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Burn Out Bright: Why Should We Live For More Than Just Getting By?

What are you living for and why? Who are you trying to impress? Is there a dream on your heart that you long to be fulfilled? If so, what is the driving force behind it?

Throughout my life, I have encountered numerous individuals who are existing, but they are not truly alive. Security trumps adventure; comfort outweighs exploration.

We hear it all the time: “pursue your dreams”, “live a daring life”, and “believe in yourself”, yet we often consider those words as mere fruit cake optimism, separate from the real world of failure, pain, and disappointment. The truth is, you’re right. Just believing in yourself doesn’t guarantee anything. Pursuing your dreams may leave you with heartache. Daring greatly may lead to extreme pain.

And still, I believe we must dream, dare greatly, and have belief in our potential to change the world. Why? If pain and heartache may be the result, what’s in it for us?


Throughout my time as an actor, I have experienced constant rejection, being told I’m not what the casting director is looking for, I’m not good looking enough for their agency, and I’m not talented enough.

One specific time, I spoke with the owner of the agency who represented me, hoping to end my agreement with his agency to explore other options. His agency didn’t believe in me and that was evident through all their actions. Other actors had informed me of more influential agents in the market, so I was compelled to explore other avenues. As we were talking, I told him that I desired to sign with an actor-specific agent who could get me more auditions for TV/film. When he asked which agents I was looking into, I told him…Here was his response:

“Andrew, I know that guy. I’m sorry to tell you this, but you’re not talented enough to be represented by him. He wouldn’t give you the time of day.”

I chose to dismiss this rejection, despite how much it hurt. After submitting my information, guess what? That very agent contacted me and signed me several days later. Had I not taken the risk to be rejected, I would never have realized my full potential. After years of rejection, heartache, and pain, my hard work resulted in one of my greatest artistic achievements.

“If we’ve only got one try

If we’ve only got one life

If time was never on our side

Then before I die

I want to burn out bright”

– Switchfoot, “Burn Out Bright”

Nothing in this life is easy; that is simply a false perception of our society’s view of “playing it safe”. How often have I spoken with someone who has worked in a career that they dislike, but they stayed for 20+ years because of the “security”? What security? We all die eventually; what we do between our birth and our death is of utmost importance, not simply a life of comfort.

Want a “safe” career in a specific field in order to make six figures? That typically takes a lot of hard work in school and climbing the “corporate ladder” beforehand. As I said, nothing is easy. What is tragic is that we often choose the more safe, guaranteed route of mediocrity, rather than a life of vision and purpose.

Had I not built up the courage to ask my wife out on our first date, I would never know the joys of her love and friendship. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack, but it was worth it. Had I never chased a security guard down the hallway at Fox Sports in LA, I would never have gotten a temp job when I was without work (yes, sadly, this really did happen).

What are you avoiding in the effort to play it safe? What dreams are on your heart that you wish you could pursue? What excuses are you making?

Be forewarned: you will experience failure, pain will find you on the journey, and your heart will be broken. But oh, how much more you will depend upon God, find purpose in each moment, and joy in the relationships you make along the way!

Are you willing to leave your life of false security and begin a life that burns out bright?