This one comes from a personal perspective. The experience below is mine but I am sure that anyone can relate to wanting more. I am sure there are people who are brave enough to face the tides and make the changes they need. Yet, there are countless others who simply meander through their life wondering if or “When” something is going to happen. They wait so they can catch a break.
At one point, I was that person too.
So, please read on.
After a terrible time in my life, I had to make a decision. My choice was to either stay as I was or move in a new direction and allow myself the dignity of becoming something else. I had to make changes or stay the same. Without change, this meant that I would live in the same environment, stay around the same people or with the same so-called friends. This meant live the same way and think the same thoughts. I’d work the same way, commute the same and be in the same channel of thinking for the rest of my life, which in all sincerity, I knew that I wanted more. I knew that I wanted better for myself. I wanted a better job. I wanted to make more money. I wanted to do what “I” wanted to do.
But how could I make this happen?
In a sense, I came to a personal crossroads. It was clear that I was unhappy. I was not happy with my work life. I was unsatisfied with my home life. In which case, the choice to make was either move or stay the same. Another honest way to state this was do I trade my comforts for the demons I know over the unknown fears of what comes next after I walk out the door?
There came a time when I could no longer rationalize my surroundings. The denial would no longer suffice. By then, I saw too clearly. At that point, I saw no benefit to stay where I was. Meanwhile, I was afraid to move on. I was afraid of the unknown. More importantly, I was afraid to fail. I was afraid of the work it takes to make changes because, let’s be honest, what if the lies I believed about myself were true? This would mean where I was is the only place I could exist.
As a child, I was labeled with a learning disability. To me, I thought that this meant that I was stupid. To me, the idea of being learning disabled meant that I would never be like anyone else, that I was not as good, as worthy or as smart. I believed this wholeheartedly yet none of this was true.
Instead, the only truth to my learning disability was that I needed to find a different way to relate to information. Once I found this, I learned that my retention was fine. This was a matter of making a connection, which had nothing to do with my intellect. It wasn’t that I couldn’t learn. It wasn’t that I couldn’t add or subtract. In part, I struggled with a belief system that later became systemic. I believed in my doubts over my fears. I believed that at best, this was all I could ever be. Therefore, I didn’t understand the abilities of empowerment and encouragement. My intimidation became so overwhelming to me that I began to accept the subpar standards for myself and why wouldn’t I? I was learning disabled, right?
As the reader, you may be wondering “What’s the point of this?” Well, my point is this: if you have read this far than there must be a reason for it. If you have read this far then perhaps you are interested in making changes for yourself. Maybe the title alone, “Working for a Living,” was enough to pique your interest. Or, maybe there’s a need to be more than the 85% of people who are unsatisfied with their career. Either way, the reason for this entry will become clear shortly.
I found myself alone and on the verge of different changes. I was working at a dead-end job and steering through a hostile work environment. I was struggling with the ideas of change. I wanted to do something else.
Moreover, I wanted to be someone else but whom?
After all, the only person I ever knew how to be was me.
This part took work.
I had to take some time to consider my surroundings and ask myself some important questions:
What am I lacking?
What do I want my future to look like?
If I stay where I am (or as I am), will my future be what I want it to be?
I found that these were basic but very valuable questions.
I had to ask myself:
Would my life improve if I chose to make changes?
If I answered yes, then I had to ask myself, “When is it my turn to have the life I want?”
I had to ask:
Are you willing to put the work in?
If I answered no, then I had to ask myself, “Why?”
Change is work. There is no mistake about this. Life is work too and don’t let anyone ever tell you differently.
Otherwise, our life is like Newton’s Law of Motion: :An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.“
My catalyst of change is personal to me. My challenges and struggles are equally personal; however, I came to a position in my life where change was necessary. Otherwise, I would either remain in motion (or at rest) until an unbalanced source beyond my control came along and made changes for me.
What kind of life is that?
I used to wonder when it was my turn to have the life I wanted. This was more than a question, it was more like a constant burden. At no point did I activate any of my ideas or allow myself the motion to put my plans into action.
There are people who I have met that wish for more; but yet, they stay as they are. They honor their excuses over their passions. They hold their insecurities tighter than their desires and one by one, they watch their dreams crumble like wasted paper.
This was me.
There is a word we use and we use this word often.
This is a simple one too.
The word is “When.”
When, as in what time will something happen.
Everything we do is circled around that word.
When are we gonna do something differently?
Or when is something different going to happen?
And there’s that inner voice we hear too.
When is it gonna be my turn?
When am I gonna get a break?
When does life get better?
When will I stop doing the same things and expect different results?
Or better yet, when am I going to stop asking myself the same questions?
Life changes the minute we stop waiting for things to happen. At all points, we are always the square root to our own equation. There are only so many things that we can control. We cannot control outcomes. We cannot control who goes or stays. We can’t control the weather or the world as it turns. At this point, all we can do here on Project Earth is contribute to our efforts. Everything else is non negotiable. However, efforts create changes.
Rather than depend upon the unbalanced force, we empower ourselves to be the change.
We can ask ourselves, “Is this what we want?”
If the answer is no, then we have the right to improve.
This way, if we encounter an unbalanced force, at least now we can accept the laws of inertia and move in a better direction than if we were left unprepared (or beaten).
Rather than existing, the goal is “Living.”
This is when our “When” moments become “Now.”
In my case, I had to stop the excuse machine. I had to put away the old patterns of thinking and let go of my old self. There was no point holding onto my doubts. I had to give myself the permission to try. Above all, I earned the right to succeed or fail. I earned the right to try, which is why I am here now, reaching out to you.
I came to supplication with myself. I decided that I never wanted to be on the weak side of a statistic. I never wanted to be something that did not empower me or urge me to improve.
I chose to change and yes, there were challenges.
But I earned what I have. I earned the right to improve, to better myself; but more, I earned the right to act “Now” instead of depending on “When.” Fail or succeed, I am no longer at the mercy of a life that’s left in a waiting room.
It’s amazing to me. A friend of mine asked me what my biggest setback was when I started this journey. I laughed about a critic who slammed me in a review. This was years ago and I can still see the wording in my head as I read this from a computer screen. I was crushed.
“So, what’d you do,” asked my friend.
“I kept writing,” I said.
“Because nothing else was in my control.”