A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his energy and talent to getting there. With enough effort, he may achieve it. Or he may find something that is even more rewarding. But in the end, no matter what the outcome, he will know he has been alive. -Walt Disney
We all have been through life’s up and down, the tears we had when our parents died, the desperation of failed business enterprise, and other emotional events happened in our past. But let’s not forget the tear of happiness when our first child were born, the thrill after giving a promotional speech, and other peak moments in our life. And that’s life, it has it’s up and down, valley and peak, and moments we couldn’t possibly reproduce again. We should feel blessed for the fact we had them, when we were in the valley we have hope that someday we will reach the peak. Once we reach the peak we learn to help people in the valley to reach the peak as we were helped in the past. But that’s not the end, is it? There’s a taller mountain to climb, a deeper sea to dived into, a larger space to be explored. What I’m saying is it doesn’t matter who we are or who we were, we all had our unique experience, a lesson we learned in the past through trial and error, and circumstances so unique that there isn’t two people in earth having the same knowledge and experience. But there are some principles which could be universally applied to all of us, that if we give it a try it might just work and improve our quality if life. After all, that is what I’m striving to give to you in this blog, a quality article researched from numerous books and experience. I hope it doesn’t stop just in reading the article, take it to the next level and apply it it to you life! Hopefully, even just by a slight, what I am sharing to you could enlightened your vision and lead you to the life you wanted.
When I was a six, my parents would ask me what I wanted to be when I growned up. The answer stays the same until I was twelve, “an astronout”, I would say. What I was thinking by being an astronout was going to uncharted places, places no other visited before, places with all it’s beauty and magnificent view. But as we all do, I grew and I realize there are expectation from the society of what I should be when I growned up. Confused with what my family expect me to do, what the society thinks about certain profession, I down-graded my dream into a pilot. I think of what a pilot do with my childish point of view, they travel to a lot of places around the world, have a lot money (at least that was what I’m thinking), and the society respects them. There were very few people around me who succeed being a pilot, so I think it was hard for me to become one as well. So the dream faded with time…
It’s not until the last year of high school that I was really thinking what I wanted to be. I know I’m not alone on this one and perhaps you did the same too, thinking of the career ladder you want to take for the rest if your life at the very last months of high school. So I tried to answer the million dollar question, “What profession is noble, paid handsomely, and allows traveling to places around the world?” I took science in high school, I am bright enough to study any course, and I was backed by a financially stable family. If you have a better answer than what I do now, please do tell me! The answer I had was based of many movies I watched, a doctor working for WHO. I mean, they travel to many third world country to improve local’s resident health, and they also attend conference around the world to discuss the solution. Best of both world, right? Respectable job, travel around the world, and I believe they had a decent salary as well. Not a year later, I applied to a private medical school in the my city and got accepted. For the record, now is my fourth year and I passed each exam smoothly, without failing even in one topic. But a bigger question emerged in my mind as I read many self improvement books (perhaps excessive, considering I read over 130 books a year and I don’t know any friends who read even 5 a year).
“Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life?”
It turned out that I’m not the only one thinking this question, lots of my friends did as well. A friend of mine in medical school, Paulus could be a great chef, Evan could memorize the details in every car he know which make him a great car collector, Aurel could be an entrepreneur, and me? I could be a travel photographer or perhaps a stock trader. It just happened that even though we are united in medical school, we actually have a passion, bigger than our passion in serving the community as a doctor. But what could we do? We have spent $20.000, three and a half years studying, not to mention the expectation of our family for us to become a doctor. Irrational as it sounds, we could drop it all and start a new path, the path we truly are passionate in, but would we? Life is not to be wasted, money we could find again, but time we will not.
I believe the same thought happened to people stuck in a job they don’t like, a marriage that doesn’t work, a relationship going nowhere but farther apart. We have spent so many of our time, money, energy, and resources so abundant that we try very hard to make it work when we know it probably won’t. And what would ideally we do next, or to be more realistic, what did we do? Not much actually, most of us are just trying to justify our past action by holding on the job, marriage, relationship we had. We tried to strive day by day, living a depressive life we don’t want to be part of, daydreaming the life we want to live in. Because deep down in our heart, we know that what we want is not to make the sitution better, but a whole new way of life. The way of life we imagined we would live in as a child, the happily ever after marriage, the perfect job we would do without getting paid, the relationship that’s going to be romantic forever. But is there such thing? Franky I don’t know, and I suppose nobody had it perfect the first time.
Behind our thinking process, we were taught when we were a child not to waste resources we had (time, pocket money, food in the plate, etc.) and we still do have the same mind set today. I still watch a bad movie in theater until finished just because I have paid for the ticket and it would be irrational to leave. What I saw was the negative effect (wasting money, time for a bad movie) and my ego doesn’t allow itself to be challenged. Have you ever think of what could happened if I leave, take a walk in the park, visit an old school friend? The evening could have been better than going home after watching a bad movie. What could happened if we leave our current job/college/marraige/relationship and working on the the new path we ideally want? Of course, there is no guarantee that our new path would be more satisfying than the one we had, but if there is fifty-fifty chance, would you? Would I?
Only time will tell…