Sitting here watching my kids enjoy their Christmas presents going round and around on their scooters and plasma cars, I can’t help but think about the parallels to life’s journey. Round and around they go, faster and faster, trying new tricks and seeing who can beat whom. One cuts off the other, stops short to cause a near collision, or they out maneuver the other by speeding past on the inside of a turn. Frustration ensues at being bested and the aggressive circling continues. It’s a familiar journey they’ll be following throughout their life journey.
I really hope it won’t always be a journey of endless circles for them but as most people can attest it feels at times like there isn’t much progress or change. That circle takes it’s toll and when we’re just about to hit cruise control we’re sometimes rewarded with an outpouring of successes or new doors open. Unexpected doors with new opportunities and challenging new circles and tricks to learn.
We start by going to school year after year wondering when it’ll end only to be rewarded with the floodgates of college life or a career. Then we step right into day after day at a job and after working hard we might find ourselves at a new crossroads from time to time. A point where we can take a new path, a new set of curves and challenges or continue on the familiar well worn path we’re comfortably on perhaps with some upward movement.
The question then becomes, do we take that inside track and cut to the inside scaring (and angering) some people? Stop short and cause a crash? Or perhaps we continue the comfortable circle focusing on other things?
Let’s face it, we all find ways to pass the time. Anything from our endless hobbies of golf, tennis, cycling, gaming or our seemingly endless “keeping up” with the latest technology or news. These things are all designed to release ourselves from our responsibilities, have some fun, let off a little steam, or divert our attention from the drudgery … an escapism from reality or that endless circle of life.
Some people catch a glimpse of or find that perfect path that’s both fun and rewarding. They’ve mastered that cut to the inside to set themselves up for exactly what they wanted at the right place and right time. Careers that fit their personality and lifestyle without compromise. Sometimes we can even convince ourselves that we’ve found that perfect path only to be forced back to reality soon thereafter.
Does the rarity of that pathway mean we all should accept our places and just “escape” when we seek release? Stop searching for that opportunity or for that career that fits our personality? Should we accept that it’s rare enough that we could spend forever searching and never find it, destine to doing circles with everyone else?
Or perhaps we shouldn’t look at it as a rare and hard to attain goal because perhaps we’ve searching for it wrong. When you first start to ride that scooter or that plasma car how do you learn it? Usually by listening to people in your inner childhood circle, likely your parents or friends. That’s probably fine for something like a scooter but are your parents or friends the best people to teach or guide you about a career path (like writing) if they themselves have no experience with it? If your English teacher is a failed author perhaps they’re not the best or only person who should advise you on what your writing potential is or isn’t.
Seek out someone who’s a success or inspiration in their circle. Someone who’s learned to cut to the inside or do some amazing tricks on their scooter. For authors maybe they’ve managed to write a book every few years or are accomplished writers. Maybe they’ve released their own software or started their own successful companies. It doesn’t matter where you look just make sure you look to the right people and most of all you look inside yourself.
In the end each person takes their own path along their life journey. By a certain point, usually some time around high school, they’ve either become focused on reaching for their dreams or they’ve diverted their attention to something else entirely. Depending on who guided them along the way this dream journey can happen sooner rather than later or not at all for some people.
Don’t settle or get diverted along your journey only to find yourself doing circles years later. Don’t be distracted from your dreams, no matter your age or position in life it’s never too late to realize this. Think hard about what you love, what inspires you, and what makes you excited and then do those things often. Being sure that you find ways to make those things central to your life and your journey means you’ll do less endless circles and more exciting tricks with your friends and family.
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