Many of us go through life wondering why things are not falling into place. We do the "right" things; those things that others do and seem to be achieving the type of results that we want – job promotions, finding love, building successful businesses, impacting lives and nations and so on. Yet, those results fail to manifest in our lives even though we are seemingly doing all the right things. The reason can be simple. Ask yourself – are you on the right path to achieving your goals?
Know your next destination
In life, everyone has goals, we have ambitions, we have dreams. We go through the journey called life and hope to achieve those ambitions, goals and dream; to get to a destination. A Destination and not THE Destination because there isn't just one single destination since the achievement of one goal opens the opportunity to start another journey. For instance, completion of GCSEs leads to setting of another goal to get a degree.
Life is therefore an ongoing journey. We set-off on a path the moment we are born. However, sometimes we get to a junction in life, we see someone that seems to be heading in the same direction we want to go and we follow them. We have no understanding of their foundation or their next destination, but we follow them – we get on their path. They set the pace, we follow; they take the next turn and again we follow.
One day, I was driving with a colleague to a work event. There was traffic on the main route, so we went on the back streets. We did not know the back route, so we were pleased to see another colleague ahead of us. He was going to the same event; the same destination – so we thought. We kept on his trail even though our instinct was telling us that we were on the wrong path. After a while, he turned into a private residence. That was his destination. We were on the wrong path.
It is time to stop living someone else’s dream, following someone else’s path. Get onto your own life-path. How do we do this?
Understand your foundation, it creates the DNA of who you are
Each of us have unique skills and attributes for our journey; many of which are a result of our foundation – the parents we were born to; the part of the world we grew up in, our education, our foundational morals, the mentors we had and still have, the time and era in which we were born. We acquire more skills and attributes as we grow older. Our successes and failures, our disappointments and accomplishments – everything adds to the armoury of who we are.
Haile Gebrselassie, the now retired long distance runner, is one of the most talented of his time and remains one of the greatest distant runners to have lived. Haile was born in Ethiopia and grew up on a farm. He was one of ten children. As a child, he ran 20 km each day - 10 km to school in the morning and another 10km back home in the evening - each time holding his school books in his left hand. When Halle became an athlete, he was known to run with his left arm static and cocked as if still holding his school books. The foundation was built even before he started competitive races.
Take time to understand your own foundation and appreciate those things in your background (good or bad) that have made you the person you are today.
An example of a positive foundation could be a person who has been exposed to music all their lives. They are likely to have a love for music and probably work in the music industry. I loved maths as a child because my father spent time teaching me from the very basic principles. He thought me in a way that made maths logical, relevant and interesting. Today, I still love maths because of this foundation.
Sometimes, the frustration from our past lives impact our future. Richard Branson the founder of the Virgin Group is quoted as saying “There is no point in starting your own business unless you do it out of a sense of frustration”. Out of frustration, he started his business. At an early age, Richard failed to convince a major publishing house to buy out his student magazine. He used this frustration to his advantage and today, he has over 400 companies globally.
All our experiences become part of the DNA of who we are and that DNA keeps evolving.
Take inspiration from others as fuel for your journey, not as the compass
Many do not know Haile Gebrselassie's history and yet try to emulate his running success. Haile has skills and attributes that evolved out of his foundation and cannot be replicated by others. Aspiring long distance runners should study others for inspiration, but should not try to replicate his cocked hand hoping that this will bring them success. It is not in their DNA.
There are lessons to be learnt from those that have gone before us and those that are walking the same path that we are walking today. However, with the best will in the world, we cannot replicate the path that they trod in the past. I cannot appreciate the frustration that people like Haile or Richard Branson experienced, neither can I replicate it. However, I can identify the points of my own frustration and let that drive me to start my own business or be a world class athlete.
Fuel is required for every journey. As the journey progresses, we may need refuelling to energise us. This is what inspiration does, it energises us for the next steps. The compass however remains fixed on the set destination. It is not dependent on how long we travel or what route we take. The compass should be fixed on your next destination rather than try to re-set it for someone else destination.
- Focus on your next destination
- Know and embrace your unique skills and attributes – these form your DNA
- Stick to your own path and avoid drifting to another path simply because you see others on a different paths.
Oftentimes, we expend unnecessarily energy living someones else's dreams and remain unfulfilled. Its your life, its your goal, make sure you are working on your own path.
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