Ok then, let’s get right to the heart of this question: what is stopping you doing what you’ve always dreamed of? The mere hint of it sets your heart racing and you daydream a thousand daydreams, in total abandonment. That’s your passion, that’s you, telling you what you want, that’s you saying to yourself that you are capable of fulfilling your life’s dreams – if only you have the courage to listen. So why don’t you?
Well, we all have dream-stealers, be it your own conscience, partner, parents, school career advisors or even your latest best friend, who constantly reminds you how inept you are, and that you are incapable of fulfilling your dreams. They are so well-meaning, aren’t they, yet they still take you apart, piece by piece, until you fit their model of what they want you to be. Then you slot into that miserable life rut – get up, go to work, watch TV, get up, go to work, watch TV, get up, go to work, watch TV –and, if you’re lucky, go to church on Sundays.
Ask most youngsters what they want out of life and they will always come back at you with wanting to be rich and owning a big house or fast car. Hardly any of them will say, “To be happy and content with life”. Yet it is a well-known and proven fact that the accumulation of wealth and property doesn’t create happiness.
Nobody seems to ask themselves “who they are” any more, or what are they “wired to be”. Take me, for instance: I’m the wrong side of 50 and am carrying the odd kilo more than I should; one thing I’m not is an athlete, I like good food too much and always have done! So I pay the consequences of that. People should ask: “What do you have?”; “What natural given talent has been given to you, and what are you doing with it?” You should excel. If you do not use your talent, and go against it, it will create anxiety, unnecessary pressure at work and at home, and stress beyond belief, all because you have not listened to yourself.
Let’s take it further and nearer to home. You’ve always wanted to be a teacher, because you have always dreamed of wanting to help the under-privileged primary children get a better start in life. This passion flows through your very system and you cannot think of anything else, night and day. From the age of four, you even told your parents that you wanted to teach little ones, yet you work in the family shop, selling bread or bakery, because you think that’s what the family needs you to do. What a waste of life and passion – it’s almost criminal!
If you were given the privilege and ability to manage your fellow man, or create wealth, have you used that immense God-given talent just for the amassing of your own bank account? Got yourself a bigger car, another house somewhere on the Algarve – is that really all you were put here for? Or is there something else waiting for you to do, for the betterment of somebody less fortunate?
There is a very popular book, called The Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren (published by Zondervan). He is a minister, so there is an ecclesiastic slant to the book, of course. However, if you take that and leave it to one side, just look at the management philosophy he is trying to describe. His writings are about the management of “affluence and influence” – a person’s natural ability to make money and create a mechanism (business) for the generation of wealth, which is just such an amazing talent. But what else can we do with that talent for the benefit of others? It may be a case of building the business bigger, and employing more people. That was the philosophy of a bakery business in Kazakhstan that I had the privilege to work in some years ago. Or it may be becoming involved in a body that actually needs your talents to organise (influence) – they, too, need structure and guidance.
We are only walking this earth for a very short time, so shouldn’t we be doing what we want to do, what we’re good at, and for the betterment of all around us? No matter what those skills are, if they make us happy, then so be it.