This article was inspired by a recent email we received:
Dear Marc and Angel,
I am a 38-year old college drop-out whose childhood dream was to become a psychologist like my grandfather. Right now, I am a librarian at a city library who moonlights on the side as a life coach. I enjoy my day job, but my life coaching gig is the work that really moves me – it gives me a chance to indirectly dabble in psychological counseling. This side gig has started to gain traction, and several of my recent clients have told me that I would have made a great medical psychologist.
But if I go back to college and get my degree, then go to graduate school, then complete my internship and dissertation, and finally begin my own legitimate psychologist/counseling practice, it will take me almost eight years from today. And, in eight years I will be 46 years old!
I’m trying to decide what I want to do. Do you have any thoughts or advice for me?
Sincerely,An Inspired Reader
Dear Inspired Reader,
Sometimes asking the right question is the answer. Therefore, we have one for you:
In eight years from today, how old will you be if you don’t do it?
As Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are: “It might have been.”
Forget the past. Forget your age. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. At the end of it, let there be no excuses, no explanations, and no regrets.
Here are ten ideas to get you there…
- Wear your truth. – As long as you keep being YOU, as long as you keep staying true to yourself and the passions that move you, it doesn’t matter how many jobs you get or don’t get, how many mistakes you make, or how many times you have to pull a u-turn. None of it matters. What matters is that you’re living in your truth. The people who need you will eventually find you – the real you. And you will find the people you need. You will find the answers you need. But more importantly, you will find the questions you would have never thought to ask.
- Take time before it’s too late. – Before you know it you’ll be asking, “How did it get so late so soon?” Take time to figure yourself out. Take time to realize what it is you want. Take time to take risks. Take time to love, laugh, cry, and forgive. Life is shorter than it often seems. Take time before it’s too late. Look straight ahead and say “YES” to the opportunities coming your way. Happiness and success never come to look for you while you wait around. You’ve got to get out there, take chances, and work at it to make your dreams come true.
- Be the leader of your own journey. – There are far too many capable people who don’t pursue their dreams and goals because they let their fears and others talk them out of it. They give up before they even try, and simply let life’s river flow them downstream. Choose to be stronger than that. Choose to swim upstream when you have to. Choose to do the things in life that move you. Let others lead small lives. Let others argue over small things. Let others cry over small wounds. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands. But not you
- Take calculated risks. – There is no excuse for being an amateur forever. Life is short. The day is rapidly approaching when the risk to remain tight in a bud is far more detrimental than the risk it takes to blossom. Blossom! Spread your wings. Start now. What a disgrace it would be for you to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of your full potential.
- Change your thoughts. – Thoughts are power. They create and destroy. What is possible is everything. What you do is up to you. Look around and you will see that almost your entire life has been born out of your thoughts. Know this, and plant your seeds accordingly. You can change your mind at any moment. So go ahead. Change it right now.
- Think you CAN. – If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. And change breeds growth. So when a goal seems big and a plan looks tough, just start, push through it for awhile, and soon the next thing you need to do will look possible. Step by step you can get through anything – this is the truth and you have to believe it. In the end, you’re going to succeed because you’re crazy enough to think you can.
- Concentrate on being your best self. – Negativity becomes a life altering habit, just the same as positivity; the difference is the amount of belief you hold in yourself, and how you use this belief to fuel your growth. Never think that what you have to offer is insignificant. When the time is right, there will be forces out there in need of exactly what you have to offer. So hang in there, stay positive, and remember that the connections you’re looking for in life typically become visible when you’re working hard at being your best self, and not looking at all.
- Pay attention to life while you’re living it. – Realize that life is simply a collection of little chances for happiness, each lived one second at a time. That some time each day should be spent noticing the beauty in the space between the big events. That moments of dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes cannot be bettered. But most of all, realize that life is about being here and now, watching and listening without a clock and without anticipation of results at every moment, and sometimes, on good days, for letting these little moments fill your heart with passion and love. Read The Power of Now.
- Share your love openly and honestly with those you love. – No matter what, you’re going to lose people in your life. Realize that no matter how much time you spend with someone, or how much you appreciate them, sometimes it will never seem like you had enough time together. Don’t learn this lesson the hard way. Express your love. Tell people what you need to tell them. Don’t shy away from important conversations because you feel awkward or uncomfortable. You never know when you might lose your opportunity.
- Say “goodbye” so you can say “hello.” – In life, goodbyes are a gift. When certain people walk away from you, and certain opportunities close their doors on you, there is no need to hold onto them or pray to keep them present in your life. If they close you out, take it as a direct indication that these people, circumstances and opportunities are not part of the plan for the next step of your life. It’s a hint that your personal growth requires someone different and something more, and life is simply making room. So embrace your goodbyes, because every “goodbye” you receive sets you up for an even better “hello.”