Do you put self-deprecating statements about your academic prowess or your job on Facebook? Is putting ‘educated at the University of life,’ humourous or a sign of a lack of self-confidence? Comic job titles claiming that you are an international Spy or work for NASA – what do they say about what you really do? Or do you just find these questions on Facebook rather unimaginative and worthy of a comic response? I’m with you on that.
Why does Facebook want to know where we went to school or University and what we do for a living? Isn’t that one of the most dreaded and boring questions at parties – ‘what do you do?’ If your job is less than exciting you don’t want to be defined by what you do. If your job is a little out of the ordinary you will have had enough of telling people about it and answering all the usual questions. And indeed, if the person you are talking to really is a spy they are unlikely to share that with you. But beware of people at parties who claim to have really boring jobs – if someone tells you they are an accountant chances are they are probably a spy.
What do we really find of interest in others? It’s their passions and their secrets. But we don’t always get an opportunity to ask people what their secrets are and indeed, we may well find them less than keen to share these with a stranger at a party, but you can always try.
I often find the question, ‘If money was no object what would you choose to do with your life?’ very interesting. I asked an old friend this some years ago and he replied that he had been thinking about this himself recently and had come up with his passion – but couldn’t now remember what it was! Putting aside the question of a senior moment or slowly creeping dementia, I think a passion isn’t something that you forget easily.
It is also a question that scares people. We are so conditioned into thinking purely about making a living that we don’t allow ourselves to dream – if we didn’t need to make money how would we like to spend our days? Of course, it isn’t just the constraints of making money but also other responsibilities that hold many people in the grip of the rat race. There may be children or elderly relatives that need looking after. But I think it is important to ask ourselves that question. If we could do anything and we knew we wouldn’t fail, a very important factor, as often we fail to jump in for fear of drowning without a trace. What would that thing be? And then, even more importantly, start working towards it.
You may not be able to achieve it all in one step, but you can start to move in that direction. Even tiny steps, looking at what course you might need to take, getting a business card printed, enrolling on an adult education course, taking music lessons, saving money to buy some piece of kit, buying a book, spending your free time learning more about it, talking to other people about your dreams – a word of caution here – only share your dreams with people you are certain will be supportive – there is nothing worse than putting your head tentatively above the parapet to find someone shooting you down before you have even begun.
It is such a liberating thing to have a goal to work towards it pulls us out of the everyday drudgery and opens up a whole vista of possibilities. It’s important not to get too caught up in the how’s of it happening. Just start moving in any direction. Once you are moving the Universe will help you on your way, even if you seem to be moving in the wrong direction.
Those of you who read my blog regularly will be familiar with Mike Dooley who is behind the Notes from the Universe, and his analogy of using a sat nav in a car. When you want to go to a destination that is new you put the destination into your sat nav – but the sat nav doesn’t start to give you any help until you start moving. Even if you set off in the wrong direction the sat nav will very quickly have you taking the next right or left to get you back on track. But you just have to start moving. It’s like this with starting out on achieving your life’s passion – the problems, obstacles and issues can seem insurmountable from our perspective, but once we take that first step the universe will be there helping you along the way.
Holding a cherished desire is a precious thing and no-one wants to get to the end of their life without having ‘sung their song.’ It is true in life that we regret more the things we failed to do or the chances we failed to take than the things we did do.
We know that money doesn’t bring happiness. Well maybe we don’t know that, and indeed might like the opportunity of seeing if it’s true. I heard a comment by the actor Jim Carey recently where he said that he wished everyone could fulfil their desire for wealth and fame just so they could appreciate that it doesn’t make you happy. Maybe a cut in income and an increase in fulfilment might make your life a lot happier? Not that there is anything wrong with having lots of money. It’s only wrong if you are chasing money at the expense of fulfilment and happiness.
It’s never too late. You may have made decisions when you were young that have led you down a particular route that you now feel imprisoned by. You may have invested many years in training for a career and it feels like a waste to jettison that to follow what you now discover is your passion. It isn’t.
These decisions were originally made when you were at best a teenager. You can’t hold your whole life to ransom over a decision you made when you were 18. Nothing is wasted. If you’ve spent 25 years doing one career just think of the experience you will bring to any new direction you choose to go in. Everything we have done has brought us to the place we now find ourselves. Maybe as a teenager you feel you made bad decisions and that has prevented you making the most of your talents. Well, you’re not a teenager anymore – just make a new decision today. Maybe that’s retraining or doing that degree course that didn’t appeal or wasn’t possible when you were younger. It’s really important to remember it’s never too late to follow your passion.
It is important however to find what your path in life is. For some people that is very clear from an early age – they are the lucky ones. For others, it’s a struggle and they find the answer after what appears to be many dead ends and false starts. But remember nothing is wasted. Every step in your life has brought you to the place you are now.
But remember, if you’ve always wanted to be a spy you will have to tell people that you are an accountant at parties. Is it worth it?