of broadway-esque show experience. Derek performs a show with an amazing group, and then interacts with his audience in a completely immersive experience that I can personally say is extraordinary.
Today we’re here to learn more about his story and get to the details of where he’s going, and where he came from. Derek is here live on our Podcast to answer my questions and to have some fun as we get to know this man shaking up what it means to create your own path. I am your host, Melissa Rosen, and this is CHANGE MAKERS.
Melissa: Welcome to our show, Derek, we’re really excited to have you on today.
Derek: Happy to be here, and that was quite the introduction, thank you for that.
Melissa: Just reading off the facts… I think we could say that it’s your journey that made it quite the introduction.
Derek: [laughs] Well, thank you all the same.
Melissa: So, Derek, why don’t we jump right into things here?
Derek: sounds great.
Melissa: When I look at your journey, and when you’ve talked about it in other interviews, it seems like things really took off in 2019 and 2020 for you. You’ve described those years as your “Einstein Years.” Tell us about what you meant by that and those years of 2019 and 2020.
Derek: Absolutely. So, first off, I’m not comparing myself to Einstein in terms of intelligence or anything like that, but more to do with a comparison in terms of production. I’ll explain… So, 1905 was what they call the Miracle Year or year of miracles for Einstein. He released 5 papers in that one year and it’s those papers that we best know him for. E=mc^2 and Relativity and other theories all came out in that one year.
My years of 2019 and 2020 weren’t exactly miracles in terms of revolutionizing our understanding of the Universe, but more on a production level, everything seemed to come pouring out of me really fast and in my opinion, really well. I finished my novel, which was sort of sitting dormant for two almost three years before that. It was quickly picked up by a publisher and on the NYT bestseller list before 2021 rolled around. The Podcast started taking off in a big way as well, and my YouTube channel grew to I believe it was over 100,000 subscribers in that first year. None of those were the goals. I wasn’t chasing subscribers, or listeners, I was just pouring myself out into the World in every way because I was done holding anything back, and I see that as similar to how Einstein poured himself out into the World in 1905. He got a Nobel Prize… I got YouTube subscribers, lol.
Melissa: Tomato, TomAto… lol…
Melissa: So, what was the secret for the mass production? Just more time?
Derek: Well, a little more time and maybe a better use of my time for sure, but the main thing I think was just a shift in myself to worrying less about what other people thought or might think about what I was doing and just do what I felt was right in my heart. I had Bruce Lee in my head a lot at that time and his message that all you need to worry about in life is to Be your authentic self… and everything else will take care of itself. That’s definitely a life long goal and focus for me, to just keep being my authentic self and obviously, everything else works itself out.
Melissa: When did you feel like you “made it”? Was it the novel being published? Or the growth of the Podcast, YouTube? Maybe having Oprah give your Podcast a shout out?
Derek: Great question and I’d actually say none of the above actually. I mean… Oprah listening to my Podcast is pretty incredible, being interviewed on The Ellen Show was really special, but for me, I made it before all of that.
There was this journey I was on since graduating College to really find what I wanted to do and who I was in a way. Feeling like I made it was the feeling I got when I started pursuing writing with The Podcast. Making the decision to stop trying to grow a business I didn’t want to grow anymore and instead pursue what I knew already was what I wanted to do. That was making it in my mind. I kind of just said it, but it was really starting to be my authentic self more fully than ever before and that is a feeling of success you can’t buy. Everything else worked itself out along the way. I think the reason it all works out is that you’re following your heart more, so I had more passion in my life than ever before, and more desire to share what I created than ever before. There was no more fear to share… I wanted everyone to listen to that Podcast. I was and am still really proud of it.
Melissa: We’ll definitely get more into your journey after College later. For now, let me ask about your current endeavor. Your shows/performances/talks, lol… you’ve really just kicked that off, what are your hopes with that and does that mean putting other things on hold, like The Podcast?
Derek: Nothing will be on hold, no. I’ll start with that. The Podcast and the YouTube channel are two things I want to maintain no matter what. It’s sort of my consistent connection with “the people” lol… I just love it so much and don’t want to stop it. I will be giving myself a little break with the podcast by having 4 of the stories written by others as well as 4 different musicians to work on the music for those episodes. I’ll act as more of a producer for those episodes, with some guidance and writing just the take-away ideas. These artists don’t need much direction if any from me, they’re amazing, but it’s just about making sure the message is consistent to what I’m trying to deliver. I’m really excited for those and can’t wait myself to see how they turn out.
