A few weeks ago I got into an interesting conversation with a fine gentleman about career paths and life in general. He was a retired pilot who seemed to have enjoyed every moment of his flying career. As I was telling him about what I did in my professional life he simply looked me in the eye and asked “Would you do it all over again?”
For a moment his question completely startled me. Would I, I wondered. And then there was a silent pause in my ever rushing mind. I didn’t know. Maybe I would. Maybe I wouldn’t.
Being the right brain dominant person that I am, I noticed my mind contemplate endless possibilities as it tried to come to a conclusion for this gentleman. But alas, all decision making algorithms and techniques failed miserably in my moment of distress.
This made me wonder if this decision was for the mind in the first place. The answer to his question had to be out of pure instincts, either an instantaneous screaming “Yes, in a heartbeat” or an unappetizing uncertainty where a lot is revealed in the silence itself.
As I pondered over this in more detail I realised that this question could be applied to every single aspect of our lives and even beyond. Would we do the things we are currently doing if we were given a second chance? Most of our responses will vary from an absolute yes to a maybe and even abrupt no’s depending on the situation itself.
But think about it, if we wouldn’t want to do something again, what is our excuse to continue doing it in the first place?
As you ask yourself this, I’m certain that a never ending list of excuses will pop into your mind. Only if things were different or if you had less responsibilities, only if someone else didn’t treat you this way, only if something hadn’t happened…. The list is endless and the more you let yourself indulge in it the stronger and more encapsulating the web becomes.
Just like the quote says:
“You can either have a good excuse or a good result.”
Which one do you have?
Could we possibly dare to consider a new day as a second chance? A chance to start all over again and do things how you’d always wished you did. Another chance to have the courage to turn around? A chance to be true to yourself before you satisfy others expectations?
Sometimes we continue to do things simply because we feel obligated to the decisions we made or the paths we choose. We associate ourselves to our successes and our failures and subconsciously hold them tight.
For example, consider how we introduce ourselves to a new acquaintance. “Hi I’m Adam, Marketing director of ABC Corp and a Harvard graduate.” Now what if Adam feels unfulfilled in his marketing profession? Letting go of his job would almost mean letting go of his identity. We continue to work in unfulfilling careers because we feel obligated to our investment in the education we obtained.
From careers to relationships and materialistic possessions, somehow instead of things adding to our identity they become our identity.
Why should a failure prevent you from an upcoming success and why should a success that adds no meaning to your life anymore hold you from venturing out and trying something different?
Though we might blame external sources for our current state, in reality it is nothing else but our own self imposed restrictions that hinder our ability to create change. The key here is to accept responsibilities of your choices and allow yourself to alter the ones that don’t make you smile anymore.
So…..would you do it all over again?
(Photo credit: Second Chance Avenue via Shutterstock)