very time I come to a crossroad in my life, I tend to be very reflective. As the years pass, I tend to accumulate different world views than I had when I was younger.
This is because of two things:
I do not know about you, but most people who are reflecting about their lives tend to come up with this notion that they could have lived it better. Obviously. Why is that?
The combination of life happening to you and you living produces great learning points that you would not have learnt in any school elsewhere. Your theories have so far either been proven right, wrong, or you have never tried them entirely.
I am just over 35 years and frankly I can tell you that it could have been better!
For me, I think for the most part of my 35 years alive, life has happened to me more than I have really lived. And I am not talking from the angle of not having this or that. I am talking from the position of counting just what has been bequeathed to me to see how good a steward of time, relations, gifts and talents and opportunities I have been.
If I were to live my 35 years over again, you bet I would do it much more differently. That small word ‘more’ is very important.
They say that success leaves clues behind…and I think so does failure. As much as the past 35 years might not have turned out to be something that I am entirely proud of, there are numerous clues that I can pick. My first 35 years can easily be the biggest mentor for my next 35 years. I know that I am not alone in this kind of review of life.
If I were to live over my life again,
In 35 years, I have realized that there is nothing on the face of the planet that is more important than relationships! Of course there are 7 Billion people on earth, I cannot possibly relate to them at ago. However, there are those that are close to me everywhere I live and do business.
Somehow, I have lived my life in such a way that I had a binary of options. One is to make a living and the other is to be true to my calling. The more I age, I realize that there has not been balance in my life. I can tell you this: When life is ripped off its pursuits, you will in the end notice that none mattered more than your calling in life. I know my calling, and anytime I am about it, I feel the pleasure of God. What I have done however, is to let the pursuits of life take precedence over my calling. Slowly by slowly, it has waned. In the various things I have acquired, there is no pleasure like the one generated when I am smack in the middle of my calling.
In 35 years, I have been more helter skelter than I have been stable. I am guilty of having great ideas and never really pursuing each of them to fruition. I could have realized the importance of the ideas as if they were the only ones then. I could have lived more boldly and courageously with the execution of these ideas. Yes, I know that there is the admonition to count the cost before you get started….it does not mean that if the cost does not match your resources than you stop. I could have realized other ways of getting resources. They are there. I never explored them. If I could only pick just one idea a year and pursue it, following its trail to its logical conclusion…that is what I would do if I were to start over again.
Not knowing the end from the beginning has hemmed me in. I have minimized my potential greatly by being afraid of taking the risks. Yet I know that nothing of true worth is finished in detail before it’s started. Wanting to have all the details before I get started has made me hold back. Yet, the biggest of them all is the fear of failure. Why? Because I have compared some samples of end products by other people that represent the ideas I had and I realized that I had a better one, and could have executed it better. If I were to start over my life again, I would take more risks more often.
The greater part of my life has been following the ‘course of nature’. The world system is so structured that we are supposed to faithfully follow a particular pattern of growth, each and every one of us. The problem with this set up is that most of us have neglected important things in life. We have neglected what really matters in our lives: our passion, gifts, talents and purpose. Most importantly we have neglected our true hearts desires. If I were to live over again, I would daily pore through my heart’s desires and goals and craft ways and means to achieve them. I would never put this bit on the back burner, because to do so is to die inwardly. It is to abandon oneself to a mediocre life. My life really lit up when I got this concept.
For the most part, my life has been on the postpone mode. I think that I would really live and be happy when something has happened…e.g. get married, author a book, get some savings in my accounts, take my kids to school, build my own house…and so on. Consequently, today is neglected. I have been guilty of being here and being somewhere else in the future at the same time. If I were to live over again, I would each day cherish the life given and rise above everything to be happy, make each day richer and deeper. I would take physical exercises very seriously every week.
Especially financial reserves and investments. I have been guilty of starting investments and leaving them hanging, defaulting on them. I have been guilty of being a big consumer rather than an investor. I have thought that I needed a huge financial windfall in order to invest. My first assignment was with the Government right after High School. I earned a hefty amount of cash as a voting clerk and squandered it all on jeans. If I had invested that cash (given that I was still under the care of my parents), chances are that I would have done something worthwhile.
Reserves buy you time in the moments of disaster, crossroads and downfalls. If I were to start over again, I would build a one year financial reserve plus other reserves for my family.
In my 35 years alive, there are times that I have suffered greatly, losing valuables and reputation because I did not honor truth. Every time I tried a shortcut and stifled truth, it came back and hit me hard. Truth is not cheap. It’s not easy to maintain. It is a serious test of integrity. Whatever the price, I have learnt that I had better be on the correct side of truth. If I were to live my life over again, this would be a cherished truth.
All major corporations operate with strict time frames. In my 35 years alive, there has always been this notion that “I have time”. Therefore, for personal projects, I have not worked strictly with deadlines. I have found it OK to postpone things. I have found it OK to operate in the comfort zone. I have not pushed myself and pulled all stops to finish somethings. Imposing personal deadlines and pushing myself out of the way to beat them is what I would do if I were to start over. There is so much to create, yet my potential has been held back because I have had no imposing deadlines of my own. This should also go with personal demands on myself to do what is erstwhile considered uncomfortable. Seeking comfort is the sure way of bringing discomfort.
In my 35 years alive, I have found out that it is absolutely crucial to be in control of my cash flow. As long as someone else is controlling how much I am earning per month, I will always have trouble. I have learnt that immediately I get a job, the Salary should be a facilitator to create products and/or services that I can sell that will themselves guarantee me some cash flow of my own. Why is this? Because a job has an expiry date. There is plenty to sell if I can just discover what value I can give to the world.
After the flood, God told Noah about the concept of seed time and harvest. This concept is only brought to pass through systems and frameworks. Creating these should be a daily endeavor. I should have at least one system for every value that I am offering. A framework guarantees authenticity of a product. It documents all the processes involved in creating a service or product, allocating an audience to it, branding the service and product and finally offering the value to the audience at a fee. Using lesson #3, I would concentrate on creating one Framework until it is done. I would then repeat the process for all the other values that I have to offer.
In the end, I would live much more than life would happen to me.