One day during a few quiet moments a friend of mine who I think should remain nameless, began to take stock of his journey of life. By anyone’s standard he had been very successful in what he had accomplished. Many would wish for his position. However, deep down he wondered if there was something more, something that he had missed in life? He questioned whether he had achieved all that he could, not financially, but something which confirmed in him a sense of purpose and attainment. He struggled to define what his mind was searching for. He thought to set and achieve all his goals would have been quite satisfactory. Apparently he was finding it not so.
I am sure there are quiet moments in all our lives when we look at the path which has been ours over the years. We recognize places of real achievement and satisfaction. Then we see times when we coasted along, going with the flow, accepting what life presented. We can also see areas where we struggled and the going was hard. But do we ever question, “Could I have done better?” Do we ever wonder whether given the opportunity we would make different decisions? Perhaps we would have taken a different road? It’s hard to be definitive about the answers and many would say “Not sure!” There are others however, who would categorically say they would make no changes. They are happy with their lot and the road they have travelled.
My concern would be for those who feel life should and could have been better. Blaming oneself makes it worse. That negative thinking leads to putting oneself down, thinking less of oneself than one should, ultimately resulting in low self-esteem. It leads down the road to “I have never been good enough” possibly adding a huge generalization “I have never really accomplished anything!” This is usually far from reality. Reality checks can be helpful but they have to be truthful. Where there has been successful achievements they should be recognized and applauded. Where there has been failure they too can be analyzed for the purpose of learning from them.
I guess there is a case for us asking ourselves whether we settled for less than we should, or whether we made the most of who we are and what we could have achieved. If you think that way, remember this, it is never ever too late to make changes. Unless we are already in our coffin we all have time ahead of us, beginning with today. Obviously we cannot claw back the years that have past but that does not mean we cannot change things for a better future. Changes do not have to occur overnight. If you feel there is some way you can improve your life, then go for it. Determine what it is you want to achieve and what you have to change to get there. Make a decision and be disciplined to stick with it. Set a goal and a time to achieve that goal. This will provide the motivation to be consistent and press on to hit your target.
Consider what are some of the things or aspects of life that you might want to see changed? It could simply be more meaningful time with your family. Maybe personal time for relaxation or meditation. Perhaps more reading or an allocation of time for a personal hobby or interest. For some it will be seeking an educational achievement – I read about a man who studied for his high school diploma and graduated at 96 years of age! You may want to fulfill a desire to visit some place for the first time or even start volunteering locally to serve others in need. It may be something major like a change in career or a plan to retire early. Any and all of these are achievable, if you have the mind to do so. Only you know what you desire and what you might have to change to obtain it.
Your progress will demonstrate just how badly the prize is wanted. A strong desire will demonstrate a willingness to sacrifice other things to obtain it. It always starts with the thinking process. Negative thoughts have to be replaced with positive thoughts. Impossible thinking must be replaced with possibility thinking. Thoughts of failure must be completely eliminated. How much effort are we willing to expend to make a difference for ourselves and our situation? It is easier to sit back and hope things will happen, as opposed to being proactive and exerting some effort in an attempt to achieve the goal. The “I can do this if I put my mind to it” is the winning attitude. Many people have amazed themselves when they have done just that – concentrated on the job at hand. The task has become enjoyable and attained sooner than expected.
So make the most of your life – it’s yours to value – you only have the one and it is not a practice run – it is the real thing!