In March 2005, Fortune Magazine released an edition titled “The Best Advice I Ever Got” with Warren Buffet on the front page. They featured short stories from the likes of Peter Drucker, A.G. Lafley, and Richard Branson all at once. Every time I think about that magazine, I remember a train wreck piece of advice I gave myself in a couple of years ago.
It was at a time when I felt life was just perfect. Snow was pretty much falling only on the days I wanted it to and I was waking up to birds singing on my window sills. Everything was going exactly according to plan so one day, I sat on my bed, pulled out my laptop and decided to draw a map of exactly how my life would pan out for the next 5 years. I mean, nothing could possibly go wrong and I was ready to do whatever it took to make sure that life went according to the plan. Just in case you are wondering, one of the “big goals” on that map was to convince the Canadian Consulate to make me Canadian (yes, I’m laughing at myself too).
Needless to say, NOTHING went according to plan and I quickly realized that mapping out where I wanted to go was a good idea but bending over backwards to force the map into actuality was not. Even though it was naïve of me to try to reduce life into a couple of linear steps that I could control, I learned a valuable lesson: sometimes the value of things lie in their very imperfection.
If your life isn’t going according to plan, don’t sweat it. Some people reading this are desperately looking for some direction in life. Others just want a job. It’s tough to be in those situations—trust me, I know. But it’s worse to go through a rough time and not come out wiser, stronger, and more refined. I think Bob Marley says it best: “Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live!”
Tried And True Paths That I’ve Taken To “Wake Up And Live”
1. Set Those Priorities Straight:
If life is throwing you so many curveballs that you feel like a deer caught in the headlights, it might be a good time to really decide what’s important to you and what isn’t. You’ll need all of your energy to focus on your problems so the fewer extraneous worries in your life, the better.
2. Get Right With God: I can say without a shadow of a doubt that had I not known Jesus, I would not be alive today. Point blank period. I was recently talking to a friend that just got out of depression and he said “you know what I finally realized, Kola?…life just didn’t work without God”. I couldn’t agree more. There is nothing like knowing that I am not limited by the things I can see simply because I am a part of team Jesus! :)
3. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize:
Life, by definition, is transitory. Hard times come and go so make sure that you are always preparing yourself for the future you really want. It’s a bad thing to want an opportunity and never get it but it’s a terrible thing to have an opportunity and be caught unprepared. If your big dream lands in your laps today, are you prepared to run with it?
4. Learn From Others’ Mistakes:
There’s really no point in re-inventing the wheel. Open your eyes to the mistakes other people have made/are making, sympathize with them and then make sure you don’t do that same thing. Sounds simple enough but when the going gets tough, it’s really difficult to put this into practice.
5. Take Calculated Risks:
This is much easier to do than you would imagine. I don’t know about you, but I’ll rather take a well thought out risk and fail than do nothing and never know what could have been.
6. Keep A Journal: Friends are nice to talk to but if you’re in the pits, there’s really no need to subject people to all your moanings and groanings. Get an e-journal and get your thoughts out uncensored—you’ll feel so much better.
7. Don’t Isolate Yourself:
this is not the time to keep friends and family at arm’s length. I’m not an advocate of going around screaming “woe is me” but at the same time, pretense can only take you so far. Some of the people that are hurting most in this world are also the people that look the most put together on the outside.
Until next time, Stay Motivated!