“A secret shouted for all remains a secret if those intended to hear fail to listen.”
The Question That Caused a Paradigm Shift
About 3 years ago, I moved to a new location for work. We had an inkling that this would likely be the last tour we’d have in the military so future opportunities were always in the forefront of my mind. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by some of the most intelligent people I have ever met. The physicists, engineers, managers, analysts, etc. that surrounded me blew me away with all they knew. I made it a point to keep my mouth shut and ears open as much as possible to learn from these wise folk…and learn I did.
I would walk through the parking lot and see new BMWs, Audis, and Mercedes cars and think to myself, “Wow…these guys have it made.” My mission for this tour was to network and build relationships so that I could follow in their footsteps to make a nice salary, have job security, and retire comfortably after a nice 30 year career. I came home talking to my wife about all the job opportunities and how great it will be after this tour when we can settle and put down some roots!
For years and years I envisioned my adult life having two phases: Military career then retire; civilian career then retire. After all, I had met so many people that have done that and live fantastic lives! But that all changed after someone cared enough to challenge me on my vision and asked, “Is that really what you want to do for the rest of your life? Really?” When I actually stopped to ponder that question, it was at that moment when my paradigm shifted.
You Are What You Think
It’s a shame that our imaginations dwindle as we age. When we are young, the sky isn’t even the limit. Our imaginations run wild with possibilities of what our futures will hold: Rockstar, astronaut, professional baseball player, dragon slayer, live in a tree house, digitize yourself and live inside a video game. My nephew does it right. When asked what he wants to be when he grows up he says, “a chicken.”
Somewhere on the road of childhood our imaginations get stifled. Being “realistic” is understood to be the correct way to think so it is pressed upon us from little on up. We go from dreaming of hitting a grand slam in the World Series to something more realistic like an engineer or an accountant. Those futures become realistic and the “dream” future becomes going for a law or medical degree.
It’s really a shame that we stop childhood dreaming as we grow older. My dad gave me a very short book when I was in high school that I wish I would have fully understood then. It was the written version of Earl Nightingale’s recorded speech called “The Strangest Secret”. My summary of it is this: You are what you think. So, as we grow and our thoughts become more set on achieving the status quo, then that’s what we get…the status quo.
“Amazing things start happening when we stop selling ourselves short and begin selling ourselves long.”
I used to think I dreamt big and set awesome goals for my life. However, I never actually meditated on it and asked myself if that’s what I really wanted. I realized that the vast majority of us underestimate our potential. We need to stop selling ourselves short and start selling ourselves long.
I decided to change my life’s vision. My dream life is spending as much time as possible with my family. So my imagination, dreams, and thoughts are solely focused on that vision now. Rather than devoting the majority of my thought to finding a good job so that I can retire at age 60, I’m focused on what I really want to do: Be with the people I love, do the things I love, and be where I love to be. To me, that’s what freedom is all about!
About 3 years ago, my “realistic” goal was saving up $10,000 for a cash purchase when I was 30. After thinking more on it, I realized that was not a very lofty goal to aim for. I know that financial freedom is key to personal freedom and achieving my dream life. Selling myself long, I set a new goal that stretches the realistic into the dream realm. I figure when I hit that goal, I’ll probably be able to make that $10,000 purchase! So it’s a win-win.
It’s time to put the secret to the test. By focusing my attention on my new vision, will the new vision start manifesting itself in my life? That’s one reason why I started this blog. It will help me focus my thoughts and hopefully achieve that dream goal! Only time will tell!