Melissa: Wow, that’s fantastic. Are you looking for writers or do you already have them?
Derek: I already have them. Right now it’s about helping certain people who went through my Architect Program who I loved their writing samples and music, but in the future maybe I can run a contest or something.
Melissa: Well, well, aspiring writers and musicians… stay alert!
Melissa: So, to get back to the original question.. I know I threw a few at you… but what are your hopes with the shows you just started doing?
Derek: I guess my hopes are the same as with anything I’ve put out there. To fill your day with something good. I’ve had that phrase in my head since the beginning of the Podcast and it’s just stuck with me. It’s entertainment, and education wrapped into one. And I also feel like you don’t have to be someone who is lost to get something out of these shows… in fact, wherever you are on your journey, I feel like these shows are something good for everyone. Some need direction, others need motivation, others inspiration, and others just a positive bit of entertainment. We don’t always watch a motivational video because we need motivation… sometimes it’s just to keep the things you let into your world positive. That was the lesson of my second Podcast episode… The Missing Sheriff… because it’s so important.
Melissa: Parker the Sheriff!
Derek: Yea! Wow, nice memory.
Melissa: Did I not mention I Love your Podcast?
Derek: No you didn’t, but thank you.
Melissa: You’re welcome… so, where were we… right, Where are you going to be performing? So far, you’ve only done a few shows to select viewers like myself as teasers. What’s the plan?
Derek: It’s going to be a bit selective. I don’t have the desire to do like a 3 year long tour around the World or something like that. Our daughter is going to be 5 next year and I don’t want to be away all the time. So, the plan is to settle in select cities for an extended stay and tour that area for a bit before moving on. So 3 months in the NE playing in NYC, Boston, and so on, 3 months in the SE, 3 months in the NW and 3 months in the SW. We’re still obviously bouncing around a lot, but at least we can have a home base for 3 months at a time. Still working out all the details, but should be announcing dates and places soon. We’ll also be releasing a DVD or digital download of the shows with some really cool bonus features when it comes to the audience interaction part. You’ll get to choose questions that the audience asked and see the responses to them. It should be really cool. Every show will be slightly different as well, so we might even have different versions of the whole performance on the DVD.
Melissa: Wow, that’s amazing, so even if people can’t get to see you, they can still see the performances.
Derek: Exactly… it’s a limited run, but I still want as many people as possible to be able to see it.
Melissa: Great, and then what happens after that year? More books? Something else?
Derek: Yes, and yes. Lol. There will definitely be some books coming, and some other cool things in the works as well…
Melissa: Well, you can’t just leave us with some “cool things in the works” lol … can you elaborate?
Derek: Sure, lol… well, there will be another fiction novel coming with the same publisher as the first book. That’s one thing…
Derek: haha … we have some more online courses in the works, and perhaps a movie or two as well.
Melissa: Interesting! A movie around your first book, or something else?
Derek: Both, is the hope… we are still in talks with a certain studio on a number of ideas, including bringing, “Words of Wisdom,” to the screen. I can see you itching to tell me to go further and don’t worry I am…
Melissa: [laughs] yes please!
Derek: Well, I have 5 years of short stories written for the Podcast, so there are a number of stories there that I’d love to take further and expand into novels as well as some other story ideas I’ve kept close to the chest. The idea is to try to connect my publishers with the studio to almost do a joint deal. If we can find at least one of those story ideas that both parties are interested in, then I can write the book and screenplay for the same story. My hope is that if all goes well, I can continue on that vein or even just write a couple stand alone screenplays.
And random thought, but can I just say how comfortable this chair is?
I’m dead serious, I have to get one of these.
Melissa: I’ll definitely look into it for you.
Derek: Thank you.
Melissa: any time [laughs]. So, wow, I’m definitely looking forward to the movie releases already! Will you be playing a role in any of the films?
Derek: ahh, now that is a good question. And the answer is maybe. I am giving myself a lot of good experience with acting over the next year with my shows, and I’ve also been getting acting lessons from my cousin so I can really make the performances great. As for the movies, I can definitely see myself entering that World, but I think it depends on whether I’m right for the role or not, and if I can nail an audition. No guarantees there, but I can definitely see myself in a few of the roles I’ve written. Regardless where it leads, I’d like to try it if it feels right.
Melissa: Very cool, any roles in particular stand out from your stories that you see yourself playing or wanting to play?
