Have you ever found yourself driving somewhere and suddenly realised you’re in completely the wrong place? You’re in traffic; you’re day-dreaming about what to have for dinner, whether to buy a new car and where to go on holiday this year; and you suddenly find that you’ve taken a wrong turn and automatically followed a route that you habitually take – e.g. you were meant to go the shop but instead you’re on the road home!
When it happens to me, I either get cross with myself or laugh at my own idiocy, or if I regain control of my mushy brain and re-focus, I realise that I have merely taken my eye off the ball, become distracted and gone onto auto-pilot. The great news is that you can usually make a U-turn, get back on track, fulfill your objectives and complete your mission. This also applies to life in general.
The great thing to embrace about life was described so aptly by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, when he said that ‘Change is the only constant’. In every second of our existence, we are changing. Our body is changing, growing and maturing before commencing a steady decline. So too our mind grows with our experiences and hopefully we learn from life’s lessons and become wise, just in time before our brain begins its downward spiral. I apologise if that reality sounds a little sad.
“Change is the only constant”
(Image courtesy of mrpuen at freedigitalphotos.net)
Wisdom is not guaranteed however – it has to be acquired. Some people repeat life’s more destructive patterns in the same way that procession caterpillars will follow each other unquestioningly into the abyss. That tendency to surrender to the ease and comfort of merely following the crowd is what leads us to those clichéd statistics where we talk of the 95% who are regrettably only average, as opposed to the 5%, who will be exceptional. Even the 5% is split between the 4% who are ‘comfortable’ and the top 1%, who are the ‘crème de la crème’ of humanity.
Those statistics whilst clichéd are alarmingly applicable to most things in life. They are not exact of course, they are generalisations. Yet we know from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and various insurance companies that approximately 4% of Australians will retire financially independent, 1% will be rich and the rest will be less financially comfortable. In general terms and approximate percentages, the top 5% will be the most educated; the top 5% will have the best medical facilities, will live in the flashiest houses, will drive the best cars and so on – you get my drift I’m sure.
Does that make you a failure if you’re not among the cream of the crop? Absolutely not. The old adage is a true one – that neither money nor possessions will make you any happier, though they can without doubt make a miserable person more comfortable!
So on the other side of the coin, does that make it wrong to be wealthy or successful? Of course not! Both success and failure are merely perceptions of reality and my reality is different to your reality. The answer lies in the questions you ask of yourself.
If you want to be happier, ask “What would make me happier?” If you’re not doing what it takes or you don’t have what you want, ask yourself “What can I legally and ethically do to turn this around and get back on track?” I put my disclaimer in there because some peoples’ answer might be to rob a bank, or these days, an old age pensioner.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I put it to you that maybe you’re not asking yourself the right questions. If your answer to what will make me happy is, let’s say “One million dollars”, then the questions are, “What could I do to earn one million dollars?”, “By when?” and more importantly, “What skills or talents would I need to develop in order to become the kind of person who is capable of earning that million by that date?”
(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net)
There are many other questions that might follow, like “Where would I need to be?” or “Whose help might I need for me to achieve this?” The mining boom of Western Australia bears evidence of those questions – if you want the big money, go and work up North in the heat. The bigger questions though are the intriguing ones, like, “Why would having a million dollars make me happy?” and “What would having a million do for me or for those whom I care about?”
Like my driving example at the beginning, we often find ourselves off track. We’ve switched off our brains and we’re running on auto-pilot. It’s not hard to find yourself living a repeat pattern, like in the movie ‘Groundhog Day’, where Bill Murray’s character finds himself reliving the same day over and over.
My life has been filled with reinvention. I’ve done many different jobs, I’ve set up and run many of my own businesses, I’ve travelled to fantastic destinations, I’ve lived in different countries and I feel as if I have lived an interesting life. Yet when compared with other people I’ve met, my achievements pale into insignificance. So never put yourself down by comparing – leverage yourself up by becoming inspired by their example. If they can do it, you probably can too. Sometimes not even physical limitations will stop you if your mindset is strong enough. History is filled with people doing the ‘impossible’.
In conclusion then, the questions are not, “Why does this always happen to me?” or “Why am I so far off track?” but rather, “What do I want to change and why?” Once you figure those out, the ‘how’ is a far easier problem to solve, especially if you leverage your possibilities by engaging the help of those who may have already done whatever it is that you want to do or at least know what it will take and can advise you objectively and supportively. That is why mentoring and coaching are so useful and effective.
(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net)
If you’d like to read more on this topic, please check out my latest book, entitled ‘If Life’s Worth Doing, It’s Worth Doing Well – Finding Sane Fulfillment in an Insane World’.
If you’d like any help with getting back on track or even selecting a whole new path for your life or business journey, please don’t hesitate to call me or contact me via this website.
Best of luck and until next time,
‘Seize the day!’