Chris Kluwe is a former NFL player for the Minnesota Vikings. In his eight seasons with the Vikings, Chris set eight individual team records. During this period, he was also an outspoken advocate for same sex marriage and gay rights. Chris is the author of Otaku, a novel that combines his love for science fiction, games, and equal rights.
ES: This is 5 Minute Mentor, a podcast where you’ll get advice from prominent engineers, authors, artists, and more, in 5 minutes or less.
ES: Today’s mentor is Chris Kluwe, author and former NFL player for the Minnesota Vikings. In his eight seasons with the Vikings, Chris set eight individual team records. During this period, he was also an outspoken advocate for same sex marriage and gay rights. Chris is the author of Otaku, a novel that combines his love for science fiction, games, and equal rights.
ES: This is Chris Kluwe’s advice:
CK: Hi everyone, my name is Chris Kluwe. Now, I’ve never really given a 5 minute mentoring lesson before so I’m gonna do my best on this. First a little bit about me, I was a professional football player in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings for eight years. I have written a science fiction book called Otaku that was published by Tor. I competed in a top three in the United States, World of Warcraft raiding Guild, and I have many other diverse hobbies and interests. I guess what the subject of my discussion is going to be is never limit yourself to one thing.
As human beings there’s so much that we can do with our lives. And, growing up, I lived in the world where it was the jock geek dichotomy, that, if you played sports, you couldn’t have nerdy interests. Or, if you had nerdy interests then you couldn’t be good at sports.
And one of the big things that I’ve always wanted to do with my life is show people that you don’t have to be caged in to just this one box. You can be whoever you want to be. Go out and try new things. Don’t be afraid to explore different possibilities because the only thing that’s holding you back is yourself.
For example, when I was playing football in high school my coaches had to tell me to stop reading science fiction books on the sidelines, because during the middle of a game I would be reading a book because I wasn’t currently involved in the plays. And so, they told me, hey, you can’t do that. Looking back, you probably shouldn’t read science fiction books on the sideline of a football game you’re currently participating in, but it’s OK to read them on the bus to and from the game, in the locker room. And, when the other guys on the team asked me about reading science fiction books or having nerdy interests, I would tell them, hey, we’re all geeks about something. For me, it happens to be science fiction fantasy. It happens to be video games and books. You know, for you, it might be hunting, it might be fishing, it might be restoring cars. There’s nothing wrong with geeking out about something. There’s nothing wrong with having an interest or hobby that really makes you excited to do it. And we shouldn’t judge each other in those interests, and those hobbies. That’s what makes us human beings, is that wonderful breadth of diversity.
So, as a young professional, you probably are in a job, and you’re probably told by your bosses or others that, you have to commit fully to this one thing. And that’s going to be who you are. And I’m here to tell you no, that is not who you are. Your job does not define you. There are a lot of things that go into defining you as a human being. And you should never be afraid to pursue those things.
So I guess the overall thrust of what I’m trying to say is, don’t limit yourself, and the job you have now may not be the job you have in the future, and the things that you’re interested in now may not be the things you’re interested in the future. So, try to always hold on to that sense of wonder, that sense of curiosity. And don’t be afraid to get out there and try new things.
I’m Chris Kluwe and you’re listening to the 5 Minute Mentor Podcast.
ES: Check out Chris Kluwe’s latest science fiction novel Otaku, which is out now.