Just for a moment, imagine the world was ending tomorrow… not difficult I know with the excess media about the Mayan prophecy.. My aim is not to convince readers that the Mayan calendar is correct, nor that the world is ending tomorrow, I’m merely suggesting that this might be a good excuse to pause and take reflection on our current state of affairs, and our personal basis for decision making – a tool of self-reflection if you will – for all lifes big decisions – career, love, family, retirement….
So if the world was ending tomorrow, what would you like to be recognised for? Which goals and achievements would you like to have associated with your name? Many people ask themselves this question, and of the few that take the time to answer it, a considerable proportion of this few then immediately dismiss this same answer believing it to be unreasonable, insufficient, and ultimately not worthy of any further consideration.
After all, it is likely, it does not coincide with their existing path, it carries impracticalities, and it does not match up to the social norm. However, lets face it, these three ideas are based largely on our concern over the financial implications of such decisions. It is our genuine belief, imposed by upbringing and social norms, that ‘thing’ we would like to be known for is unlikely to be financially secure, as it will likely have been ruled by our heart over the head. This is based on assumptions that matters of the heart are destined for failure, as they are derived from illogical means, or at least, they are considered to be less logical than that which the brain is capable of. Ultimately we are taught to seek out the thing we are most capable of, and so the decision in the mind usually wins. However, this decision does not take into account the potential for you being truely great at that ‘thing’ which your heart desires. It does not include your overwhelming drive and inclination to succeed because of the importance of that ‘thing’ to you.
I recently came across a clip on youtube “What if Money was no object” – read by Alan Watts, a contemporary philosopher and writer.. The clip asks the viewer to consider the one thing that matters to them, if money played no factor. If you could be a painter or a writer, and if you or your family would not suffer financially, would this be the one thing that you would want to be? If the answer is ‘yes’ then you should follow that path regardless of the financial implications. The clip follows on to explain, the reason you should not worry about the money is because in any job you must first learn the craft, practise it, perfect it to become a master. For any master of that craft they are then able to charge a reasonable fee. Money, therefore, as a factor in the decision is argued to be irrelevant. After all, your chance of becoming a master in that craft is dramatically increased by the very fact that your drive & inclination are higher than others that have stumbled into the craft without a strong desire to be in it.
Besides from career choices, the same decision making process can be used for many big life decisions – you are forming some questions in your head as I write this – whether to work, travel, marry, or retire. And by the same juncture, your heart is forming some answers too.. pause.. give yourself some time, and really consider them.
Although I like the Alan Watts clip, I do not entirely agree that money can be disregarded entirely. Ultimately we cannot entirely escape the responsibilities of the society that we live in. However, I believe money as an initial premise can be disregarded to help put you on to the right path, and once that path has been set upon, the financial practicalities can be factored in to ensure its’ success. If you would like to be known as a painter, writer, or musician, then you should try it. Obviously you may have to consider painting/performing evenings and weekends until your skill improves, and until your talent becomes recognised… and then once your craft seems reasonably self-sustaining you can take the launch and ensure you are known solely and whole-heartedly for that thing…
Keep in mind, for every day you reflect upon your current achievements, and aspire to be known for entirely different ones then you must make it your goal to achieve them. There is no guaranty you will reach these goals, nor whether the world may end before you become recognised for the thing you desire to be known for, but if you make a start your chance of success is infinitely greater than if you fail to try.
So, it’s late and I ought to get some sleep in case the apocolypse is nye… if you get to (now) this evening and presuming the world has not ended, take the time to consider… what would you be known for today if it does end… more importantly, if it doesn’t, what would you want to be known for if it were to end soon?
Remember that ‘thing’ you’ve been thinking about whilst you’ve been reading this piece… Make that ‘thing’ happen… why the hell not. Ooops. No heaven for me!