Monday, February 18, 2008

Stop the clock and start your life!

When we are born, there is a hypothetical clock that begins to count down towards the inevitable end of the game called life. We have no idea when the timer will reach half time, no two clocks will expire at the same time and there are no guarantees that can predict the final buzzer.

For the first 5 years of our life we are presented with coping strategies that imprint onto our hard drive and dictate behavior patterns for the rest of our lives. If we are fortunate, those examples will contain the necessary tools for us to experience intrinsic satisfaction relating to success. If we are not fortunate, we will receive corrupt data, and spend a lifetime attempting to quarantine, delete, or at best decipher the information.

Much has been made about the nature vs. nurture debate in terms of which has a greater influence on our growth, happiness and general well being; who is responsible for why we do x & y? Very little is educated about what and how we can set our own game clocks.

We spend our lives punching in and punching out waiting for someone else to tell us what to do and why we need to do it a certain way. More tragically, we wait for others to bring us joy and happiness. And we wait… and we wait…We believe our boss will motivate us to achieve great heights in the workplace. We believe our spouse will bring happiness our marriage. We believe accumulating things will bring rewards to our day to day. Chances are, they won’t. Statistics tell us, they don’t. Certainly, those things can contribute to… but they cannot replace our own sense of wellbeing. Only one person can accomplish the aforementioned with any lasting effect. Us. In spite of our genetic imprint or behavioral predisposition, we have the ability to dictate game strategy.

Waiting for someone/thing else to provide us with the happiness we seek, absolves us of the responsibility of doing it for ourselves and deprives us of the experience of understanding how great the risk – reward trade off is. When it comes time to pass that important information on to our children, we have no basis of reference and statistics show, they will continue our game on their time as we continued someone else’s game on ours. If your life is great and you are leading it, you have no worries. If you are stuck in a moment and you can’t get out of it. Worry.

We don’t need to fear setting our own game clocks. We don’t need to fear not being a member of the family-religious-social-professional team. That’s peer pressure, pack mentality and like we educate our teenagers, we have a choice. Otherwise, by the time we realize all the things we should’ve, could’ve and would’ve done. WHAM. The buzzer sounds. We are out of time. The game is over.

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

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