”You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
Do you ever feel like you’re facing a midlife crisis, regardless of your age? That all you ever do is talk about what you want to achieve and never get around to doing it? Life hasn’t been treating you very well and you suddenly feel defeated and a pity party is long overdue?
Just like the rest of us you’ve tried to convince yourself that you’re happy, and you’re even failing at that.
You may barely have 2 dollars to rub together, or perhaps your life may not be that bad, yet there’s that nagging vexation that screams….. ”Is this it? Is this all there is?”
This is a sign of an intrinsic desire to triumph. A burning desire to tap into the leader within and the ambition that’s lying dormant, yet fermenting at the core of your very being.
These feelings of indignation are not the problem, but the symptoms to a problem.
What is it that’s keeping you deep in the throws of abatement? The answer is simple……..
A lack of direction and purpose
You can keep putting one step in front of the other, but where are you heading? And what is your plan to get there?
Too much pressure, too little direction
An article written by Jim Edwards, for the Business Insider, observed that 22% of American men without college degrees have not worked at all within the span of 1 year, and a certain amount has dropped out of the workforce entirely, and for no particular reason.
This study focuses on men, however no matter what your demographic, these problems are most likely staring you dead in the face.
Considering the pressure to get a college degree in the era of information, how much thought do we really put into our futures. Our passions, what we value most in life and what effect this decision will have on where we’re heading, doesn’t even factor into this decision making.
The likely reason for this is time, money and social constraints, and the pressure to make a decision quickly, so as to not miss an opportunity that you’re not sure you really want.
And so we go on through life accepting our fates and ending up in a life that doesn’t really fulfill us. Fate has become our puppet master and we’re just bobbing along with every tug of the strings.
Is that nagging irritation getting stronger? Do you feel like you’ve merely accepted your fate because you’ve been through so much to get to where you are? Yet where you are is nowhere near you want to be.
When you’re marching to the beat of society’s drum
Here’s what’s been engraved into our heads…………
- Finish school
- Get a degree (whatever my parents tell me since they’re paying)
- Get a job (which will probably have no connection to my degree)
- Earn a salary, a good one would be great, but an average one will do
- Get married and buy a home
- Start a family
- Have a few kids, even if we can’t really afford them, we’ll get by
- Retire with what my company provides
- Live happily ever after
The road map is set in stone and off we go on our journeys that society has meticulously paved for us.
Don’t get me wrong, society’s step by step life plan sounds great and it works out even better for some. The problem is, expectation versus reality. Our expectations look like a rose garden with a pot of gold at the end, when our realities present many thorns and obstacles along the way to that pot of gold.
The thorns start to leave scars, the obstacles begin to fatigue us, the road doesn’t seem to get any shorter or smoother and we eventually run out of steam. The pot of gold doesn’t seem so appealing or even worth the effort anymore. The value diminishes and we ultimately become defeated.
What we don’t realize in times of struggle, is that the scars do not represent defeat. They are battle scars, slowly toughening us up SO THAT we can handle the discomfort of those thorns, and you’re learning the lessons you need to thrive with every obstacle. Eventually you will become desensitized to the elements and you slowly start to see the value of the pot of gold again. You have subconsciously built the strength and determination to have laser focus on your goal, no matter what lies ahead.
Your life plan doesn’t have to be a step by step program. Having a plan is necessary, however when things don’t go according to plan, change strategy. When the wind changes direction, change the direction of your sails!
Don’t be afraid to take the road less traveled and start exploring.
”If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
Watch this TED Talk by Bill Burnett about Designing Your Own Life, where he gives some valuable advice in finding direction where there is fatigue, confusion and defeat.
It all starts in the mind
When things are just not going as planned, or something is lacking in your life, it’s time to re-evaluate. Ditch the step by step life plan and start a DIY design for life, where lessons are learned and pity parties are a thing of the past.
Having a ‘bring it on’ attitude prepares your subconscious mind to always expect the unexpected. Or better yet, have no expectations at all, freeing your mind from the shackles of mental enslavement.
Below are ways to change your mindset from victim to victor
1. You no longer see bad experiences, only lessons learned
With every challenge and triumph there is a lesson to be learnt. Every experience is a resource, where your own wisdom, accumulated through experience, is a library of knowledge. The information you gather along the way is an incredibly powerful and valuable asset, as it is tailor made just for you.
2. Every mistake you’ve made in the past is history, what you are creating is a legendary future
It is human nature to be apprehensive about things that have gone awry in the past. Our defenses go into overdrive and immediately we step away from potential danger. It is only the truly brave and courageous who will face this frightening challenge head on, even in the face of adversity. And this is where success begins. When you can get through the circumstances that scare you the most, you can get through anything. From there on it is only onward and upwards, no turning back.
3. Your dreams are too small
Now I know that what I’m supposed to tell you to keep your dreams realistic, however if you’re stuck in a perpetual cycle of trial and failure, your goals will begin to fade into obscurity. You find yourself in a place of confusion and weariness, where life tests you to the brink of sanity. Which choice will you make? Remaining in the comfort zone of gray discontent, or do you choose to venture out of what is expected of you anyway, and reach for the goals that you’ve started to think were unattainable? When you venture of the norm, it is inevitable that you will face tests and hardship. This is where courage is built. And with courage comes purpose and accomplishments that you never thought were possible.
4. Have confidence in times of change
To achieve anything in life you have to become comfortable with change, and change can be very uncomfortable at the best of times. Whether you’re in the process of changing your life completely, or things keep changing in the process of your plan, when you can wrap your mind around the fact that change is inevitable, you subconsciously become proactive instead of reactive. A proactive mindset keeps you calm under pressure, clarity in your thinking and leads to better decision making. Now you’re thinking like a boss.
5. Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps!!!
It is also human nature to want to see results immediately, especially when the effort does not match the results. If you think of a weight loss journey, how many people fall off the wagon before they see results? Yet if they’d hung on for just a few more weeks, they would’ve seen magnificent results! What we must understand, is that when there is perseverance, hard work pays off. There is no other way. One step at a time will get you to the top of your game.
When you’re starting to feel as though a change is necessary, or your efforts are just not paying off, stop for a minute, take a step back and look at your life plan. Evaluate how it has worked out for you so far, and what you are willing to do to get to where you want to be.
Remember, success is created in the mind……..start there!
“The fun part is finding which thoughts, in that crazy beehive of emotion, are the ones that mass produce the honey.”
Curtis Tyrone Jones
Venture out of the norm and make that change.
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