Derek: Well, I’m not the right age yet, but sometime in the future I’d love to play George from my very first Podcast episode. It’s a special story to me just because it’s the first, and sort of has a Walter Mitty kind of quality to the adventure which I love. A number of other ones as well including some I won’t mention until some deals are made. Don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up.
Melissa: I promise I won’t tell…
Melissa: Ok, so, where do you see all of this leading in your future? You seem to be a man with a plan.
Derek: I see a lot happening in the next five years, or at least a lot of possibilities, and a lot of it is an exploration of sorts as well. If anyone out there has went through my Architect Program, you know I mention how I go through it every year myself and I still do. The point is that experiences change us, so it’s good to have new experiences and see what that sparks in you. I’ve always been obsessed with movies, and I loved making movies as a kid. Once I got my hands on my mom’s video camera I was off making some movie with my cousins. I loved doing that. Coming up with a story, figuring out how to film it with one take of the camera. Then, presenting the movie to the adults. I loved that.
I’ve been able to explore that more with the YouTube channel being a writer and director of sorts, it’s re-sparked that interest of making movies from the ground up. The next five years or so will be all about me jumping into the world of film making and seeing where it leads. First as a writer, then maybe actor, then maybe producer or director one day. I can see it as being something I’d love, but the idea is to try things and see if you really really love it. That’s what I’m doing. If I love it, I’ll learn it.
Melissa: I’d love to see one of those early movies you made as a kid!
Derek: Me too, but I have no idea if they even exist anymore. Would be a cool find.
Melissa: So, if you love the movies, how does one learn to be a Director when others go to school for years to learn that?
Derek: Well, there’s more than one way to learn something, and there are a ton of directors who didn’t go to school for it… a lot of them were actors first and learned directing along the way. The idea with anything is that if you don’t try you’ll never know if you would have loved it. I am fascinated with being involved in every stage of the process of a project. Like, for the Podcast I get to produce everything and same for YouTube, but my Team fills in where I’m weak or just makes what I want come out even more amazing than what I have in my head. So, maybe in the end, Producer might be the role for me when it comes to movies. If I have a vision, a great director will be abler to make it better. That’s the same for my team now. I have a vision for a video, my Team helps make it better, and the same goes for the Podcast. There’s not enough time to master every skill, so sometimes you have to rely on the mastery of your team. And other times, if you love something enough and have a strong enough desire, you’ll learn it. I might not be a director for 20 years, but I could definitely learn how to do it in 20 years. 10 years.
Melissa: Very true. So, it’s all about following your interests, and if you want to do it enough, you’ll figure out the way in time.
Derek: Exactly. With enough time, anything is possible.
Melissa: Ok, last question before we take a quick break … What is your BIG future dream? 20, 30 years down the line? Anything pop into your head?
Derek: Oh, definitely things pop into my head. haha. I’m a dreamer for sure. I never lack dreams. Let’s see… well I already mentioned expanding my role in terms of movies perhaps. And again, it all depends. I will definitely be writing more shows and returning to performing on stage in the future… maybe on Broadway would be incredible. I love the audience interaction and as much as I love movies, I’ve also always loved live theater. It’s all about stories… I love stories.
The big, big dream, though, is to one day open a school, or several schools in the way I think education should be structured. More exploration for the students and more choice available and self study and so on. More hands on learning and actual doing. I learn by doing and I think that’s one thing missing in education. Too much theory, not enough experimenting.
That’s one of the reasons behind starting the Podcast actually. First off, it was a perfect combination of so many of my interests and passions into one project. Second, is that it gave me and still gives me the never ending opportunity and need for growth. The best way to be a better writer is to write and learn from what you did well or didn’t do well. Same goes for music, and so on. I also need to keep getting better or the stories will get old, boring, and not leave people entertained.
Melissa: Well, one thing for sure that we can all take away from the first half of this interview, is that we all need to start dreaming bigger! Thank you for your answers, Derek.
Derek: my pleasure
Melissa: We will return after a short message from our sponsor and delve into the past with Derek. We’ll be back after this…
Melissa Speaks The Ad:
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Melissa: Welcome back to Change Makers! Let’s get right back into the questions!
Derek: let’s do it.
Melissa: Ok, so we’ve heard of your dreams and goals for the future, so, now, I’d like to delve into your past a bit.
Derek: Sounds good, fire away.
Melissa: You mentioned before about the journey you were on since graduating College. I want to get into the details of what that journey was and how it led to where you are now. So, my first question is just, when was the beginning of this journey? and why was it a new journey?
