The other evening I was out having a cigar and a beverage. While sitting around a fire pit (an outdoor wood fire), I overheard an interesting conversation. [We were all sitting and standing pretty close to one another and this group was talking fairly loudly, so one couldn’t help but hear.] This guy was bemoaning how bad his life was. He looked to be in his late twenties. His wife offered a different perspective on their life, but he would have none of that. He went on about the many events in his life that had defeated him (and he obviously felt he was a “victim”). He complained about all the things that had happened to him or had been done to him. He complained that no matter what he did, things kept turning out wrong. He even pointed to where they lived as proof that he was a failure. Then he continued on about how God must have abandoned or punished him. He also decided that surely he must have “bad” genes – that he was simply wired for failure.
Now maybe you don’t know anyone like that or maybe all that sounded a bit extreme, but let me draw a parallel to some of the people I’ve met in business. I’ve seen lots people who have done “OK”. They have a business, a home, and a family. They can pay their bills for the most part – at least the minimum payments. They’re liked by others, and view themselves as capable and competent. And yet… something is wrong. In spite of what they’ve achieved, they know they are destined for more. Inside, in their heart of hearts, they know that where they are in life is not where they could be. Some of these folks secretly feel they’re destined for greatness of one kind or another. Some secretly feel they’re destined to impact large numbers of people. Some secretly feel they’re destined to have great financial success and recognition. But none of these folks have realized their destiny. In fact, they’re often nowhere near where they want to be.
No doubt they started their adult life in pursuit of their destiny with big goals, ambition and energy. But time after time their efforts met with mediocre results. They tried one approach to achieve success, but didn’t have much success. Then they tried a different approach, but got the same result. And next, a third approach with poor results. And consequently, slowly but surely, they begin to accept mediocrity. They begin to accept the “fact” that they just aren’t meant to succeed. That the destiny they once envisioned for themselves was a fantasy and instead, their “fate” or ultimate destiny is to be “average”. These people have the very same mentality as our friend at the fire pit. These people end up adopting a defeatist attitude – and you already know how I feel about the importance and impact of attitude on our life. (If not, go to my website and read my recent article on attitude.)
Maybe you are one of those people I described above. Maybe you (secretly) know what your true destiny is, but have gotten to a point where that spark of a vision has almost been extinguished. Maybe you have tried “everything” and feel that your “destiny” is one of mediocrity – living check to check, not having much of an impact, and/or being completely unenthused. The important question we need to ask is:
Can You Change Your Destiny?
The answer is “No”.
Let me clarify that. I don’t believe we can change our true destiny – that is, the destiny we secretly know to be true – for the truth is the truth. But we can and should change that “destiny” or fate that we have resigned ourselves to accept. You see, that “destiny” isn’t really a destiny at all. Instead, it’s an admission that we don’t know what else to do. It’s an indication that we’ve run out of ideas, we’ve run out of energy, we’ve run out of belief, and/or we’ve run out of hope. And staying in that mindset – the mindset keeping us from realizing our true destiny – would be an unfortunate waste. It takes resolve to break free from that mindset, but we can and should choose to rise above that state – to leave that life of mediocrity behind and progress down our path towards our true destiny. How do we accomplish that? It takes a shift in attitude and a shift in action.
There are two critical perspectives to adopt with respect to attitude. It is absolutely critical to have a positive attitude and it is absolutely critical to have an attitude of gratitude. (You can read my articles on positive attitude and on gratitude on my website.) When you have a positive attitude, you end up attracting positive things into your life. You find opportunities where you once only saw obstacles. When you are grateful for what you have, you allow more good things to come into your life. Don’t confuse being grateful with compromising or being satisfied – being grateful is different.
As far as taking action goes, there are two important issues to consider. One issue is whether what you are doing for a living is what best suits your skills and talents. If not, then move on to something that is a better match. The second important action-related issue to consider is nicely summed up in that famous definition of insanity we’ve all heard: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.” Acknowledge that what you’ve been doing (or at least HOW you’ve been doing it) doesn’t work. Decide to open up your mind to other ways of doing what you do or trying altogether new approaches to moving you towards your success.
Anyone can make great strides towards advancing in the direction of their destiny – but it takes a definite shift in attitude, a definite shift in action, and a bit of courage…