DON'T BE IN A RUSH, BE URGENT

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KARL FOWLKES

CREATOR OF HUMILITY

LAW, MUSIC, CULTURE

I'm always excited to get into a discussion with Karl because we always go deep. He's a young guy who in his words has "always been the underdog." He graduated law school last year, passed the bar exam and now he's an attorney based in Philly. Karl realizes that he's not going to be ready in his twenties do everything on his own. But as long as he's building relationships with people who are also moving forward in their lives, it will all work out in the end.

THANKS FOR JOINING ME KARL. I'M REALLY EXCITED TO LEARN WHY PATIENCE IS SOMETHING THAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO YOUR LIFE.

I'm excited to be here man. I think my motto over the past couple months has really been "don't be in a rush, be urgent." Those are two different things. You don't have to be in a rush to move with urgency. I think a lot of people don't understand that balance. So I've been kind of just trying to understand that everyone's path is different, everyone's moment is different. You got to be urgent, you need to wake up and want it. But you can't be in a rush because you're going to make a lot of unwarranted mistakes when you're in a rush.

YEA I FEEL LIKE SOMETIMES WE JUST NEED TO BE MORE PRESENT RIGHT?

Yea, learning how to be present is tough too because we're always thinking about five years from now, two months from now. It's a balance man, I associate patience with balance because when you're balanced, patience is something that comes naturally. When you can see and not be afraid of what's going to happen tomorrow because we never know. We can try our hardest to really schedule our life and then life hits you. Then you have to adjust and you realize that you can't control these things. Life is going to run its course. I think that I've been developing patience by just understanding that I can't control every time something bad is going to happen in my life. But it took a while to lose that sort of control because I always thought I could control more but I can't.

WHY IS PATIENCE SOMETHING YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT?

Because it makes people go crazy. You look at people who are just never happy about where they are. They're always comparing themselves to other people on Instagram, Twitter, just everything. New York is the worst for that because there's always a guy walking around with better clothes. There's always a guy doing it better than you in the city. You're in that constant comparison of "man why is that not happening for me?" But you lose a lot of productivity thinking about those moments. Those are the worst moments you can spend in your day - thinking about other people and what they're doing.

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"You can't walk around thinking you're not doing enough all the time because you're going to go crazy."

HOW DO YOU PRACTICE PATIENCE?

You know for a while I did the "running away" tactic I'll call it, like getting off of social media. People do that, that's running away. I should be able to look at somebody's picture and not feel a certain way. I'm not going to run away from anything. You talk to yourself everyday, you wake up and you realize you are who you are, for better or worse. The day you get comfortable with that is the day practicing patience becomes easier. I feel like I had an epiphany where I realized that I am who I am and I can't do anything about it. It's going to happen the way it happens. I'll be urgent, I'll put my foot on the gas but I also won't overthink things.

WHAT WAS THE MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU REALIZED THAT YOU NEED TO BE MORE PATIENT?

Definitely over the past seven months. I think a lot of people get anxiety - it's a big thing. There were moments where I kind of freaked out over everything. I thought about where I needed to be, my job was stressing me out, this girl wasn't texting me back, etc. I realized that every situation would make me feel like the world was just mounting on me. One day I was just like, "I can't live like this." I'm going to drive myself off a cliff. I can't live the rest of my life not being happy, not seeing the fruits of life because things aren't happening the way I want them to happen. You know life isn't a schedule. Life isn't a big schedule where you say "by 30 I want kids" and "by 32 I want to be a millionaire." No, it doesn't happen like that and if you are living life like that, you're probably not living. Things change, that's what life is in a nut shell. With that being said, I think the patience piece is key because when things aren't happening the way you want you have to be able to see that angle. You can't lose sight of whatever your purpose is just because things aren't going your way. 

SO WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE?

I don't think anyone will ever believe me that's why I don't say it often. My purpose is definitely to help more people than I hurt. I mean to really bring joy and energy. I think I've been blessed with endless confidence and faith. Like the ability to really see the good in every situation and inspire. I think I really was blessed with that gift to always stay confident and stay focused. Not be down too hard on myself. I think only a special group of people have that if you look at history. The Martin Luther King's of the world - I'm not by no means comparing myself to that but if you look at those guys there was always that sort of, when things go bad they didn't go away. They focused. That's when they stepped up. 

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"My dad gave me the best advice in my life. He said "Do anything you want in this world but you're going to have to live with the consequences."

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST RISK YOU'VE EVER TAKEN AND DID IT PAY OFF?

That's a tough question to answer because I don't think I view anything I do as a risk. I think you make decisions where you weigh the pros and cons. I really form my thought process to think about what's the worst thing that can happen? I hear people say that moving to LA is their biggest risk. Well what happens if moving to LA doesn't work? You probably move back home. Simple as that. So how big of a risk was that? I'm fortunate enough to say that I have a home and I have people who provide for me. I can't say that anything I've done has been that sort of risk. I think there's other people who have less stability at home or around them where every decision they make is a bigger risk.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO ANYONE ON HOW TO LIVE A MORE MEANINGFUL AND CREATIVE LIFE?

Don't be afraid to be you.  Don't make this world make you feel bad because your different - because the world will. I coach kids in basketball AAU and I always tell them that this life ain't fair. That's just how it's always been. I think once you realize that life isn't fair you can be a lot more patient. I think you can really see the fruits of life.  I think my advice is just be you, ask these questions to yourself everyday and practice humility every day. Learn what it is to be humble. I think I strike a lot of people as not being humble but with every decision I make I go back and say "was that the right decision?" I think that takes humility, to look yourself in the mirror and be honest with that person. Not to just look yourself in the mirror and be like "I'm the greatest." No, to be honest with who that person is, that's humility. That's how you grow, that's how you become a better person. You have to be honest with yourself. Learn what it is to be humble but you have to be confident. Don't let someone say you're being to confident. Nah, know what your worth is and be confident. Step into a room and let that be your room.

Watch the full interview here: