“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”
Remember being a kid when the whole world was seemingly so full of opportunities, you saw wrongs that had to be righted, countries to be visited, companies to be started. You truly envisaged living the life you dreamt of. You didn’t know how you would get there, but you would. It was just a matter of time – getting a little older, making the right choices, being brave, that’s all it was gonna take.
And now, today, you still experience passing moments that hark back to the ambitions and dreams you carried as a younger version of yourself, ambitions that you oh so fervently believed would become realities. Yet here you are, not quite there yet, a little older than you wish you were, and not quite on the right track to get where you want to be. “SH *T, it wasn’t supposed to be like this”. Ouch.
I was hiking in Argentina this week and I met two great guys, one from Scotland and one from England. We spent a few days together, and it transpired that they work for one of the ‘Big Four’ audit firms, a household name. They were pushing 30, good salaries, ‘living the dream’ in London, their parents could brag about their awesome careers, and they could afford nice holidays like this one in Patagonia. Yet they were miserable with their jobs, their lifestyles and their prospects. Knowing they wanted to escape before it’s too late, but admitted they probably won’t. I spent the next two days trying to convince these guys to follow their hearts, live with a smile on your face, not to dread Mondays every week – we only have so many of them in our short lives.
Spare a thought too for John, who went viral over at Reddit this week, who confessed to ‘fucking up’ his whole life. He was almost 50, miserable, depressed and unfulfilled. Financially comfortable, yet felt like he had burned his whole life with a safe career he didn’t love, long hours for more promotions at the expense of his loved ones, and an unhealthy lifestyle. Now here was baring his soul, warning others not to make the same mistakes he did. Take heed.
We’re constantly scared to make bold decisions; the path of least resistance draws us in hungrily. Societal pressures subconsciously dictate which decisions we make, and we choose to mirror our friends’ mistakes rather than go it alone. Better to stay part of the pack, safety in numbers, we’re all in it together. This is life, it’s not quite what I hoped it would be, but it’s manageable. And so a life of mediocracy awaits.
We’re so beaten down with negativity and fear that we don’t truly, truly believe that we can do what we want. We’re cowards but we won’t admit it, none of us. Not you, your friends, the paper you read or the company you work for. Every morning you wake up, you have decisions to make. Delaying that decision merely means that you’ve already decided to accept where you are right now. You know what we want in your life. But here you are, not actively doing anything to make it happen.
It’s got to stop. It’s time to be brave. To rekindle those dreams of your youth and go out and make them happen.
You’re young, you’re educated, you’re privileged. You’re English speaking, you’re internet savvy, you’re informed. You should be free, you should be happy, you should be fulfilled. You should be brave.
True bravery doesn’t mean standing up to your boss at the job you hate, it means quitting the job you hate. True bravery isn’t managing your problems, it’s removing them.
It takes true bravery to accept you’re not in the right place, not in the place you dreamt you would be when you envisaged your life a few years back. It takes more bravery still to make a proactive decision to make a genuine change.
So be brave folks. Wake up from your slumber and go and get whatever it is you want. It’s possible, truly it is. Listen to poor John over at Reddit, learn from his mistakes, stop living life vicariously through someone else. Be brave now, before it’s too late.