On his way to work, Nathan Apodaca’s truck broke down along an Idaho highway. Most people’s reaction might, understandably, be one of frustration or anger. A person’s reaction might even border on despair if their dilapidated truck had 320,000 miles on it; they were coming from a broken motor home with no running water; and they were about to be late for a manual labor job which they depended upon for their livelihood. All of the aforementioned were true in Apodoca’s situation.
Fortunately for humanity, Apodaca responded in a different way and has provided four powerful lessons in how we can better live our lives and make the world a better place.
If you are not already familiar with Apodaca’s remarkable story, instead of anguising over his unfortunate situation, the 37 year-old father simply grabbed a bottle of Cranberry Spray juice, jumped on a skateboard that was in his truck, and cruised into work.
Along the way, Apodaca pulled out his smartphone and recorded a 26 second Tik Tok video of himself lip-syncing to Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 song “Dreams,” while chugging from a bottle of Ocean Spray cranberry juice. He got to his job at a potato factory with two minutes to spare and, after a brief internal debate about whether he should post the video, Apodaca hit the post button and promptly forgot about it.
By the time he reached his first work break, it already had 100,000 views. By lunch, it had reached 400,000 views, by the end of the day, it had a staggering 1 million views. The video has now been viewed 50 million times (and counting). Additionally, over 200,000 tribute videos have been made (including versions by Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, Jimmy Fallon and Steve Bullock — the governor of Montana.) All together the tribute videos have garnered an additional one billion views!
So what can we learn from Apodaca? Here are four key take-ways:
Attitude is Everything: Apodoca was in a bad situation. Few people would have criticized him if he complained and moaned about his situation. He did not. Instead, he made the best of a bad situation by grabbing a bottle of juice, jumping on a longboard, and, in his words, “vibing to a good song.” Next time something bad happens to you, ask yourself “Is it really that bad? Can I react in a different way?” The answer is always yes.
Live in the Present Moment: Imagine, for a moment, having a broken down car, no running water at home, and facing the real possibility that you might lose a job which you desperately need because you can’t make it to work on time. It would likely cause a great many of us to go down a rabbit hole of negativity by allowing our thoughts to spin out of control about the future — How am I going to repair my truck? Do I need to get it towed? Where will I find the money to repair my truck when I can’t even afford running water? What if I’m late for my shift and lose my job? Apodaca didn’t allow his mind to go to any of those places, instead he chose to live in the moment. Watch the video and notice his unadulterated joy; his carefree, calm demeanor, the wind on his face, and the morning sun rising. Mystics and the sages, from across the ages, have all said that the only thing any of us really possess in life is the present moment. Apodaca demonstrates through his actions — and his being — the truth of this ancient wisdom. True freedom comes from living in the present — not worrying about the future.
Share Your Positive Vibes With the World: The “butterfly effect” is associated with the famous adage that “a butterfly flapping its wings in China can unleash a hurricane on the other side of the world.” It is an idea that chaos theory has verified and suggests that any action, no matter how small, can — through the process of amplification — change the world. The beauty of Adopaca’s actions is that the viewer can see and hear the beautiful, heartfelt simplicity of his actions. It is that purity that resonated — or “vibed” — with millions of people. But note — going viral wasn’t Adopaca’s goal. He just chose to live in the moment and have some fun doing it. And we too can send out “positive vibes” and trust that through the power of amplification those actions will radiate outward in a beneficial manner.
We Are All One: While it’s true, Adopaca’s 26 seconds of action did garner him with some astounding moments of celebrity — a meeting with Mick Fleetwood because his video single-handedly propelled ‘Dreams’ back to the top of Billboard’s charts after 43 years, a new truck from Ocean Spray, as well as countless interviews and new business opportunities. Fame wasn’t his intent. Celebrating life in the here and now was. Refreshingly, Apodaca remains down to earth and humble. When asked to reflect on his situation, he said, “We need to just vibe out together, and realize we’re all one.” And that, at the end of the day, is Apodaca’s final and most powerful lesson: We are all one.
It has been said that the only way to change the world is to first change ourselves. Nathan Apodaca’s attitude, willingness to live in the moment, and then share his joy with the world bear this truth out.
Jack Uldrich is an author and speaker. His latest book is Business as Unusual: A Futurist’s Unorthodox, Unconventional, and Uncomfortable Guide to Doing Business. He is also the co-author of the forthcoming book, Generation RE: The Guiding Spirits of the Coming Renaissance.