For a long time in my life — too long — I didn’t always say what I really wanted. Of course, there are reasons for that. I didn’t always know exactly what I wanted or how to go about getting it. I had what I’d call, “flashes,” fleeting moments of vivid imagery, clarity and conviction about things that I loved- that I wanted to do or become.
Then, those moments would fade away, or remain in the back of my mind, as I’d move on to learn something new or waste and fritter away time on something of no consequence. I’d find distractions and things keeping me away from my real destiny; things that only served to occupy my mind for long enough to prolong my dreams.
Follow Ladders on Flipboard!
It’s hard, even now, to make sense of what we’ll maybe never understand in this lifetime. It’s even harder when we don’t have a plan or a sense of direction.
I’d like to believe- and have come to comfortably feel- that many of our experiences in life are lessons that we can learn from. Part and parcel of that belief, is choosing to live with no regret. This is a decision that I came to peace with at the beginning of my adult life. Call it intuition or maybe the accumulation of experiences, even at that young age, but I knew living with regret would do me no good. It’s a fool’s sentence.
Take the time to ask yourself the question, how can living with regret possibly help me? I choose to answer that question by saying, “It cannot!” It’s one of the biggest traps we can fall in- one rife with anxiety and worry.
Finding My Stride
I’ve really hit my stride over the last 5 years of my life. For one, I got married during this time. This decision was probably the best I’ve ever made. My relationship with my wife has given me love, companionship and a partner to share this life with. It’s helped to center me. Our marriage has given us a son. He is the greatest blessing I (we) have ever received.
I have matured, grown in faith and started to embody the values and principles that I hold dear– and always desired to live up to. I’ve come to believe that I can truly achieve any success- within reason- that aligns with my talents. I know that if I’m willing to work hard, think positively and pursue my goals persistently, I will get what I want.
“When riches begin to come they come so quickly, in such great abundance, that one wonders where they have been hiding during all those lean years.” — Napoleon Hill
(*please note, “riches” in the above quote do not mean financial or monetary. As defined by Napoleon Hill, the riches he speaks of lead to personal fulfillment. They are controlled by our thoughts.)
I’ve talked about hitting my stride, finding my calling in life and growing in love through the power of relationships. There have been several catalysts that have ignited my quest to become a greater version of myself and to find more meaning in my life.
Through contemplation, reflection and a remarkable family and friend network, I am able to see my future with greater clarity. I live more enthusiastically in the moment while still planning for my future- one that I believe will be prosperous and rewarding.
Why, you ask?
Learning to Speak Up For What I Want
Because I learned to say what I really want. I used to pursue jobs that I thought could be the right fit. I emphasize the word “thought,” because I never really gave my professional career very deep thought. I knew I needed to make money. I ended up following something of a herd mentality: Well, I guess I need to find this job and work in business and work my way up the ladder.
I used to pursue friendships and romantic relationships that I didn’t think very deeply about. I went with the flow, allowing the breeze to take me where it wished. I ended up with scars, broken hearts, and more confusion.
It took me a while to learn that I needed to stop myself in my tracks. I needed to question myself at a deeper level. I know and understand this now because I taught myself how to do this. It took time, repetition and a desire for introspection to discover this. It took building my life on a foundation of core values.
I now practice this contemplative, deep reflection in my personal life in order to find answers and discover more of who I really am. I do it because I have found that it brings me greater joy, love and peace. I have carried this deep, analytical way of thinking- employing the Socratic method of questioning and thought progression- into the consulting work that I have done for Fortune 500 clients.
It’s a lot easier to get what you want when you know what you want- when you are touched by that feeling.
Once You Know, Go For It
I encourage you to say that you want something when you know it aligns with1) what you are qualified or skilled enough to do and 2) what your heart desires. While learning comes with every experience, you’re still more likely to waste your time when you’re doing things that don’t fit the above criteria.
Real opportunity comes when your heart and mind are captivated with interest in a particular subject or thing and you blend that interest with hard work and focus.
You’ll find yourself willing to roll up your sleeves and do whatever work is required- and even what is not!- in order to achieve success.
Trust me when I tell you, while it seems you may have forever to make up your mind or live out your dreams, the window is always (ever so slightly) closing on the time for your opportunity. Once you’ve figured out what it is that you want, please, declare it and say it out loud.
Do it in the mirror when no one is looking. The power of verbalizing your desires is tremendous. Pretty soon, you’ll be telling your goals and dreams to the world and then, actualizing them through your efforts.
I’ll close with the final words of my all-time favorite movie, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. They’re worth remembering and thinking about, in more than just a fantastical sense.
Life is made for the dreamers who live with unlimited imagination and journey along, finding the courage and the confidence to become doers. Say what you want. You’ll soon find yourself getting you want and living a life that is every bit as incredible as it has been in your dreams.
“Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted. He lived happily ever after.” — Willie Wonka, as played by Gene Wilder