Derek: There’s no exact moment, but I’d say the beginning was during the year before graduating College, so 2008-2009. I was studying abroad in London that year. Up to that point in College I had already changed my major three times, yet I was there still feeling lost. I didn’t have a dream that excited me and I was definitely getting a little discouraged and sort of feeling desperate for answers.
Melissa: So, in that desperation, what changed that opened up a new journey?
Derek: The change was just a shift in my focus. I started realizing I was looking outside instead of inside for answers. I was looking to my parents or to some other experience in my life to give me the answers. But I was also starting to understand that the only person that can figure this out is myself. You can get guidance, but you still have to make the choices. You have to feel it in your heart if it’s right for you. A path may make sense logically, but if it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right.
Melissa: Can you give an example of what you mean?
Derek: Well, for me, Engineering was a logical path because I was very good with math and science, but while I was in class and working towards it it just didn’t feel right to me. Something was missing. So, that’s why I kept changing my Major. Mostly in Engineering, like Electrical to Civil, to Mechanical, and finally to Biomedical. I didn’t know where else to go, and up to that point the logic of what was on paper wasn’t leading me anywhere I felt good about. So, long story short, just because you’re good at something, doesn’t mean it’s the right path for you. Skill and passion don’t always go hand in hand. In fact, logically, writing was my weakest subject, but I loved it to the point where I became really good at it.
Melissa: Ok, so you start to realize this path isn’t the right one for you, where did your insides steer you then? Lol, If you were looking for answers on the inside, what answers did you find?
Derek: I found music.
Melissa: A good find for sure. Lol
Melissa: can you elaborate?
Derek: of course… so, I guess I can say that Music was my first step into being my authentic self. For sure. I mean, Music was the only thing I was sure about at that point in my life. Period. I loved playing guitar, and writing songs. It was the one thing I could say for certain that I wanted to be a part of my life forever so naturally, perhaps not logically, I decided to give up a career in Biomedical Engineering to be a singer songwriter. lol
Melissa: lol, quite the shift.
Derek: yes it was, and made for quite the interesting conversation with my parents.
Melissa: Oh wow, I can only imagine.
Derek: I gave them the great news about a week before graduation. Lol Definitely funny now, when I think about it, but wasn’t so funny then.
Melissa: How did they take that news?
Derek: I think they took it pretty well considering. In my fantasy World they were going to be really happy for me that I found this passion of music, lol, we would all cheer and they would start throwing ideas out on how I can succeed as a musician, but it went a little differently. It was a little more confusion, which I get. I know that they just wanted me to be happy and wanted to help me find my way, and I hope they know that I know that lol… but I also finally realized that I’m the only one who knows the path for me. At least I was figuring that out. And music was my anchor.
Melissa: So, moving back home, how did your pursuit into music go?
Derek: It went well, it was fun, got to do some really cool things and play in cool places, and met some great people, had awesome band mates and friends, but it all sort of fizzled out over the years. Partly from people moving, but mostly because of me I think.
Melissa: Fizzle, how, and why because of you?
Derek: Well, I was passionate about music, but passion isn’t everything. I had this desire to teach people something, to inspire others to follow their dreams, through music, but no one is going to a bar to get inspiration or learn a new perspective, lol… they’re just going for a good time. Plus, I don’t like going to the bar really, it’s not where I go to have a good time. Eventually I realized I was pursuing music according to how others around me did it, and not in a way that suited me.
Melissa: And now, with your shows, you get to do it your way.
Derek: Exactly. I love listening to great music, but the atmosphere I like is not the bars and so on. It’s just not for me, but I love the atmosphere of a broadway show, or a TED talk experience. A classical music concert. It’s playing Carnegie Hall versus playing Madison Square Garden. Both incredible venues to play, and both very different, and my preference was Carnegie Hall. I still want to entertain, just in the kind of atmosphere I’d want to be entertained in.
Melissa: Oh, very cool, so is that officially one of your tour locations? Carnegie Hall?
Derek: ummm, well I’m not supposed to say anything, so that was a mistake, but… with all probability, yes. It’s all still in the works, but everything seems to be coming together smoothly.
Melissa: Well, how cool will that be? Very exciting.
Derek: Yea, I’m trying to contain myself until it’s all official, but it’s been hard, lol
Melissa: I can only imagine, wow. So, as much as I want more details here, I’ll move on.
