Ever-Changing Reflection

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding... It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.
~ Kahlil Gibran

Monday, June 13, 2011

#Trust30: Making Up the Path as You Go

Alternative Paths by Jonathan Fields

When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name; the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The world buzzes about goals and visions. Focus. Create a vivid picture of exactly where you want to go. Dream big, then don’t let anything or anyone stop you. The problem, as Daniel Gilbert wrote in Stumbling Upon Happiness, is that we’re horrible at forecasting how we’ll really feel 10 or 20 years from now – once we’ve gotten what we dreamed of. Often, we get there only to say, “That’s not what I thought it would be,” and ask, “What now?” Ambition is good. Blind ambition is not. It blocks out not only distraction, but the many opportunities that might take you off course but that may also lead you in a new direction. Consistent daily action is only a virtue when bundled with a willingness to remain open to the unknown. In this exercise, look at your current quest and ask, “What alternative opportunities, interpretations and paths am I not seeing?” They’re always there, but you’ve got to choose to see them.

I LOVE this prompt. Thankfully I learned this lesson awhile ago, but it's not an easy one to hang onto because "the world buzzes about goals and visions." It is really tough to respond to the questions about your goals, visions, dreams, one-five-10-year plans with, "I know I want to do this, but I'm staying open to possibilities and opportunities that come along." People just don't comprehend that; they want a solid plan.

In college, I was very one-track-minded. I was a journalism major, and anything that did not contribute to that goal was not worth my time. I carefully selected courses that would make me a better writer and thinker. I read all the time. I knew what I wanted to be: a newspaper reporter. Why should I entertain anything else? In college that is a HUGE mistake, and I partly blame my father for insisting that I declare a major as an incoming freshman. I wish I had the guts to explore other majors or careers. I wish I had taken a couple of random courses that had nothing to do with journalism or media. I missed those opportunities that may have been.

Guess what? I have not worked a day of my life as a full-time staff newspaper reporter. Never. Instead my career looks like a Venn diagram with newspaper reporter in the middle; I just dance around in the bubbles on the outskirts. It has been a learning experience for sure, and the most important lesson I have taken away? Remain open to what may come. Don't block anything out. Even if you don't love it, you will learn something. It's all about the journey, right?

Now I don't mind telling friends and family that I'm not really sure where I'm going; I'm along for the ride. I think most of them get that about me. It's still really hard, though, to fend off the questions at work -- in the professional setting. I'm not an easy employee to manage when you are trying to set my goals for the upcoming year, and I really don't have a five-year plan for myself. So, I take what comes; I try new things. This year is the perfect example: I have taken on an objective that is pretty far out there from anything I saw myself doing, but I think I am going to learn a lot. That's what it's all about, right?

#Trust30 is an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. Use this as an opportunity to reflect on your now, and to create direction for your future. 30 prompts from inspiring thought-leaders will guide you on your writing journey. 

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Life is all about the journey, not the destination. I truly believe that. Good post, my friend!