Now I am three-quarters of the way through my life and I have more history than future, at what point do I say, what I have now is as much as I will ever have? Is what I have achieved up to now as far as I will get?
As I look through my LinkedIn contacts and potential contacts I see a lot of very professional people, highly qualified, experienced, smart and ready and willing to help anyone serious enough to get their own business together, not for free of course, we all have to eat!
Personally, I would like to find a way to make a quick killing as I guess most of us would! But alas, those days are well and truly over. The planet is saturated with inventors, entrepreneurs, creatives, artists all trying for that supreme winning ticket to financial success, independence and freedom.
The success of a winning idea these days is not so dependent on its novelty value or originality but seems to be more a matter of “trending”, when something perhaps even seen before “catches on”. Some might even say that the true road to success is sales, but I’ve heard it said that there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.
Being really good at something may not be enough these days because there are a thousand others doing exactly the same thing. And though I like to think that none of them do it as well as me, I still have to persuade others that I am the right person for the task. And no matter how much creative flair, drive and ambition I have, until I gain undisputed, universal recognition, a reputation for greatness, I will spend around 80% of my working life looking for it.
Financial success and success in life are two completely separate things. I could be a complete flop and live hand to mouth for all my days, but have a wonderful set of friends, a loving and undemanding family, and complete peace of mind knowing that I have nothing of any monetary value that can be taken from me. I pass the days just managing to make ends meet and live in eternal gratitude for all the good things I have in my life, and regard myself as much better off than most, because at least I keep my head above water, have no debts, and if I stick to tailoring my choices to my desires, in spite of money, or lack thereof, I will probably enjoy living in exactly the kind of place a lot of people just dream of!
So perhaps personal effort can move away from a highly competitive world. Perhaps career effort is overrated. Perhaps the real challenge comes from deep within. How can I have everything I want and be happy without a substantial income or nest egg? Who can honestly answer a question like this? I might even be inclined to think that there is no real answer because it’s an impossible scenario and only invokes more questions pertaining to values and priorities and a quest for change that is both challenging and unsettling .
There is a price to pay for working my fingers to the bone. For the working man it’s sore, arthritic hands, for the rich man, it’s the burden of excess and the insatiable desire for more. Does the poor man who fishes for his supper have a greater appreciation for his life than the rich man who fishes for sport? Who is more grateful for their catch?
There is a nobility in a frugal life. I’m not saying it’s wise to be poor but among poor people there is a bond and spirit of community that has strength, solidarity, humility and integrity that transcends the hardship and constraints of poverty. To have so little and freely give – in the words of Kahlil Gibran – “…as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space – is the souls gift to itself.
So the real question is how can I have what I want and not how can I make more money! The irony is that a life pursued that seeks it’s true desire regardless of any financial potential often bears more fruit than the stress and strain of chasing career goals or pursuing money. But most importantly, to pursue what I believe in and to believe in myself while doing it, because this provides both courage and resolve and an awakening to my journey through life being fulfillment in itself. And all of a sudden, mistakes become opportunities and intuitive knowing my compass.
So I’d like to complete this brief reflection of my life by quoting Marianne Williamson from A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, which epitomises my own living expression of self-doubt and self-confidence:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”