Derek: Thank you. Lol
Melissa: When you moved back home after College, you were pursuing music as we know, but I also know you had other pursuits other than music… so, what else was going on in your life at that time?
Derek: Well, I was also trying to navigate my home life so I teetered with ideas of getting my Masters degree, and getting a job in the biomedical field. I took a couple classes at Stony Brook University to make a dent in that Masters degree if I decided to go that route, and applied to Masters programs and went on job interviews. I did all of that to, in a way please my parents, but also because logically I knew their ideas made sense and I was still confused. So, I went back to following that logic for a time, but it all just served as further clarification that it was not for me. Further clarification to trust the feeling and not the logic as much. Trust my intuition.
Melissa: What about those paths weren’t for you?
Derek: Well, for one, I don’t do well in a classroom setting. I get too fidgety and my mind wanders and I would always just end up filling my class time by writing thoughts in the margins of my notes, poems, song lyrics, and so on. Mostly though, I think it’s because my mind didn’t want to be there. I graduated college excited to be out of there. I was done sitting in a classroom and I wanted to DO something. I didn’t want to take another test, sit in another lecture, and be told something. I wanted to create, to do. Hence, going after music. Sitting in those classes at Stony Brook just re-confirmed that for me.
Melissa: And the job interviews?
Derek: Well, they were in line with a career in Biomedical Engineering, but I knew my heart wasn’t in it. Going for the interviews and walking in that direction and seeing my potential future there made me feel more dread than excitement. More dead end, than open field. The jobs didn’t interest me, and I felt that to take those jobs would be unfair to that business. Also, if I took one of those jobs, I would be denying what I already knew and it would have been a step backwards in my mind. I needed to pursue making an income in my own way.
Melissa: So how did you do that?
Derek: Well, as I said I couldn’t just take a job to take a job. I was done doing things just because. I needed my heart in it, and although my heart was in music, the money wasn’t there, at least not for original music.
Melissa: So, what did you do?
Derek: I started writing down all the things I was good at, interested in, and also all the things I wanted in a job. This was all the beginnings of what eventually became the Architect Program btw. But, that led me to a company called Mad Science, where I conducted Science Experiments to Elementary School Classes. It was fun for a while, but ultimately it wasn’t a great fit and then I found my way to Tutoring, which appealed to me because I could teach, but in my own way. I loved teaching, and teaching is an essential part of everything I do and I was figuring that out. Tutoring became the backbone for me for a long while.
Melissa: and around that time is when you started your tutoring company called, Roaming Scholars?
Derek: Yea, almost immediately after I started tutoring. The goal and desire for me has always been more and more freedom. All my progressions lead that way so Tutoring had more freedom than Mad Science did, and working for myself had more freedom than working for an agency. It made sense.
Melissa: and you ran Roaming Scholars for 6 years before transitioning in 2018 into what we know today…into The Roaming Scholar. The start of the Podcast, and writing.
Melissa: So, what led to making that switch? From running a tutoring company, to all the new pursuits?
Derek: Well, a lot of things. It comes back to that feeling, your intuition, over logic. I was feeling like it was simply time. Roaming Scholars took me as far as it could in my mind, and it was time for something else. Also, as I said before, music had fizzled out by that point and I think that was a big part of prompting the change… needing that back in my life, needing the creative pursuits back in my life. At that point everything was separate from each other which meant that my focus was split. I wanted a way to have the creative part of me at the front of my life and not on the side.
Melissa: So, how did you end up with the idea to start a Podcast?
Derek: I went through my Architect Program. lol. I wasn’t joking when I say I go through it just about every year. But seriously, I went through my Architect Program and the results that came out were The Podcast, teaching The Architect Program, teaching Life Design and really all of the other things that have poured out of me these last 5 years and even most of the things I’m going after in these next 5/10 years. But The Podcast was really the main thing for me.
Melissa: What was it about the Podcast idea that made it the “main thing”?
Derek: Well it had everything. It had music, writing, stories, teaching, inspiration, entertainment… it had nearly every interest of mine wrapped into one project. And the other thing too is something I mentioned before, that it enabled me to grow in the areas I wanted to grow in, like music and writing. I wanted to be better at writing so I could finish the book I was working on and do it well, and better at music so I could write the musical I had in my head.
Melissa: So how did the Podcast help you there?
Derek: I said before how the classroom setting doesn’t really work for me. I learn by doing and learning things along the way through reading, videos, and so on… almost more when I need to learn something than just to learn something.
