All of us probably heard a story about a classmate or a distant relative who had many talents when he/she was a kid, but as you grow up, you forget about his/her existence until one day when you suddenly bump into them and find them in misery. Maybe he/she does not live on the streets, but you can notice signs of broken dreams everywhere – lost and tired appearances, financial troubles, broken relationships or family troubles. You feel surprised – after all, back in grade 8 this man was the boy who got the best grades in chemistry, or maybe he was a great tennis player. What happened?
There are many problems in life that one may face that may discourage a person, such as the loss of a loved one, betrayal, poor health. However, sometimes the problem lies in something else – doing the wrong thing. Most of the time. Have you ever noticed how some people demonstrate signs of high achievement or a great talent in an area that is unusual (writing good song lyrics in under 10 minutes, making pretty plush toys, etc.) but yet their basic needs are not met – monthly MasterCard bills are not paid, their career did not move anywhere for the past 5 or 10 years, their relationship with their mother is broken and so on. -It is their choice, if it makes them happy – some of you will say. However, the question is – does their choice really make them happy?
The issue that some of us spend too much time chasing the wrong things that really do not matter. Yes, some hobbies make us happy, but some involvement in not-for-profit organizations or volunteering (not like I have anything against volunteering, but for the sake of an example) could be easily substituted by spending more time with our own children or our parents, or people and things that really matter to us and really make a difference to our lives, today. You can’t reach for the stars and become the best in drawing abstract pictures if you are not putting them to good use and no one except your cat sees them. It doesn’t mean that you should sell everything you create, and that every action has financial value. However, your every action has another, more important value – it takes away your time. YOUR time. The time you could put to better use – whether it is fixing basic things that make your life more sustainable, or fixing some relationships or developing new ones.
People that become losers in life are the ones that got lost, they no longer have a direction in their life, they do not have a purpose. It’s like they are covered in dust. It’s like they are the shadows of the great people they thought they could become. Your every action needs to have a purpose, the reason why you are doing it, some sort of a plan. You can certainly have fun and do silly things. It is routine things that you do on a daily basis that create your daily personality and end up shaping your life, and as you continue doing things that do not make a big difference to you, these things will keep you away from things you do need to do, they will steal your focus from what’s really important. Be greedy with your time. Look at people who have limited time on Earth because they are sick – do they waste their time or do they try to live life to its fullest, every day? Doing things that really matter? Sometimes those people are happier than other, healthy individuals and whose time is not limited.
So how to avoid getting into this trap and wasting your time on things that do not matter? You need to ask yourself questions, lots of questions. You need to self-reflect. It’s called “developing emotional intelligence”. Why did I do this today? How does it help me with my life, my goals, achieving my dreams, improving my relationship with people that matter to me? Does it make a big difference to the people of Africa? Great! But it also need to give you something you need to feel better about yourself. Everyone needs to be a little bit selfish, because healthy selfishness produces healthy self-esteem and as your confidence levels will improve, so will your performance and satisfaction with your life. Start asking yourself these questions, at the end of every day, learn to reflect on every action you take. After all, we only have one life and it goes faster than we think.