I had a Mary Engelbreit calendar once on which there was a statement, “Life is just so daily.” Routine can be very helpful in keeping the chaos and stress down in life, but it can also create a rut in which you’re cruising through life, but not really directing it. I’ll admit that I’ve let life happen to me instead of taking control. But ever since I made the decision that I wanted to be home with my kids nearly 20 years ago, I’ve worked hard to create a career and a life that fulfills me.
I know there are many people going through the motions of life and I want to shake them and tell them it doesn’t have to be like that. You can be the master of your life. Here are four reasons why you need to take control:
1) It wakes you up! Have you ever driven home from work or the store and realized you don’t remember the drive? Because you do it all the time, you can practically do it in your sleep, but you miss the scenery. Routine and ruts allow us to sleep walk through life. All of a sudden you’re 40 or 50 or 60 years old wondering, hey, where’d my life go, kind of like that drive home. When you plan and execute your life goals, you’re energized and awake, noticing all the great stuff there is to life.
2) It helps you appreciate life. It’s hard to get what you want in life. Not only is it work to research, plan and make it happen, but usually the journey is hard. There are road blocks and twists and turns that slow you down. So when you start achieving your dreams, you feel accomplished and grateful.
3) It’s the only way to get what you want in life. Wishing on a star is sweet, but it won’t make your dreams come true. No one gets what they want in life by wishing. If you want something different, you need to decide what that is, make a plan to get it and then do it.
4) It’s a great adventure. Life happens to everyone, but the person who makes the decision to not be limited or defined by what life throws at them and instead, takes control is going on a great journey. I have many of the same limitations as everyone else. I have only 24 hours in a day. I have kids and bills and chores and a crappy economy to work with, but I don’t let those things stop me. I don’t use these “excuses” as permission to settle for whatever life hands me. Instead I look at them as challenges and as I work through them, interesting things happen.
I met someone recently who dreams of being a writer. His parents support his desire to write, but worry that he doesn’t understand how difficult the writing profession is. When I asked him what he planned to do after high school, he gave me the answer I know his parents wanted to hear: “I’m going to find a job to support my dream of writing.”
As a parent of a two college students, I too would be concerned if my kids had dreams that only a few are able to achieve. And yet at the same time, I don’t want them to be limited because I and society says it’s nearly impossible to achieve.
It makes me think of an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson when he was on a panel answering questions about science. One man asked if there were more men in science because of genetics (yes… he really asked that). deGrasse Tyson took the question saying that he’d never been a woman, but he’d been black all his life. As a youngster, when he told people he wanted to be an astrophysicist, they would try to talk him out of it, presumably because he was black. His point was that until society stopped telling girls they weren’t smart enough for science, we couldn’t really know if genetics played a roll.
Society isn’t the only one telling us we can’t do things. The biggest obstacle to doing what you want is most likely you. We get bogged down in what we think we should to. We play it safe. As a result, the dreams are put aside. (more…)
I’ve mentioned before that I suffer from ideaphoria. In fact, I’m in the midst of an ideaphoric episode involving ideas creating a membership program to help newbie and overwhelmed authors market their books, marketing my own books (releases in Sept, Nov. and Jan), plus writing new books (Jan due date from publisher, plans for NaNoWriMo and a Christmas short story). I’m excited about these ideas. I’m researching, taking notes and getting tips from others. But right now, these ideas are worthless. Why? Because until I put the ideas into action, they don’t have value.
Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.” Like Holmes says, too many people have an idea, something they want to achieve, but they don’t put action behind their effort. Certainly research and planning are first steps, but until you execute your ideas, they are unsung songs.
I posted a video encouraging people to Just Get Started. If you haven’t seen it, watch it and then start singing your song. Don’t wait or continuously “get ready”. Give your ideas a voice and share the music.