3 unconventional New Year's resolutions that will transform your life

By Richie Norton

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 7 2014 7:00 a.m. MST

Maybe the smartest people in the world know something we don’t. Maybe they know that in order to be smart, in order to make significant contributions to the world and in order to spur significant change in their own lives, they sometimes have to act on ideas that others might initially perceive as stupid. "Stupid as the New Smart" infers that while an idea may appear to be inherently faulty, the idea is, in reality, sound and in your best interest to pursue.

Consider what I like to call "the three T's of stupidity": the telephone, the Model T and Twitter — all ideas that were once considered crazy, foolish or stupid that turned out to change the way we live. The New Smart is not inherently stupid. Rather, these ideas are simply labeled as such by yourself or others due to doubt, fear, confusion or lack of understanding.

The New Smart is highly creative, counterintuitive, innovative, beyond our comfort zone, making change, unconventional, leaning into fear, pushing through less-than-ideal circumstances, turning down the volume on critics and trusting the voice inside your own head. How many ideas, opportunities, businesses and lives are squandered because we mistakenly suppress those so-called “stupid ideas”? We all want to make the best possible decisions in life. Don’t allow life to pass you by because you are afraid of stupid.

Opportunities will come and go, but if you do nothing about them, so will you. Join the New Smart and stop being afraid of looking "stupid."

3. Live "Gavin's Law" and destroy excuses (such as lack of time, education or money).

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” — Viktor E. Frankl, author of "Man’s Search for Meaning"

Very shortly after the death of our son Gavin, my wife, Natalie, and I went to listen to a friend and mentor of mine who was giving a speech at a university near our home in Hawaii. After her presentation, she came to where we were sitting to say hello and to offer her condolences.

After chatting for a few moments, she looked Natalie straight in the eye, and abruptly asked, “So, what have you learned?” Admittedly, I was somewhat taken aback by the intensity of her question. Thankfully, Natalie — always on her toes — offered a gracious, eloquent and genuine response as I stood by, somewhat dumbfounded.

The months passed, but I couldn’t forget this question: “So, what have you learned?” That question changed my life. Suddenly, my life took on a very real sense of urgency. Life, in fact, has a time limit.

Transcendent to the sense of urgency I felt, I found myself face to face with the realization that circumstance was completely outside my realm of control. Not only this particular set of circumstances, but circumstance in general. I suddenly realized that if we are sitting around waiting — maybe even begging and pleading — for our circumstances to change so that we can finally live life the way we really want to live, chances are very good that we will stay stuck waiting forever.

There will always be a million reasons to wait until later. This is simply the nature of the animal called life.

My son Gavin taught me to live, today. I’ve summed up the lesson I learned from the deaths of my brother-in-law and my son into what I call Gavin’s Law:

"Live to start. Start to live."

When you live to start the ideas that press on your mind, you really will start living.

People are innately passionate about certain unique aspects of life. And people are blessed with bouts of clear and concise intuition that drive them toward distinct goals and aspirations within their jobs and their lives as a whole.

Yet many convince themselves not to start their ideas. They convince themselves that they must wait for that elusive day when they’ll finally have enough time (guess what? — you never will), enough education (there is always more to know), enough money (no matter how much you make, someone will always have more). People wait, and they wait, and they wait, until that fateful day when they wake up and realize that while they were sitting around, paying dues, earning their keep and waiting for that elusive “perfect time,” their entire life has passed them by.

There is no greater time than now to start moving toward achieving your goals. Don’t wait. Start stuff. Live to start your stupid ideas, and start to live a life without regret — a life filled with meaning, freedom, happiness, fun, authenticity and influence. After all, now is, in all actuality, the only time you’re truly guaranteed.

Richie Norton is the best-selling author of "The Power of Starting Something Stupid." Connect on Twitter: RichieNorton FB: Facebook.com/RichieNorton Blog: RichieNorton.com