A young man on Humans Of New York caught my mind with this recently –
“Many years ago I had a martial arts master from Korea. It was just like in the movies—he’d make me do crazy things like carry buckets of water up flights of stairs. He was very unaccepting of apathy. I was young at the time, so when he’d asked me a question, I’d often answer by shrugging, or saying ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I guess.’ Then one day, he told me: ‘You never give me straight answer. Your life is too complicate. I make simple for you. Do you want to be weak or strong?’
I said, ‘Strong.’
‘Do you want to be slow or fast?’
‘Do you want to be smart or stupid?’
‘Do you want to be alive or dead?’
‘You shrug one more time, you’ll want to be dead.’”
So often we know we want something but we don’t quite know what it is, or if we do, we don’t quite know how to do it.
We humans are born fairly useless. Compared to all of these beautiful, instinctual creatures that walk and hunt within hours of arriving in the world, we are pretty much useless for a few years…. and then, we only really get great at stuff if we mimic, and learn and study and practice, practice, practice.
When I tell people I now write for a living many reply that they want to write a book, or start a blog, but they just don’t know how. Or they can’t decide what they want to do exactly.
While I started with no plan whatsoever, and I would thoroughly tell anyone to simply begin heading in the direction you think you want to go, I will also say if you don’t know what you want, how can you achieve it?
I knew I wanted to write, and I knew getting paid for it would be amazeballs, but I had no idea what the rest of the picture would or could look like.
Pinpointing what your passion, or identifying the source of your dissatisfaction, may not come easily at first, but instead of continuing to put off doing SOMETHING and allowing satisfaction to slip further from your grasp, maybe your should just begin now.
If you start something and decide it’s not your thang, and subsequently quit it that is not failing. That is stopping because it doesn’t float your boat, or you’ve realised that it isn’t ultimately what you want.
I’ve done that a million times.
And I gained a wealth of experience that creates the intricate jigsaw of abilities and knowledge that make up the picture of my skill set.
If you start and it morphs into a different direction and you end up on a totally different track, that’s awesome because you’ve been a brave explorer discovering new lands.
If you think you’re too old to start reaching for a dream, in five years time, you will just be 5 years older and still no closer to satisfying your yearning heart, so age is really not a valid reason to wait.
Too busy is a totally valid one, but life never truly slows to a pace where you can fit more in, but when you take something you love on, time seems to be created. It’s a strange phenomenon about the elasticity of time.
If it’s your career that shitting you but you don’t feel you can pack it in and start afresh, you needn’t run away and join the circus and shun all responsibility. You could find a casual way to dip your toe into new waters. A weekend cooking or writing course, an amateur drama society, tango or sailing lessons once a week.
If it’s your relationship that you feel isn’t satisfying you, you need to first work out if the issue is just your underlying dissatisfaction or does your relationship need some help? We get in ruts, in our entire lives, and suddenly everything feels like Groundhog Day….. so again, I ask –
Do you know what you want?
I received a response from my newsletter (have you signed up – you totally should) saying it made her want to be a bit braver.
How awesome is that?
I asked her what that would look like….. Her answer made me smile and it’s her answer not really mine to share, but it made want to ask you guys do you know what you want?
Do you know how to get it? If you were to be a bit braver, what would that look like?
I believe in just making a start and working out the details as you go, otherwise you can get bogged in the details and you never end up starting anything.
So today I want to say be brave.
Be brave and just do it.
And don’t stop doing it until you’ve achieved what you want.
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