I recently had the opportunity to share some wisdom with my 17 year old daughter on the drive to school. Most days the 2.5 mile trek to school is no more than a song or 2 and the click…click of her texting her friends regarding her upcoming arrival. This day was different. College is less than a year away, and with the college discussion comes the life discussion. What to do, how to live, and what is an acceptible standard of living. This 5 minute conversation stirred up some great thinking and some real questions, especially as I reflect upon my life.
Horse Racing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
She’s a smart kid. One of the features she gets from me is the uncanny ability to get things done. Maybe they aren’t done smoothly (maybe they are), and maybe not according to the plan, but done nonetheless. Many times she, and i alike, achieved great grades and successful marks without too much challenge. This ability is a double edged sword.
Seeing results without intentionality trains the mind to feel entitled.
I lived, and sometimes still do, this way for many years. I am happy with my life and career but wonder what could have been. I have worked hard to get here, but not always intentional, strategic, and certainly not open to much risk. The question I posed in our discussion was what if I had added 1 or 2 of those elements to my earlier years (as I am incorporating them now)?
My success today does not mean that I arrived here in spite of my lack of intentionality, strategic thinking, and risk aversion. I believe my success today is just the tip of the ice that could have been massive success beyond what I have achieved today.
This is not to say I am regretful or in any way unhappy with my life. I love my life and my family. This is about others, in particular, my 17 year old daughter. This could be you reading this post today, or your very own 17 year old daughter. Life is a constant moving object. You are moving at 1 speed, and life (society, careers, family) is moving at another. I told her that for many years I thought I could find a trajectory and get comfortable. I even fooled myself that I had arrived there several times. While I never went backward, life kept moving forward. Soon, life was moving faster than me and I had to catch up. There have been other times where I have been so overly ambitious that I outpaced life with the power of a bullet train. The problem with this isn’t my ambition, work ethic, or intelligence; its my perspective.
Move too slow in comfort, life passes you and you live with regrets. Move too fast and you miss the moments life was designed for.
I told my daughter that you need to find a pace that is comfortable, sustainable, and slightly faster than the speed of life.
What do you do to keep perspective without loosing out on opportunities?