I felt inspired to write this post before the weekend because the weekend is a good time to think. I have been reading loads of literature on success and leadership and changing your reality and generating wealth over the past number of years of now. I have to say that my life has entirely changed because of it.
Authors like Napoleon Hill, Wayne Dyer, Abraham Hicks and Dale Carnegie are always hanging around my life in some shape or form – I watch videos mostly on utube that are audio books or snippets of thinking from these guys.
There are two books though that I would say changed everything and are still changing everything for me – one is ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill and the other is ‘The Game of Life and How to Play It’ by Florence Scovel Shinn. My copies of them are battered and bruised and when I feel demotivated and a bit slapped around the head (like I do today on the back of some work that didn’t go so well) I pick them up and just open a page to inspire myself.
Bla, bla, in any case. What I really want to talk about is something I have been thinking back on the last few days. It’s about what I realized that all these books, writers, thinkers have in common in terms of their thinking about success.
Napoleon Hill says what the mind can believe the mind can achieve, Wayne Dyer says there is no matter, there is only vibration, Abraham Hicks talks about us being the creators of our own realities and Florence Schovel Shinn says we cut the shape of the life literally by our thoughts and words. In essence, the news is people, according to these guys (and many who have gone before all the way back to Copernicus) that wherever you are, whatever you have in your life or don’t have – you have done it – you have thought about it, obsessed about it, given it attention or whatever enough to make it a reality. It’s pretty scary I think to be honest and I know when I first started looking into this stuff I was like – wtf – if my life is not the way I want it in 10 years, I have done it?!! Jesus, I can’t even drive well, how I am supposed to create my own reality???
Alarmingly (for me at the time) was what all of these writers agree on – one thing – that the starting point of success is KNOWING WHAT YOU WANT. Napoleon Hill asks (annoyingly enough, when you don’t have an answer) – what is your burning desire? For me, at times, reading him, my burning desire was to close the book, have a glass of wine and never think about the fact that I didn’t have a burning desire ever again.
Then I read more, freaked out a little bit more, read more, freaked out even further and then re-read what I had read and then realized I had actually no idea at all what I wanted in life. I couldn’t believe/ conceive/ focus/ intend anything into reality because I had no idea, and I mean. what I wanted. I had never asked myself the question (Well I had, but then I felt a bit squirmy thinking about it and in a general way, I took the most available option and channeled my energy into that until reality bit and it re-surfaced again that that thing was not what I wanted either). Fortunately for me, life, I have found, has an annoying way of not letting you get away with bullsh*tting yourself for too long.
As I read more…scarily enough I realized that not only did I not know what I wanted professionally, I didn’t know what I wanted in ANY area of my life – relationships, work, future, where I lived, what I wanted to do with my life, my goals – oh Jesus don’t talk to me. It was easier just to have no goals and that, my friends, is how I lived for many years – ultimately goaless.
I would somehow manage to convince others as well as myself that, yep, this or that was the new thing, THIS is what I wanted. Some examples…
So, I didn’t know what to study after school, someone thought Philosophy would be amazing so I decided I did too and I did that. I graduated, someone thought being a solicitor would be fantastic – so I stole that idea too and did that… for a bit… until I realized that under no circumstances did I want to be a solicitor and that I kind of probably knew this all along…so I stopped. Then I thought ooooooo, maybe I’ll be an academic, I will do a masters in philosophy, did that and then realized, yep not for me either. A Barrister, a Barrister oh my god why did I not think of that before? I’ll do that, I can debate I can talk I kinda liked law but I liked talking more – that would be fun so let me go to the UK to do it as well because you know I ‘want’ that.
I didn’t want it. I just had tired of the Trinity crowd and Dublin and wanted to not study there anymore. Off to London I went, did the Bar, qualified, practiced and you guessed it – it came out in the wash again the frigging truth of ‘Lynn this is not making you happy’, and then ‘what do you really want’. I had no clue. No clue.
It really scared me.
I did nothing about it and kind of hoped it would just go away.
At this stage, I was in quite a bit of debt (not just financially) in every area because my relationships and friendships suffered with all the moving around and I was the girl who wouldn’t commit.
Wouldn’t or couldn’t I think now? In any case, at the time there was an inability to commit to time, place or person. I was an inconsistent friend and other’s lives seemed to moving along in a sane, predictable way with job after college, travel, meet the one, settling down and kids etc. You couldn’t pin me down because I couldn’t pin myself down. I felt out of touch, out of rythym and out of sync and I didn’t know why.
Then, without boring you with the details, life happened in such a way that it made me face myself, answer the question and sort my sh*t out. It was decide what you want or live the rest of your life like you’ve lived it so far – in between – in between everything.
I have to say that the books and authors mentioned above were highly recommended to me at that time and they were a huge part in making me who I am today.
Looking back, and this is pretty much the only reason I am writing the post, I really wish I read something that said that answering the question – WHAT DO YOU WANT? is the most life changing and important question that you will answer in your whole life – that spending the time answering it would make life make sense, that you would be calmer, deeply happy, deeply satisfied and feel ‘at home’ in your own skin.
Unfortunately, I didn’t. So it took a while and I had a bit of a scenic journey to answering my question about what I wanted. I am pretty sure it won’t take you as long because I tend to be a bit slow with the uptake on life lessons, normally needing plenty of evidence to force me to confront myself 🙂
So, wherever you are in your journey, especially in relation to your career and profession (because it is so easy to spend a lot of time in jobs you hate) I please encourage you to just stop and ask yourself this weekend (and be honest enough with yourself to hear the answer) – WHAT DO YOU WANT?
I am sure the answer will be beautiful!
Have a great weekend