Once again, I was amazed at how different the travel industry is from place to place. This past weekend we headed off to Portland Oregon for the weekend. We jumped in our car in plenty of time to get to DIA here in Denver and arrive 2 hours before our flight. We weaved our way through security – line after line, row after row – shuffling through the Disney-like lines to arrive at the TSA entry point.

The guard took our IDs and tickets, carefully studied our photos and held them up to compare them to our faces. After a good 15 seconds, he seemed satisfied. He checked a bunch of other things and pointed us to a security line.

Once there we grabbed a half-dozen bins and started the airport ritual of breaking down our contents for review. Off came the coat and the shoes. My scarf could remain on. Out came the computer, iPad, iPhone, Kindle and two bags of cosmetics.It’s All An Illusion So Why Not Choose Yours

Into the human scanner and out, with them finding every last detail – even the driver’s license I had stuck in my back pocket. A few questions, five minutes of putting everything back together again, and we were on our way.

Several days later, a funny thing happened. Into security we went. Off came the shoes and coat. “You’ll need to back up and take the scarf off too.” Okay – how come it was okay in Denver? Hmmm. Out came the computer, iPad, iPhone and Kindle. “You can leave the iPad, iPhone and Kindle in your bag – only computers and bigger.” Hmmm.

I say this not to pick on TSA. But again and again we find this happening as we travel around the world.

There is never one set of rules that applies in every situation. In some cases things are okay, and in some they aren’t.

So as a traveler, it’s hard to know what rules I’m playing by in every situation. Should I take off my scarf … or not? Should I show you my iPad … or not?

The same applies when it comes to our work lives.

They tell us getting a job is the safest thing to do. Yet no matter how hard we work, no matter how good of a job we do, there is always a chance we won’t have it tomorrow.

A job gives you just enough of a paycheck to keep you happy. Enough money to keep you coming back on Monday morning. What would happen if that paycheck wasn’t there?

But it’s enough security to keep us complacent – I know, I was complacent for years.

Eventually you have to ask yourself questions.

What is more risk, choosing to stay someplace because you feel you have no other choice, or making the choice to create your own lifestyle, whatever that may be?

What is my idea? What do I want to do? Can I accomplish my idea in my current position, or do I need to find something else that lets me do what I need to do, whether its working for another company or creating my own?

How many years do I have to live doing something I don’t want to do before I choose to do something I do want to do?

We all start out life living an illusion. We’re told we have to make great grades in school so we can get into a good college. We have to attend a good college to get a degree. The degree will help us find the perfect job. We can work at the job for decades until we can retire. And only then can we do what we truly want to do (providing we are healthy and rich enough to do so).

Yet who determined good grades were important to our survival – many fail out of school and go on to become household names, so grades definitely aren’t a factor.

Who determined the perfect job would be everything we wanted it to be for years – we all make changes every few years, so we know that’s not true.

Everything we do, whether its work for a living or travel around the world, is an illusion created by someone who has done it before. When enough people come together and say “it’s the norm”, the illusion is sealed and the stories begin.

You don’t have to follow the same old path. You can create your own.

Question what the norm is and decide for yourself how you want to precede.

Anything is possible.