Archive for June, 2015

Keeping the faith

June 30, 2015
Find your own way

Find your own way

I love listening to children’s wild ideas about life; what they want to create and what they want to be. Young children are so much fun; they aren’t yet tainted by the naysayers who decry anything beyond the usual as ‘impossible’.

I like a big dose of impossible. We’d be lost without it. Many people say ‘Dare to dream’ but in the next breath tell you why your dream is impossible. We see the results of the out-of-the-box thinkers all the time. We see how they drive the advancements of the world.

So why, as a society, do we expect everyone to conform? My son was telling me how he wanted to make a difference in the world and get rich doing it. He’s a clever boy and I don’t doubt him for a moment.

An older relative who was visiting said ‘That would never work in the real world’ and followed this up with ‘It’s not very nice to say that you want to be rich when there are so many people struggling in the world today’.

Now there’s a massive dose of lack mentality! She didn’t mean to be negative; she was trying to protect him from disappointment by telling him not to set the bar too high. That’s an opinion that’s more common than you think – and one that gives us ‘permission’ not to try.

This ‘real world’ sounds like a depressing place. A place where new ideas, different approaches and enthusiasm are checked at the door. Where real-world inhabitants are filled with negativity and despair. They expect new ideas to fail and change to be rejected. Worse, they want to drag others down with them.

Don’t believe the naysayers. Their world may be real for them, but it doesn’t mean you have to live in it. The real world isn’t a place, it’s an excuse. Don’t go there.

 

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Do we matter?

June 22, 2015
We have a lot to be thankful for

We have a lot to be thankful for

I was walking through the city yesterday and it, despite Melbourne’s cold weather, was alive with people rushing to their next destination. Does anything they do actually matter? Or are we filling time lost in jobs going on day in day out whether we’re there or not?

Of course there are the lucky ones that make a difference, enjoy their work and, as Tony Robbins says, ‘Live with passion’. It’s a great goal but by the look of most people on the street, quite a way from reality.

Now that I’m on the high side of 50, I spend more time assessing the world and my place in it. I’m somewhat over the corporate system, having ‘played the game’ for nearly thirty years. I’m too young to retire and know that I would be quickly bored and want a challenge.

I pursue hobbies and have the resources to enjoy them more now. I want to live my passion and make a difference but I also have bills to pay. Sometimes that makes me feel trapped. And then guilty because I have done very well out of life. And then resentful because the years just fly by. Why am I here and does it matter?

I found a picture of my grandfather and his work colleagues from the City of Melbourne dated 1917. In essential jobs, most were disappointed that they couldn’t go to war; they missed the ‘Great Adventure’. In hindsight they were the lucky ones. Had things been different, perhaps I wouldn’t have been born. They’re all gone now. What was their legacy? What did their lives mean?

Then I realise how hard my grandparents worked to raise a family, to achieve a level of success, and how proud they were of their achievements. The stories my grandfather told me, the values my family embraced, I now teach to my grandson half a century later. I realise that we all make a difference when we work to leave the world just a little better than we found it.

 

Lucky for some

June 2, 2015
How's your luck?

How’s your luck?

Do you know any lucky people: the ones where fortune favours their every move? Are you lucky in love, business, life or at the casino? Are ‘winners’ lucky or is there something more to it?

We see people who win and say ‘What a lucky guy!’ There is, in my opinion, a big difference between luck at the casino or winning the lottery and luck in life. One is a random chance and the other is a measured journey where opportunity meets preparation.

I have friends who gamble and I hear about their luck at winning five thousand dollars at roulette. I don’t hear about the many multiples of that invested to find their ‘lucky streak’. In the big picture, where randomness reigns, anything can happen. Calling winners lucky is simply sticking a label on after the fact.

To examine luck as a concept raises an interesting question: how can we explain what happens to us and whether we’ll be winners, losers or somewhere in the middle at love, work, sports, gambling and life?

Is luck, good or bad, more than a phenomenon that appears exclusively in hindsight, or is it an expression of our desire to see patterns where none exist, like a belief that your red shirt is lucky?

I believe luck, in a predictable form, can be created by our attitudes and actions.

Lucky streaks are real, but they are the product of more than just blind fate. We can make our own luck, though we don’t like to think of ourselves as lucky: a descriptor that undermines other qualities, like talent and skill.

We can see someone with a lovely home and a successful business and say they are lucky. We often don’t see the 20 years of hard work and sacrifice invested by them to be in this ‘lucky’ position.

We may pray for it or wish others ‘Good luck’ but we’d prefer to think of ourselves as deserving; the fact that we live in a society that is neither random nor wholly meritocratic makes for an even less precise definition.

I believe that ‘lucky’ people adept to creating and noticing chance opportunities, listen to their intuition, are confident to act in risky situations, have positive expectations that create self-fulfilling prophesies, and have a resilient attitude about life’s trials.

So, make your own luck and remember – things could always be worse!