How’s your 2017 going so far? Are you one of the thousands of people who are already feeling discouraged even though we’re only two weeks in? In my blog post “The Future Depends On What You Do Today” The Importance of Gandhi’s Famous Words As The New Year Approaches I discuss the importance of dropping the notion of a new year’s resolution. However, brainstorming for your resolutions could have opened up your mind to new dreams, goals, and aspirations.
When I first began writing this post I wanted to write it about how fears can have a negative impact on your life. I started by reading the work of different philosophers and famous quotes about the subject, but nothing seemed to click. Afterwards, I tried brainstorming a list of the fears that I currently have. To my surprise one of the first and most prominent fears that came to mind was:
- I fear I won’t reach my full potential
As sad as it is, this fear is extremely common. It is a fear controlled by self-doubt. Everyone seems to be scared that at the end of the day they won’t have anything to show for. They’re scared they’ll live the typical life of mediocrity. The series of life events that are drilled into our minds from a young age. Grow up-Go to school-Graduate-Go to post secondary school-Find a career-Find a partner-Get married-Have kids-etc. For some people, reaching the above milestones is all they care to ask for. But of others, they want more.
Life is full of setbacks, heartaches, failures, and disappointments. Everyone experiences moments of difficulty and at some point in their life finds themselves struggling. Have you even caught yourself struggling to “make life work”, struggling to figure out “your purpose”, struggling to “find your passion” or struggling to “figure out what you want to do with you life”.
We see other people’s success and compare it to our own, we wonder where we have gone wrong and why we have not accomplished as much when we are working just as hard. How come they’re so much happier than me? How can they afford to do that? All I want in life is to be happy. It’s a continuous cycle our ego uses to slowly drive us insane.
You’re not alone if you’ve struggled to find the answers to the above questions. Personally, I come up with new answers for each of them weekly, if not daily. Almost every adult goes through this struggle. There are people in their 60s, 70s, and 80s still asking themselves these questions.
So how can we find the answers?
We’re all here on this big planet we call Earth. We are all here for a unallocated amount of time. In truth we could die reading this, or we could die 80 years from now. We spend our time on Earth doing things. Things that make us happy, and things that do not. Things that inspire us, and things that do not. Things that help us grow, and things that do not. Things that are important, and things that are not. It is not these things themselves that give our lives meaning. It is what we make of each of these things that does. For example, the meaning of yoga to one person could just be a sport that stretches you. Whereas to someone else the meaning could be a divine uplifting experience that cannot be described by words. Neither person is right or wrong.
Sometimes it all comes down to what we can tolerate. In my blog last week I discuss the symbolism of the Yin Yang during times of struggle. Keeping this in mind, everything has a bit of negative to it. Our ability to achieve something lies hand-in-hand with our ability to handle the negative aspects that are involved and to still have the passion even when the going gets tough.
For example, those that truly want to succeed in business and in law know and accept that their work weeks will be well over 40 hours long. Those that want to become doctors realize it will involve long hours of research and studying. Those that want to be professional athletes understand that it will require being away from home for long periods of time and that their sleeping, eating and training must coincide with their goals.
When struggling to “find meaning to your life” take the time to think about what unpleasant aspects of your goals you’re able to handle. Does this change your dreams or does it give you that extra bit of excitement and motivation?
Some of the best moments of clarity I’ve had involved asking myself questions over and over again until I can finally find an answer. Questions are important. They help you shift your perspective and see things differently. They allow you to open your mind to new concepts and ideas that you’ve never thought of before. Below is a list of questions that may be able to help you understand what your purpose/potential/meaning in life is.
- If this were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?
- If this was your last year on Earth what would you do?
- What do you want to be remembered by after you die?
… How can you achieve this?
- What do you want people to say about you when you’re gone?
… How to you need to change to make this happen?
- What matters most in your life?
Ultimately, you can choose your meaning in life. This isn’t a quick choice. It isn’t a choice that can happen overnight. It may even be a choice that changes over and over again. Discovering and reaching your potential requires work and dedication each day of your life. So stop waiting and start doing. Be your own goal. Discover what makes you tick and what is important to you. Don’t hold back and let your fear run your life.
Until next week,
Kristyn Breeze xx