So, the more I could play music, the more I could write, the better I was going to get. Plus, I think I said it earlier that just the challenge of keeping it interesting forced me to get better because I wanted it to stay interesting and fresh. I needed to throw in some piano instead of just guitar, I needed to experiment with First Person Point of View instead of just Third Person. I needed to try writing Mystery and Thriller, vs Adventure, vs Historical Fiction, and so on. The challenge wasn’t daunting, but instead really exciting. I look forward to that new challenge every month.
Melissa: That’s great. So, you chose a creative project or career that forced you to be better at the things you want to grow at.
Derek: Exactly, which is something I need. I struggle with just sitting down and studying. Without the motivation of something, or time pressure, I won’t get it done. That’s just me. As much as I loved guitar and music, I never wanted to sit and practice, but to make my music better for the Podcast, I would sit down and practice.
Melissa: I love it. Ok, and just backing up again, when you say the results from The Architect Program were The Podcast and so on, was that because of new interests?
Derek: A little, as I really just got into Audiobooks, and Podcasts a few years before, but I was also writing story ideas for books or movies when I was in College, so my list of interests didn’t change much. I’d say the big difference was with me personally which led to me being able to take the leaps forward.
Melissa: What differences?
Derek: The difference was just less fear and more belief. Specifically, I stopped listening to my fear of what other people may think of me and started believing that I can do whatever it is I wanted. You know you always think you have it figured out until you realize you don’t.
I thought I was doing this already, going after my dreams free of other people’s opinions, but I was still held down by that fear of what other people thought of me. What will they think of what I think? What will they think of my choices, my actions, my words? I got to a point where I finally didn’t care. I mean you want everyone to understand, but I didn’t need anyone to understand anymore and that’s a big difference.
Melissa: That makes it fit now and that is a big difference. Even if we know the way, we still have to have the courage to walk it.
Derek: Definitely. Well said.
Melissa: Thank you… So, that time, or just right after it is also what we discussed before as your Einstein Years, right?
Derek: yes, exactly! Which is so important to notice, because all that I made and put out into the World those years of 2019 and 2020 and obviously after… but all of that came after I first made the bigger internal leaps. I’ve continued to work at that regularly, and as a result I’ve become ready for bigger and bigger leaps forward externally. It starts slow, but it’s exponential, so once you start the process eventually it will all seem to “take off” out of nowhere, but it’s been a long time coming.
Melissa: Ok, last question. For those out there on the edge of pursuing a dream or not, afraid to take that first step, or to take the next big step forward. Any sage advice to get our listeners going?
Derek: Abandon logic a bit and stop being so reasonable all the time. There’s definitely something to be said about certain reasonable actions and logical steps like getting a job and making money to be financially independent, supporting your family, paying the bills, but in terms of your actual future, when considering your dreams… reasonable, logical, doesn’t work. Reasonable dreams are not dreams, they’re dreams peppered with fear. Dreams are supposed to be wild and extraordinary, magical. I did a lot of the reasonable in my life, partly out of necessity, and partly out of fear… but I also started putting my feat into the “why not?” Pool to see what happens. Why not try this? Why not throw caution to the wind a bit and risk failing at something I love, instead of risking failing at something I don’t? Why not start a Podcast? Why not say what you really feel? Why not make a YouTube video? Why not?
The main idea of my very first Podcast Episode, “The Toy Rocket,” was to just get started. Because, as George said… “Why not?”
Melissa: I love it! Really perfect. I felt the same way when I had the idea to start this Podcast. It was very unreasonable to everyone around me, but I just felt like I needed to do it… with no logical reason, no formal training, just that I loved the idea and loved interviewing people and learning about their stories. Why not? Really well put George… and Derek, Lol
Well, Derek, thank you so much for being here with us today and sharing your story and thoughts. You really are a Change Maker and I look forward to seeing what The Roaming Scholar will do in the next 5 years!
Derek: really, my pleasure.
Melissa: Next week on Change Makers we have the ever talented and ever-evolving Dwayne, The Rock, Johnson. Until next time, I am Melissa Rosen, and this is Derek, aka The Roaming Scholar…
Thank you all for listening to (or reading) this episode!
I hope you enjoyed and I hope you feel like taking on this fun exercise in dreaming for yourself. If you do, I created a post called, An Exercise in Dreaming, to give you some extra tips on how to do this well. Have fun and let me know how it goes!