Wrecked – An Interview with Jeff Goins
I want to begin by saying that Wrecked is a gift. An invitation to a better, more purposeful life. As I was turning the pages I could envision my journey to where God has brought me, and was compelled to commit and endure more than ever.
For our generation and the one coming after us, I think Jeff has done a rare thing – put out the right book for the right time.
After reading Wrecked, Jeff graciously granted me an interview so I could dig a little deeper and share our thoughts with you. Here we go.
The Wrecked Interview with Jeff Goins
Jeff, Wrecked opens up with “Everyone in this world is searching, searching for something to give meaning to life.” As you turn the pages, you reveal your story thus far. Looking toward the future, what are you searching for now?
Jeff Goins: I’m still searching. For meaning, for significance, for life. I find it in bits and pieces, but I think one of the greatest lies we believe is that we’ll ever fully arrive. That one day, we’ll be completely satisfied. That’s not true, and it’s part of the adventure of life to always be searching.
The challenge, though, for me is learning to be content in the midst of this tension — always striving for more, while relishing the beauty of the moment. I haven’t perfected it, but at least I’m aware.
One of my favorite moments in the book was “Children do not wait all year for two weeks of vacation. They don’t spend their lives doing things they hate so they can earn the right to do what they really want.” Being a new father yourself, what has your little boy taught you?
Jeff: I’m smiling as I type this. He’s taught me a lot of things, but the main thing is wonder. He has these huge, blue eyes, and he uses them to swallow the whole world every time they open. He is so mystified with his surroundings that it’s hard to not catch a little of that beautiful curiosity.
It’s amazing how we are always trying to earn things. I resonated with what you said about self-actualization. How we think it’s about becoming the best version of ourselves, but it’s really about losing ourselves. How do you put “losing yourself” into practice now? Is it something you have to consciously work on?
Jeff: It most evidently manifests in my family life. Being a husband and now a new dad, I have less time to myself than ever before. I’m learning to prioritize the things that need to get done over the things that I’d like to get done. And the biggest struggle is setting some things aside — good things — with the knowledge that they may never get done. It’s a great lesson is doing what really matters and being okay with not doing the rest when you don’t have time.
There’s a lot of wisdom in that statement Jeff. Being able to set good things aside to do what is necessary, and releasing yourself from the pressure/guilt of not finishing. Being a new parent as well, that is a tension I am learning to live in.
As the book continues, it matures to more adult themes: making hard choices, committing even when you don’t want to, and embracing pain. At first, this appears to be at odds with the earlier childhood truth, but it seems to be speaking more to the natural progression of life. Could you weigh in more on this?
Jeff: Everybody does stuff they don’t want to do. Children are forced by their parents to brush their teeth and go to bed earlier than they’d like (at least, I was). When you become an adult, you don’t have to do any of those things, but you probably should. The hardest part of growing up is realizing that no one will make you do those things, but there are some tough consequences if you don’t do them (I’m not just talking about hygiene anymore). So I think the challenge of becoming who you are is learning discipline in a way that brings joy — not because you love doing those things, but because you love the result they bring.
I look to older men in my family and they have mastered this delayed gratification. Wrecked is a wonderful eye-opener in this way, encouraging tough commitments so we can grow and learn from discipline.
What are you afraid to do with your life? Maybe that's EXACTLY what you should be doing: http://t.co/s19MXifG
— Jeff Goins (@JeffGoins) July 28, 2012
In Wrecked, you say “There is something important about a life full of moments that tear us apart and break our hearts and help us understand our purpose.” Upon reading that, it reminded me of how a kid playing in the dirt is messy and beautiful at the same time. It’s as if the contrast created by the messiness/brokenness is what sets the moment apart. Your thoughts?
Jeff: I love that image. I’m reminded of what my friend, The Nester, says about this: “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”
You make a lot of great references throughout Wrecked to movies and music. One I’m surprised that you didn’t make was Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd. Whenever you would talk about being comfortable and ignoring needs it would play in my head. As a Pink Floyd fan, how did this slip by you?
Jeff: Man! You got me. I don’t know, but it did. I should probably re-title the book, “Comfortably Numb.” That’s exactly what it’s about.
There was a point in the book where you state “I was tired of choosing not to see what everyone else didn’t see.” I love it. We must accept that our ignorance is a choice that has consequences. How would you encourage others to make this choice to “see?”
Jeff: It’s hard. Because I don’t think it is a choice. You can’t choose to not be blind. Someone or something has to open your eyes. What you can choose to do is go somewhere you’re not used to being. And just stay there until your eyes begin to open. It’s the experience of compassion that gives us a deeper vision into reality. Of course, we can’t simply choose to become more compassionate people, but we can intentionally expose ourselves to painful situations — the only place where true compassion grows.
I hope you realize the somebody we’re all deferring to (to do the right thing) is YOU. http://t.co/YHq1RmrY
— Jeff Goins (@JeffGoins) July 28, 2012
Another thing you hit on is the cost of doing nothing, of perpetually waiting for confirmation and more information. This seems to be pandemic in young Christians in America – getting so caught up in wanting to make the “right” choice that we never begin. What would you tell someone who is stuck in the waiting place?
Jeff: For you, there is no wrong choice. Sure, there is GOOD and BAD. But most of the time, we’re choosing between “good” and “better” or “bad” and “worse.” The wrong choice to make is to not decide at all.
Agreed, I’ve often encouraged readers that success = decisiveness. The only wrong decision is simply not making one.
This site is all about finding Adventure in everyday life. Something you wrote that jumped out at me was “An adventure is not an end to itself, but a means to something bigger.” I couldn’t agree more. Until you have your adventure – until you get wrecked – life is waiting to begin. As you go through different seasons in life, adventures change. My latest adventure was being woken up at 5:30am by my 4 day old boy, and taking him outside to watch the sunrise and see the beauty of creation. It was awesome. What was your last adventure?
Jeff: Well, parenting certainly is one. Before that, I took a trip to Savannah with my wife, which was full of unexpected twists and turns. And before that, I went to Puerto Rico last summer with my best friend Dustin (who appears in the book), where we led a mission trip.
Like you, I also love things that are old-fashioned. Writing with a fountain pen and inkwell, black and white movies, shaving with a badger brush and safety razor to name a few. What is another old-fashioned thing you enjoy that has yet to be revealed?
Jeff: 1950s-style glasses.
Is there anything I didn’t ask that you’d like readers to know?
Jeff: Just this: You can’t become who you are without pain, without trial. We grow when we are uncomfortable. And in a society that praises the status quo, we have to be careful we don’t miss our callings in life. If you’re playing it safe, it may be time to change.
Change only happens when we come down from the clouds and deal with the messiness of life.
— Jeff Goins (@JeffGoins) July 24, 2012
Thanks so much for sharing Jeff. I’ll end this interview with a sentence from Wrecked that I think accurately describes the gift that your book is, and why it is a must read:
“Something deep is at work here, something profoundly spiritual.”
About Cole Bradburn
I'm a writer and doctor in lifelong pursuit of health, happiness, and adventure. I currently live in Raleigh, NC with the love of my life and our amazing little boy.