I often hear from clients and others in my life how they want their life to be different. They go on and on about how unhappy they are in their job, with their family, their health, etc… Finally I ask, “So what do you want your life to look like?” and typically I get either a blank stare or my ‘favorite’ response, “I don’t know, there is nothing I can change.”
Why is it socially acceptable to complain about all the things in life we are dissatisfied with and ok to do nothing about it? However, when someone does take control of their life and they make a change, people are shocked, often in a negative way. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? As children, we are programed to plan for the future, know the answer for “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We are trained to go to school, take tests, go to college, get a full-time job that will “pay the bills”, get a spouse, have kids, work until we are considered a senior, retire, help with the grandkids, and die. Sounds simplistic and a bit harsh perhaps, but is it not the truth more often than not? For the general population, nothing (with maybe the exception of children) is done because there is passion behind it. Nothing “lights that fire” that gets them excited to get out of bed and face what the day will present. Life from the start is all about routine. Life is like a black and white TV with only 2 or 3 channels.
Then there are those that seem to live in full HD color with as many channels as you want? As children they daydream, yet seem to know what is going on at all times. They ask questions because they truly seek to understand why things are the way they are. When the other kids go right, following the person in front of them who is dutifully following the teacher, this child notices a butterfly off to the left, they will still follow the class, but they will think about that butterfly and wonder what adventures it is taking. They may or may not go to college, either way, they are always outside of the box that the masses are in. They feel fully and passionately. They are aware and they always are searching for more, even at times without a true purpose, they search because they can and they know there is always new adventures to go on. But even while they search, they are able to live very much in the present moment. They are balanced at their core.
So how often do we ask ourselves, “What do I want my life to look like?” and then follow that up with, “What am I going to do to to make that life happen?” What if you allowed yourself to live outside the box that has been around you? What if you allowed yourself to dream of YOUR ideal life and then you went and got it? Very simply, the only thing that is different between the two types of people I described is that one notices the butterfly while all others just follow the one in front. One sees their life as open opportunities, the other sees only their life that is in front of them.
You are only as limited in your possibilities as you tell yourself you are. It takes work to live outside the box, no one is paving your path, but when you live outside the box, the path you create is yours to pave.