Are you doing what you want to do?
Are you going in the direction you want to go?
Are you making decisions about where your life is going?
There are several answers to these questions. You may not be doing what you want to do, but you are moving in the right direction. If you are not moving in the direction you want to be, then the question is, are you in charge of where you are going.
Over the last year, I have written about what you can do to improve your life. Some of these you can do, even if you are in solitary confinement. For the others, you need to assume control of your life.
Do you have a job that is not all you want it to be?
Are you in a relationship that might be better dissolved?
Are you held back by people or circumstances that no longer match your goals?
It may well be that some parts of your life are in perfect order, moving in the right direction and giving you a lot of satisfaction. However, there might be parts of your life, personal or professional, where you feel trapped.
You have the power to change that.
Removing annoying things from your life may improve your situation more than adding positive aspects.
Sell your crap. Pay your debt. Do what you love. Adam Baker
In this TED video is one way you can go:
Inspiring TEDxAsheville presentation by Adam Baker about what freedom means to you and how most of us opt for the default.
In 2008, after the birth of his first child, Baker and his wife sold everything they owned, pay off their consumer debt, and spend a year traveling abroad as a family.
They began sharing their journey in early 2009 on the blog Man vs. Debt, now 15,000 subscribers strong. In sharing their ups and downs in the areas of personal finance, consumerism, clutter, travel, minimalism, and passionate entrepreneurship, they realized they aren’t alone in a desire to explore and grow.
You can make a decision and pick your path
Think about your goals in life and where you want to go:
- personal growth.
To help you get a better idea of where to go and what is your current potential, make a list of your interests. But don’t let your present stop you. If you have always wanted to do something, then make a decision and learn something new and exciting.
When you consider your current situation, think about what would you do differently if you knew then what you know now.
For example, in business, you may have a client you no longer want to have. If you only knew then that this is a true client from hell, you would have never signed them up. Make a decision, cut them loose.
Pick your own path!
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Eliminate the negative
I once briefly dated a girl who told me that at her own wedding she was thinking about what she was doing there.
It was not a case of cold feed at the last moment.
There was so much social pressure and possible losing face involved that she went along with it. Needless to say that the marriage didn’t last long.
Don’t be that girl!
You may not have a situation that’s so extreme, but most times, we just tag along, not wanting to make a fuss.
Eliminate the negative and speak up for yourself.
Make a decision!
You may feel that you are stuck, and you can’t change the situation. Start building an escape route on the side.
Cut your time wasters, stop watching TV, and use that time to find new ways to make money, attend new social circles, get a hobby, or find something else to build your new life.
It will take time, be consistent, and you will get there.
Being stuck in a situation that needs action to be unstuck. That action requires a decision that may be really hard to make. But if you will make that decision, then the right time is sooner than later.
Ask for what you want
What’s the worst that can happen?
The worst-case scenario is the main question in any situation and decision. If the answer is something you can live with, then go ahead, do it. If the worst is terrible, potential loss of all savings and income, ending up in a homeless shelter, then you need to find someone to help you.
In some relationships, the worst can mean physical harm. That is, even more, the reason to act now.
Do not let other people and circumstances destroy you. Get the negative stuff out of your life. Replace them with positive goals and friends that support you. Most times, you just have to ask for what you want, and you will get it.
Ray Dalio Principles: Plan for the worst-case scenario to make it as good as possible.
Plan for the worst and create an emergency fund.
Picking your path is hard!
For a long time in my life I have dabbled in this and that, not committing to anything with everything I’ve got. You often just react to the environment and go with the flow. There are many reasons we behave this way.
Fear of failure
If you do what everyone expects and fail, then you avoid some of the blame for what happened.
For a long time, there was a saying in IT-business, “Nobody has been fired for buying IBM.” The idea was that IBM is the standard and when something went wrong, IBM wasn’t it.
When you make an unorthodox choice, then you are responsible for everything.
You made the weird choice. You failed because you didn’t act as expected.
But if you don’t make the weird choices, you will always be behind those who do.
The other day I was talking with a client about the COVID-19 outbreak. We had a similar idea about taking risks.
When you play it safe and do only the safe thing, then you can expect 1 or 2 things blow up in your face every year.
If you take risks and try new things, then you can expect 1 or 2 things blow up in your face every year.
Pick your path and get the results you deserve.
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. ~ Joseph Campbell
What will others think
People are social animals. And our brain carries a lot of baggage from our hunter-gatherer days. If you live in the forest and the community shuns you, it may mean your death.
This is not the case in 21 century!
When someone thinks you are weird, it doesn’t matter.
Find people who support you even if they think what you do is weird.
Other people’s opinions of you do not matter at all.
It’s all about you doing your thing.
Find the 1,000 thousand true fans.
Lack of focus
Probably one of the biggest factors that has kept me from outstanding results, is lack of focus.
If you do 10 things at the same time, then you won’t master any of them.
It doesn’t matter how much you work, if you splinter your time between many projects then you will get inferior results in each of them.
But lack of focus feels safe. If one thing doesn’t work out, then there the other project.
It is extremely hard to say “no” to most of the things in your life and focus on one thing.
This is true in your work and personal life. Maybe you want to lean to play bass? And program Python? And play golf? And learn to cook… and travel a lot.
It will not work!
Don’t follow the path. Blaze the trail. ~ Jordan Belfort
Getting results takes time
To get extraordinary results you have to put in a lot of hours. There’s the idea that you have to put in 10 thousand hours of deliberate practice to become world class.
Deliberate practice is a special practice, and it’s hard. You only work on the things you suck at. When I start my deliberate practice sessions, then I feel a bit of anxiety. Maybe even fear.
But let’s forget the deliberate practice!
You don’t have to work extremely hard, but you have to work consistently.
When you do ordinary things consistently for a long time, you will get extraordinary results.
Pick Your Own Path!
In any case, starting on the new path is usually the hardest thing, so act now. To test your new path, take small steps. Do something every day that will move you closer to where you want to be. Make it a 30-day challenge and see what happens if you keep at it for an entire month, no excuses.
Experimenting means you need to get more control and flexibility in your life. To do that, understand what’s really happening, and why you want something to change. Make the initial plan and contingency to be flexible. Every plan will change as soon as you start implementing it, so accept whatever comes, give it your best, and improvise.
You are in charge.
If everything is not working out as planned, don’t give up, learn from experience, and repeat.
Just because my path is different doesn’t mean I’m lost. ~ Anonymous
Now, what do you really want in life? Pick your path.
Do you want to be strong to pick your path? Willpower books help you get better results. Dig into these books and find out how willpower works and motivate yourself not to fall back to old ways.
Image: Phil Monument Valley by Jared Eberhardt
Image: Plainsong by Robb North
This Post Has 2 Comments
Thanks for the post! I want to add that research shows that setting optimistic plans makes you a happier person. Make big and optimistic plans but as Ray Dalio said understand what’s the worst that can happen and make it as good as possible.
Thanks for your comment. Positive outlook makes you more likely to succeed too, because you are more likely to try harder if you believe in what you are doing.