"Life is the most difficult exam. Many people fail because they try to copy others. Not realizing that everyone has a different question paper."
- Author Unknown
Just imagine your life being one big exam. Copying is not realistic in that sense as your sheet of paper is entirely different that of anybody around you. The only difficulty and opportunity at the same time is that there is no preparation and there is no one who has lived your life before you to give you what you need in preparation - you can make it your own. As a result you cannot live a perfect life, but you have every chance to making it perfect for yourself.
"There is no being stuck! There is only "another approach needed" to see you through the difficulty you have." -Tony & Carmen Matthews
This is what we just said in a webinar and we meant every word. The very meaning of being stuck is a mindset you can accept or you can help yourself by saying, "OK" if this is the end of my current knowledge and wisdom, there must be a way around it/over it/aside this or something that helps me to tackle it in a different way entirely.
Life is unique and wonderful and it is a great time to be alive right now! You can do almost anything you want to nowadays, while exploring hobbies and living a full and happy life with your passion right in the centre of everything you do. Nonetheless, and sadly, many people find themselves lost, bored, confused, frustrated and highly stressed. Many more are finding it hard to achieve any type of measurable success with measure being taken only by the means of money. Is it possible that modern life is simultaneously affording us with way more opportunities for success that we ever had whilst at the same time also setting us up to fail? Is it possible we are being bombarded with mindset-changing paradigms that are hurting our chances and confusing us with what we can class an achievement? Where does it start and what can we do to change it, because - and we repeat - life is beautiful!
So, what set's us up for failure and what can you do to take your exam a bit more personal?
1.) Instant gratification - Oh, how easy is it and how often do you hear it being said - Reward yourself for your hard work with 'X'? - whether this is sport or a hard day at work... get that reward in.
However, there is no real success in it if you only do it to please yourself in the short run. That workout only works if you do for more than an hour, that hard day at work may not mean anything in a years time anymore. Even if you love what you do, you’ll still have to write that report or that budget, you’ll still have to deal with that one client. By bombarding us with opportunities for instant gratification, the modern society is setting us up for failure, can you see that?
TACKLE IT: Schedule time for pleasure and reward yourself for effective work rather than work that was perceived hard so that you may get rewarded (like a puppy) for being good.
2.) Entitlement to an "Easy Ride" - In a world where the Kardashian's are idolized, we see people who seem to not do “anything” all day have a boat load of money and success and we get roped into thinking that is what we all should have. What they don't tell you, is that unless you were taught how to be happy with what you have everyone of us has to work for what they want and learn how to be happy in their life. And happiness is surprisingly untied to money, in case you haven't noticed.
TACKLE IT: My (Carmen) grandfather always asked me when I expected it to be easy and started complaining: "Who told you it was easy?" As I grew older I am recognising the wisdom in these words so when you catch yourself expecting things to be easy, stop yourself, as the question and then go through the following steps in your head: Bypass your expectations of how things should go, and think of the actual necessary steps, then, set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) intermediate goals to achieve your end goal. Thinking it through, will actually take you to get to where you want to go instead of submitting to the mounting frustration that comes with unmet expectation.
3.) Follow your passion - This is the most misunderstood, least explained and expanded on subject in today's modern world. It makes us sad hearing people say "but I have no passion" or they - like butterflies - go from perceived passion to passion only to fail at it. Society does expect us, with all the best intentions in mind of course, to be passionate and happy about what we do and that we have a right to live out our passion.
Passion is a misunderstood word beyond means. We have now interviewed and spoken so many times to passionate people that one thing can truly be said about all of them: "Passion truly means the act of fostering your passion, most of the time through tedious and long working hours."
Instead of looking for what you feel passionate about, you can pick something you like and foster a true passion for it – by working at it. Most successful people that are perceived truly passionate about what they do foster a deliberate passion by putting in work that does look and feel like work every single day.
TACKLE IT: If you aren't passionate about your life right now, change it. You have everything you need - promise! Pay attention to what you don’t like and what you do like. You really need to be in tune with that. We all know instinctively better what we don’t like than consciously. As a result, and very easy, if you don’t like it, don’t waste your time doing it any longer. You simply cannot foster a passion for what you don’t like. Once you figure that out, make a list of things you do actually like and would enjoy doing for a lengthy amount of time. If you don't know that, maybe it is time to do some soul searching, don’t beat yourself up if one of those things don’t excite you like a godly calling. This is the time to get realistic and pick something that you think would be the best fit for you and your life and most importantly where you want your life to be in future. Then, think about how to become successful in that field and have your ideal end goal in mind. This is the time to think of your ideal life. Focus on that goal, every single day and do all the things today that will get you to fulfil on your goal. This is a conscious effort and you will do one day better and another less good but the important thing here is that you keep going.
Work hard to get better by doing lots and lots of work – work that will feel like work and be open to learn at all times however far you have come.
By detaching yourself from an instant gratification, passion-obsessed, easy-ride-loving culture, you’ll find yourself in control of your future and your success and who doesn't love to be in control of the direction they are going. There are no right or wrong ways to go about your life, but your exam is your exam - take it seriously and make it your own.