Let’s conduct an experiment tomorrow with your life.
Tomorrow? Isn’t this article supposed to provide you motivation to get you moving today?
That seems to make sense, but the problem is, it depends on two factors. Firstly, the point in time when you are reading this –
At the end of a long day? After getting terminated from your job? After failing a midterm? Or any of the 1,000 other conceivable things that can go wrong in a normal person’s life.
So tomorrow seems to be the right time, not so? But probably, that’s the second factor. Tomorrow happens to be the right time for everything.
Look in the mirror, do some introspection. Ask yourself, (all that apply):
Am I happy with my job?
Does my academic progress satisfy me?
Do I come home every day feeling like I have accomplished something positive?
Are there any empty spaces inside of me that have yet to be filled?
Am I comfortable with my life?
Of these questions, the most important one is the last one. Whether the answer is “yes” or “no”, it is time to re-evaluate your life. It has nothing to do with age, education, past failures or successes, or even your general health.
It has everything to do with your willingness to run- not step out, from your comfort zone and take a leap of faith.
When have you last allowed yourself to get out of your ‘feel comfortable zone’? What is holding you back from moving forward, taking on challenges, settings goals and striving to attain them?
There is an old saying that still applies – look before you leap. This is true in some aspects of life, like when you are standing at the edge of a high cliff.
But many of the opportunities in life that are ahead of us don’t require that much thought because we aren’t jumping off of a cliff. New options that were previously overlooked, we are now merely opting to explore.
So what are the major factors keeping us from leaping? Is it..
I wonder if….
What these obstacles have in common is that they presume you can predict the future. They are based on the presumption of a negative outcome. This is actually the case the older you get for a number of reasons:
– You think you actually know the outcome
– You let previous experiences shape your future
– You become more fearful of failure
Remember when you were a child and fell, skinned your knees, bumped into a wall, or tried to walk on water? Did any of these experiences end up causing you to stop walking?
We got excited about learning and new experiences when we were younger. The same should be true now. A fall, a bruise, a bump should not get in our way and bring life to a stand still.
Instead of doing, we plan to the point of analysis-paralysis, and nothing ever gets moving.
We predetermine the outcome because we believe it will never work. And society tells us, the older you get, the less forgiving the world is because you are supposed to know better.
It has been said that we are not who we actually are, but who other people say we are. You or someone you know has been told, “You’re the smart one.” Maybe you are – or maybe not.
So on one side of the coin if you are told you are smart you have to act smart and think you are smart, even if you are not. Not meeting most people’s expectations makes you a failure, not because you are, but because you believed what you are constantly told.
On the flip side of the coin, being labeled as “smart” restricts you from taking leaps of faith. For example, does being smart mean you have no athletic potential?
Are artists smart, or are they creative? And how will you ever know unless you escape from that well-intentioned comfort zone and be willing to say “I’ll try.”
The first responsibility you have as an adult is to ask yourself who you are and what you want to do with your life. Failure in virtually every area of life, is connected to trying to be someone you are not.
For many people, the problem is that in order to become yourself you have to escape the comfort zone that others have defined for you. It is not a leap of faith to follow the well-trodden path, but it is if you are willing to look at yourself – and others – in a different light.
It is scary.
In some ways, it’s like trying to explain color to a blind person. You have no point of reference, but you are not blind.
One very important piece of information is that you are much better off if you have at least one support person when beginning your new journey.
Going it alone sounds courageous and a bit romantic, but when things get shaky or messy – and it sometimes can – retreating to your comfort zone is the safe and sensible thing to do.
A support person will wake you up and remind you that you are not alone, and encourage you to keep going.
Someone who has the experience of taking a leap of faith (or leaps of faith) is a great support because they can easily relate to your fears, doubts, and concerns.
Remember at the beginning when I asked you to look in the mirror? Consider what has been said here, and now take a second look. What do you see, or perhaps more importantly, who do you see now?
The difference will always be that no matter who you saw 15 minutes or 15 hours ago, time has moved forward. And you have changed in many ways unseen.
So what is left to do is for you to take stock of what you have, put it in your backpack, and start planning your journey.
Someone once gave me a very simple but critical piece of advice about life: don’t be stagnant, keep flowing. I liken this to stagnant water (a pond, puddle) vs flowing water (stream, ocean).
Remember that trying to predict the future is something no one can do with any meaningful degree of accuracy. You do not have to necessarily win a race but begin it, and finish.
Enjoy the scenery as you go. Stop to see where you were and how far you have come. The motivation to continue will come from within.