An interesting thing happened to me after the birth of my fourth child; I finally figured out what my time was worth.
You see before this I used to treat my time like I used to treat my exams in school; to largely ignore what the teacher taught during term time, then cram like mad the night before the exam, hoping I’d remember enough to get me through with at least a pass. There was no planning, forethought or even, dare I say it, care for the subject in hand. Yet the truth was that if I actually wanted to pass school with adequate exams, then study was a necessary requirement.
It is increasingly apparent to me that most of us are not programmed to proactively plan our lives.
And why would we be? When we are children, our parents tell us what to do the majority of the time; when to eat, when to sleep, when to get up and what we can and can’t do. At school you were told (up to a certain age) what subjects to study, when to eat, when to exercise and when to go home. Freedom of thought and freedom of choice isn’t something that is actively encouraged, and in some institutions, it’s considered a punishable offence (I constantly broke the rules in school).
Our society is not conditioned to teach us how to think, over what to think. And in my opinion, the main problem with being taught what to think versus how to think is that we never really learn to use our brains. We move into adulthood and the freedom to make our own choices, without having really learned how to choose things that move us towards what we want and how to use those choices effectively. In fact, many of us don’t even know what we want most of the time.
When I first sat down to work out my goals, I hadn’t a clue what to put down. It was really really tough to express my desires for my life on paper, and even harder to break them down into steps and make them measurable. Many experts advise you to visualise your ideal life and work backwards. But the problem with this is that it all seems too much, too big or just too silly. Dreams are for kids aren’t they?
The sad thing about becoming an adult is that we stop dreaming.
We stop creating magic in our heads and connecting to it with purpose and vision. Children connect with that which makes them happy, and blow it up into the biggest thing they can imagine in their heads. They don’t judge themselves for wanting something and deem it to be silly. It’s the adults that teach them to do that. Imagine, if as children, we were taught how to connect to that dream, and helped to work out the steps to make it a reality? Imagine if we realised that virtually anything we dreamed was possible?
It’s never too late to learn. Maybe if more of us connected to our inner child and remembered the dream, we might be bold enough to take the first step towards it. There’s no point being afraid of failing because by not trying, you’re failing already.
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes by a German philosopher Goethe:
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genuis, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”