A mate is nearing 40, and he’s a bit down about the fact. Behind him are his hopes of playing footy for Australia, travelling around the world as a male model, having a real career, playing lead guitar like Slash from Guns n’ Roses, and, well, everything in fact. He came to me because I’m the most motivated bloke he knows… apparently.
We talked for a little while, and it dawned on me that I wasn’t that far behind him! I too had a heap of unfulfilled hopes, dreams and desires. Things that I’ve wanted to accomplish for years, and have been putting off until ‘the time is right’ ie: when the kids are older, when we’ve got more money, when… Jupiter aligns with Mars, I don’t know?! Yeah, so much for Mr. Motivation!
The thing is, I work with, and know people who have spent their entire lives putting things off until ‘the time is right’, and they are miserable, envious, and generally frustrated. And when some of them actually take their first nervous steps towards achieving one of their goals, they are amazed at how alive and fulfilled they feel, and often wonder why they put it off for so long.
Why? The answer, I am guessing, is fear. Fear of leaving ‘Comfort Central’. Fear of poverty, accident, disaster, being mocked for having a go, then failing, thus proving everyone right about you being a fool. Fear of crawling back to a job you hate. Fear of, well, sometimes we don’t know what we’re afraid of, but there must be something, because whatever it is, it’s stopping you (me!) in your tracks.
My big fear is that of all the choices in front of me, I’ll pick the exact wrong one, and really stuff up all my hard fought for ground. Indecision Procrastination, too many choices, too little time.
But things are changing…
Lately, I’ve started chanting a simple mantra when I get a bit ‘blah’ about the future, it goes like this:
“Others have done it, you can too, pick yourself up and have a go!
Others have done it, you can too, write your way out of the job you do!”
Hey, it’s corny, it’s tacky, but it stops all the negative thoughts in their tracks, before they have a chance to spiral my thinking into the ground. Stopping those vicious ‘circling thoughts’ is a skill, and I’ve only just started really practicing it in a serious way. Results so far have been encouraging. I’ve got an instant energy boost for starters! And at work last night, when a host of things were starting to mount up and I could feel the ol’ rage button being pushed, I repeated the little mantra 3 times, and Lo! I was still mad as hell 🙂 but the edge had been taken off as the following picture replaced the harmful thoughts:
Me, the writer, sitting at my desk and looking back on this time and smiling.
Yet every now and then that niggling, fearful little voice pipes up, ‘What if it’s the wrong dream?’ To which I immediately think, ‘Better to have a go, than never know.’
I’ll keep you posted…