John PD Bird may not know where he’s headed, but he know’s it’s higher than the lid on the jar.
By John PD Bird
Steve Harvey has long been a favorite entertainer of mine. Long before I knew he was a West Virginian, I felt a special connection with the man. You see, he knows how to connect with the common man because he was once a common man himself. I always look for those around me who are doing the very things I want to do, for inspiration and guidance. Mr. Harvey had a segment on his show a few years ago that spoke to me … directly to me.
Growing up in West Virginia, I have always heard more about what I couldn’t do as opposed to what I could do. I don’t mean to sound as if I grew up around negative people who didn’t believe in anyone. What I mean is that I have always had wild dreams! Most of my ideas leave people shaking their heads, thinking “you’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” Folks like to keep you grounded. Apparently, it is better to be safe than sorry. Steve Harvey and I would disagree.
In the segment I mentioned earlier, Steve Harvey gave an illustration of putting a flea in a jar. He said that a flea has a 36-inch vertical jump. If they jump and hit their heads on a lid, they will adjust their jump to avoid getting hurt. He then went on to tell that if those fleas had babies, the babies would, in turn, only jump as high as their parents.
My parents have surely had their hands full with me. When I was a boy, I had dreams of being a professional wrestler. I
loved the energy and charisma those guys had. That was strongly discouraged, so I settled for being a high school wrestler. It was fulfilling, but my old coach got pretty upset with me when I would try to fire up the crowd from the squared circle! I then shifted my focus to education. I was ferocious in my quest to become an educator. At the young age of 27, I found myself as a professor of Quantitative Analysis at West Virginia State University. I spent more time motivating others to fulfill their dreams than I did teaching statistics. Let’s face it: helping others become better than they were the day before is a lot more exciting than determining probabilities. During my tenure, I realized I had the lid on my jar. You see, I still have goals I need to achieve. I can’t tell my fellow West Virginians to go out in the world and do what they love, if I am standing still without doing everything I can to make the dreams my reality!
So against the better judgement of nearly everyone I talked to, I left WVSU and started a journey of living what I truly wanted to do: entertaining and motivating people to be the change they want to see! I have traveled back and forth between Nashville and Charleston, recording my first album “Loving, Losing and Living.” I have PD Bird and Friends t-shirts all over the world and my music is in at least 68 countries. I still have a long way to go before I can deem it a success, but I am happier than I have been in years. If I am being honest, I still do not know where I am going. All I can tell you for sure is that wherever I am headed, it is up!