Have you ever wondered about your life? Like, where are you going, what are you doing or why are you living the way you are? I think at some point in time, everyone does. If you sit down in peace and reflect on these questions, two sides of you will emerge and argue their point like two lawyers do before a judge.
One side of you will say: stop complaining, you’re good, you’re happy, all is well, this is how life’s supposed to be, stop dreaming because you’ve things to take care of, you’ve responsibilities, you don’t have that talent, you don’t have this skill, you don’t have enough time, you don’t have the resources and so on.
The other side, however, will try to motivate you. It’ll talk to you and say but such-and-such person has done it, so-and-so started with no resources, of course you can do it too, what’s the worst that can happen, at least you should try, you’ve the potential, the skills and the talent, you must put aside your fears and so forth.
In the middle of these two eternal arguers is you — the judge. Whenever you want to do anything different in life, each time you want to embark on a new journey, a side of you will vehemently oppose you and will try its best to convince you that you’re better off where you are. It wants to make you timid and complacent. At that moment, it’ll help to remember that anybody who has ever done anything significant in his or her life chose to ignore the arguments of this side.
My focus today is not to prod you in acting upon something you may have long wanted to do. Instead, it is to ask you an important question. But, before I do that, allow me to give you some more food for thought.
If you care to observe, just look at the customers in a cafe, or diners in a restaurant, passengers on a train station or at the airport, even your colleagues at work, friends at a party, anywhere, everywhere, you’ll find everyone is trying hard to do one thing: to be happy. Most of us are doing everything we can to somehow always feel happy. Happiness, however, comes in various shades none of which is permanent.
The sky isn’t always blue, the season isn’t always spring. You don’t always wear yellow, you don’t eat pasta everyday, and even if you could, you won’t because eventually it’ll become boring. Our happiness is not absolute, it is not solely dependent on the object of pleasure itself but on our state of mind too. You can enjoy as long as you are not bored. To avoid boredom, people socialize, shop, dine out, watch TV, do something different.
These activities are good, maybe even desirable, but they don’t necessarily make us better human beings. Millions of people take birth and millions die every year. Struggling from one day to the next, with no spiritual or emotional growth, most go exactly as they’d come. Clearly, this is not everyone’s story though. There have been the likes of Einstein, Voltaire, Aristotle, Mozart and Rembrandt who bestowed upon us priceless scientific, philosophical, spiritual and artistic treasures. And countless more who were geniuses no less remained veiled behind the curtains of obscurity.
Irrespective of the fact whether these talented ones were famous or not, rich or struggling, they led their life in a certain state of flow, a trance like state, a state where their happiness or sense of fulfillment wasn’t dependent on how the world saw them. They were not necessarily born as geniuses but they worked hard, very hard, to explore, nurture and polish their talents. In fact, they devoted their entire life to just the thing that mattered them the most.
Scientists and researchers, in scores of studies, have long proven beyond any doubt that practice alone makes champions in any field. Whether it’s music, chess, meditation, writing, painting, programming, anything, if you put in an effort of 10,000 hours, you will become an expert in that field. Or, in other words, if you invest three hours on a daily basis for ten years, you will reach the pinnacle of that skill.
The clock is ticking and probably twenty, thirty, forty, fifty or more years of your life have already gone. Maybe you are satisfied with how life’s turned out or maybe you wanted to do or be something else. Well, it’s never too late to start. Let me ask you the most important question I alluded to earlier in the post. On what will you devote the next ten years of your life? Where are you going to invest the next 10,000 hours? That’s all it takes to be great at whatever you fancy.
The first 1,000 hours are going to be hard and even boring at times, but if you persist you’ll unlock your genius and expose a creative side of you that will surprise you and everyone around you. As you progress, eventually, you’ll become one with the object of learning and that leads to an everlasting state of bliss.
From the rainbow of happiness, where the shades are diverse and temporary, you then move to pure white happiness — pristine, all-embracing and independent. So, are you going to keep living like you’ve always lived or are you going to find your mojo by devoting ten years to learning something you’d always wanted to. Once you start to enjoy the process of learning or improvement, ten years will pass in a blink. Beautifully.
This is the path of perfection, of greatness, of personal fulfillment. In what will you find yours? Pick something and go for it.
P.S. I hope you like the new look of this blog.