It’s interesting to see sometimes how society expects people’s lives to be a straightforward experience, where everything is planned and lived out perfectly.
Over the years, I’ve always heard clients and people around me lament about how they are “past” a certain age for something to happen. A very popular example of this is when my female clients hit 30 and start feeling dismayed at how they still aren’t able to find a partner and are yet to be married when everyone else around them is.
Or, how they did not explore a particular life experience when they were younger. I.e. travelled more – before they had a family, took a higher-paying job, lived overseas etc. They wished they had done all that instead of whatever choice they ended up making in the end.
Hindsight is truly 50-50
One of the reasons why we live with so much regrets and disappointment sometimes, is when we aren’t very happy with our current choices. And we over-amplify the positives of the other choice that we missed out on. We think – what if we had gone the other route, maybe life would be so much better now.
The truth is – you will never ever know for sure. You will never get to experience the other choice in the way that you would, had you chose it. So there are no grounds for accurate comparison. Hence, there is absolutely no need to compare. You will never be able to do it in a clear, grounded manner.
It’s way better to instead:
Are you an action-taking dreamer who believes in making the most of your life on earth? Are you ready to shed society’s limited expectations and your limiting beliefs to live a free-ing, fulfilling and happy life? Are you ready to change your stories and break unhelpful habits blocking your way to success? Do you love reading? 😉 Then I’m looking for you to join my team of beta-readers for a set of new books that will help you in your journey to freedom, happiness and living an authentic life. If you are tired of living the way you are, and need help to get to wherever it is you are going, sign up to be a beta-reader now!
Look at life as a series of lessons and data points no matter what path you took to get here
Understand that whatever decision you made at that point in time, was the best decision that you could have made, given all the information that you had back then.
If you decided back then to take on a job or a course of study that turned out to be something that you thoroughly dislike, it’s not a waste, it’s data! Use that to make better decisions in future. And in all of that, you would definitely have learnt a thing or two about yourself.
When I was making a career transition not too long ago, I took on a job that I wasn’t incredibly excited about. Yes, the pay was good and the status/prestige – great. My gut told me that it would be a place that restricted me – there were alot of rules to follow and people tended to listen to the higher ups instead of freely giving opinions.
But I needed that role as I needed a relatively comfortable income and I was escaping from a really toxic job which gave me anxiety, insomnia and other physical health issues that I’m still recovering from. I slowly got bored and disengaged in my role and found coming to work a real pain. So I switched careers again, to something quite similar to what I’ve always done but where I could also build up a different, and more exciting skillset.
Did I regret my time at the “slower” job? No. I found out exactly what I did not want to do. And the slower pace gave me time to relax and recover from the mental and physical burnout. And then when I was ready to move on, I did.
All these experiences which ended up not being a right fit are just journeys to the heart of getting to know yourself better. That brings you closer to what you actually want and who you actually want to be.
Life isn’t so black-and-white and the old adage applies – never try, never know
Many of us tend to see our life experiences as: if it doesn’t work out –> it’s a “failure”, if it works out, it’s a success. If life is seen in such a black-and-white manner, you would be closing yourself off to potential data and potential takeaways that you can absorb from different life experiences.
If something didn’t work out the way you wanted it to and you dismiss it as a failure and refuse to look back at it, you may be hastily closing the door on something that may contain the key to navigating future circumstances.
For example, if I hadn’t had the chance of working in that slower-paced job and dismissing it, instead of reflecting that I just didn’t like jobs that were hierarchical and too slow-paced, I may have made wrong decisions in my future career choices.
Also, sometimes you gotta just try something to know that it isn’t for you. If you have never tried it, you’d constantly be wondering how it would actually turn out. Try it and you will know!
If I never bothered to try out that slower paced job, I’d never have found out that, those sorts of job environments were unsuitable for me. Too many of us tend towards fear and risk-averseness which results in living lives that make you feel small and unfulfilled.
Instead just say yes to stuff that comes your way. You can always exit when you realise it’s not for you. But at least you get to experience something different. You never know, it could actually be that one golden opportunity that will take you exactly where you want to be.
Question of the day – How does your perception towards your life experiences been holding you back?
Have you always seen things in a black-and-white manner? Perceived situations which didn’t work out the way you wanted to as “failures”? Have you taken away messages from past experiences that limited the way you thought of events and people and might have held you back, moving forward?
Perceptions are everything. And it’s important that we are taking away lessons that can help us along our journeys in life and help us in our self-growth.