I saw a life, branching out before me, like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonder future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and off beat professions, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of the tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant loosing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
Sylvia Plath – The Bell Jar
We live in an age where we have more information, technology and choice than any previous generation.
Want to book a flight overseas? No problem. Several apps will allow you to choose from hundreds of destinations.
Want to live in someone else’s house and reduce the cost of expensive hotels? Done. All from the comfort of your sofa.
Want to book an amazing restaurant in a hard to reach mountain range in Spain? Simple. Just a touchscreen away.
Whatever it is you want to do, you can pretty much get it done within 10 minutes.
So, why do we feel we are being left behind?
We compare ourselves to our friends and wonder if we could have the wonderful experiences they have had.
We look at Pinterest and imagine spending half the year living in a log cabin, or a penthouse, or a beach front property.
As a result we become swamped, wanting to achieve everything but ultimately achieving very little.
We read about the great times and experiences being had on Facebook and Twitter and wonder if we will ever get close to this sense of fulfillment.
The reason for feeling like this?
Everyone has goals and dreams, everyone.
Think about your own personal goals and dreams and jump back 10 years.
How many have you achieved?
Congratulations are in order if you have achieved some or all of them, you are the exception to the rule. Many, no doubt, will look back and wonder what happened to life. How did we get to this point? 2006 was only a few years ago, right?
Although we have the gift of technology and information and choice, inaction often rules. It is much easier to sit back and inhale a whole series on Netflix, right?
Inaction is often disguised as fear and procrastination – the latter being one of my most close friends.
We have goals and dreams and we create reasons why we can’t achieve them.
We actually reinforce failure and support it with, what we believe to be, genuine reasons.
A little exercise for you:
Think about your biggest goal and dream right now and imagine it failing miserably.
What would this mean to you and how would you overcome this setback?
On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being catastrophic) rate where you would be if you attempted to achieve your dream and failed.
Most people would range between 3 and 6 – serious, perhaps, but low enough to recover and move on with life.
Now imagine a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being ecstatic) and rate where you would be if you achieved your dream.
Most people will be 8 and upwards.
Just compare those two results for a moment.
We are allowing inaction and a relatively low number in terms of failure (and the contributing fear) to control our desire to achieve our dream and feel fantastic about it.
How wonderful it would be if we made a true decision and ignore the nagging voices in our head.
The good news?
It is never too late.
Whether you are in your twenties and just finding your feet, in your thirties and worrying about what the next few years may bring or in your forties and thinking it might be too late, it is never too late.
You can start today, if you choose to do so.
There are many branches and there is much fruit to provide distraction.
Work out which branch your dream is hanging from and go get it.
Believe and (importantly) take action.