Your family, religion and even your name was decided before you were born. You came into this world in a passive mode, eating what you were fed and learning what you were taught.
A good part of your early years was spent in school, where you did not have the opportunity to feast on the subject that you loved because it was all about passing in all compulsory subjects for a well- rounded development, irrespective of your own interest. School boxed you nicely in a bright package that was best suited for the average challenges of life.
You did well in school or probably not so well and next came the university. It was a big deal as it was called by others as your gateway to the outside world. All the people who had any connection with you whatsoever, came into their best form to coax you to pick up a stream that will make you a corporate success. You were the centre of every discussion on the dining table and on phones with the extended family. There was pride in those eyes on what you were accomplishing and how well behaved you were. In other words, as most people do and as most people accomplish.
Once again, the important decisions of your life were being taken without you having a say at it, and you allowed yourself to be thrown into an ocean of conventional wisdom, by joining that Engineering, Medical or Accounting profession. After all, people around you wanted you to be successful and this “what everyone does” continued to be the ruling guideline.
But you were smarter than most and you figured there is something wrong – you decided to get to the top of the ladder by climbing higher and did post-graduation, which narrowed down the “everyone does it list” to a bare 10% than before.
You were then scooped up by a corporate giant, who came all the way to the campus to gobble you up before you got a chance to think about anything else. You again couldn’t say no as you wanted to prove to others and yourself that you were so much in demand. Perhaps your personal circumstances, financial constraints, sense of responsibility played a role as you took the wise path because that is what someone who is responsible will do.
Once you entered corporate life, you were imprisoned for ever by the corporate zombies, promotions, free insurances and off course, that fat pay check in your bank account every month.
This was amazing as you contemplated what to do with the significant money you made and how much better it was than rest of your friends! You used some of that money to upgrade your technical skills as those were selling like hotcakes in the market and fewer people were doing it. This paid back well. You went up the ladder and further shrank that comparative figure of the number of people in that top slot.
The rise to the top created a standard you had to live by- in the form of having a great partner, a palatial house and the best car in the market.
However, in your late thirties and a rising star, you started noticing an uncomfortable thought.
None of it brought fulfilment.
You remembered your parents’ wisdom how once you reach that level, which was impossible for them, it will bring in massive rewards and you knew that you had ticked all the boxes, yet you didn’t feel like you won. Perhaps you needed to go beyond.
A little more time passed and then one evening, you recalled your school teacher’s warning not to loose track of your dreams and you started feeling that she was on the verge of being proved right!
The weekends you live for.
The vacations that you wait for.
The hobby that you keep pushing off.
The dream that you have but seems far away.
All in exchange for
An average life that you were running for but have settled in so well.
It is surely not possible to change now.
You can’t just throw it all away for chasing the dreams. It will be childish. What would your family think, what would your son aspire, if he sees you acting so recklessly?
A wise friend whispers in your ear – be contended. Who are you to challenge that? What are you but an average bloke who is doing amazing by the average standards of the society?
While the story is that of a fictional “you” – seeing a life getting wasted like this is just too much for me.
Are you too struck in this automatic mode, playing ball by ball, taking life as it comes?
Do you depend on external events or circumstances to drive your direction?
Would you like to get on to the driver seat of your life?
How good will it be to take full control of it, pressing brakes at your will, to grab learnings along the way and accelerating at your will, to reach your goals with all those golden learnings?
Are you ready to make that conscious choice to get out of the average life and leave behind a legacy?
If the thought excites you, this would be the most powerful thought of your life.
Reach out if this rings a bell and talk to me – I want to hear your story and give my 2 cents.
For more details, keep an eye on my upcoming book, “Automatic to Deliberate”, co-authored by me and Kapil Kulshreshtha.