Is your life on a road or is it in an ocean? Don’t take the analogy too far; my implied question, to be sure, was this.
Does your life have a direction?
Do you know where you would like to be in the next year or 5 years from now or even 15 years from now?
Or, do you just live day to day and week to week?
For many, including me, the latter is the answer. I have absolutely no idea where my ship is headed, and my belief is that most people are as clueless as I am. We are consumed by everyday stuff that need our attention. Every day we have to deal with work, traffic, cooking, paying bills, taking care of family and/or relationships, dressing nicely, attending meetings, shaving, working out, and doing stuff that others force us to do. These things crowd our attention enough on a regular basis, that we rarely get any time to think about what we want in our life.
I am not talking about some vague mission statement, like ‘changing the world’ or ‘owning the world’s largest lawnmower’. I am talking about seriously identifying one’s passion, figuring out how to make that into a career and then setting a plan of action to achieve it. This needs lots and lots of time, effort and introspection and we are not going get the motivation to do this investment, if we are busy chasing trivial things. Sure, shaving and attending meetings seem important now, but will you be saying that as an accomplishment 10 years from now?
‘I managed to shave everyday and never missed any meetings.’
‘Wow, that’s awesome’ – no one will ever say that to the above statement, unless they are being sarcastic.
Looking at short term, immediate goals all the time is a sure way to loose track of what you want to accomplish. Remember college? I only thought about getting through the next set of exams and assignments, but only after college did I realize that college was meant for something entirely different. And I do mean knowledge. Lost time is, of course, lost forever.
One way to beat this sucker, is to think backwards. Think of what you want to say your accomplishments were 15 years from today. Or may be 10 years. May be even less. And then start doing them today. You may fail in one or all of them, but the fact that you took them on, will mean so much towards your happiness and overall satisfaction. We need to find our passion and get over our fear of failure.
Not often, there will be moments when we realize that the choice we are about to make will change the course of our lives significantly. If we don’t have an idea of what we want to accomplish, then our reptile brain will always make us pick the least risky choice. This is often the path that will lead us to an un-awesome place. You know, the place where every other risk-averse person lives. All the well paved roads lead to that place.
It is the City of Normalville, capitol of AverageTown. It is the place where dreams go to die.
Ok, may be I am being a bit too dramatic. The Harvard Business Review lays out this topic in a much better way. It has examples too.
Imagine that. Knowing all the things you want to do, then doing every one of those things. Then many years from now, you can look back at them with pride and satisfaction.
“I devised great theories…”
“I developed a brilliant program…“
“I produced great art….”
“I grew a thriving business…”
“I changed people’s lives !”
And then everyone, including your reptile brain, will say
“Wow, that is awesome”.
[Post: 96 of 365] [Days Missed: 35]
I am on a blog-a-day-for-a-year crusade. Keep me motivated with your comments. Or tell me if I should get a Kindle.