If you grew up with the idea that one day you could be "president" of your country then someone has likely filled your mind with feel-good thought statements that are frankly not going to happen. Over the course of time, you will realize that some desires will come true, but many of those dreams are nothing more than an illusion. Now, I'm not stating this with the sole intent of crushing dreams--my intent is to share a more functional approach in order to prevent life dissatisfaction.
I'm sure that many of us with gray hairs wish there was a "time machine" so we could travel back in time and do things again, or at least give advice to our younger self. This could be fun, but it's not going to happen and as such this idea must end here.
Today, I feel that in order to maximize opportunities, and at the same instance stop wasting time, I must abide some simple rules. These rules have helped me, can help others, and are the following in this order:
- Establish a "draft" set of goals.
- Know your strengths.
- Know your weaknesses.
- Judge the likelihood of goal achievement.
- If your chances for success are high then pursue the goal.
- If your chances for success are low then drop the goal. However, if you strongly wish to attain that goal, and are willing to invest the time and energy, then know that your path will not be easy--and know that you may fail.
A hypothetical story:
Billy does not have a right arm, but he enjoys watching basketball games. As a child, Billy's parents, being candid, fill his mind with the unrealistic goal that he can be a basketball player. As he grows he continously watches many games and plays an outrageous amount of basketball. Every day he develops great skill with his one arm.
Now as a young man, Billy finds himself playing in the NBA. On the last seconds of the championship game Billy is given the ball, and he single handedly (pun intended) launches the ball into the air. The timer now displays a dead-cold zero. The ball, now floats in the air, the crowds are frozen holding their breath, the view shows Billy's supportive parents and friends. The ball hits the rim, driving the ball straight up into the air, and surely comes back straight down into the basket! The swoosh of the net is heard and the crowds explode in cheer, the team picks Billy up and lift him up onto their shoulders. They carry the man of the single arm! Tears, joy...
(Wouldn't this be a good Hollywood movie?)
Back to reality
While single arm basketball players do exist, they are unlikely to ever reach the level of skill needed in a professional setting. As such, in the case of Billy, his parents should have realized that the single arm was a weakness and they should have tried to discourage his full commitment of being a player. Since being a professional player was unlikely, then the parents could have tried to suggest reasonable goals in which Billy could compete. Perhaps Billy's strength of a high attention to detail could have been used, and with this in mind he could have been a professional sports commentator. While the commentator position is not as romanticised as the player position, it is the better position in this case. With the higher chance of success Billy's investment of energy and time during his youth period could have developed into a career and improve his overall life satisfaction.
If we grow and continue on a path of unrealistic goals then we will never reach accomplishment and as such will remain on an unsatisfied state of mind. The rules mentioned above help us focus our effort in order to create an informed path with achievable goals--the feeling of accomplishment then becomes happiness in our lives.