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It was a fresh and foggy Spring morning in North London. Birds were chirping in the trees; the residents of the borough peacefully rested before they woke from slumber. A young woman was warming up for her morning run in the street.
‘A quick 4 miles to start the day’ she thought to herself. Her feet pounded the pavement and her heart was beating faster. She was about to hit the two-mile mark when suddenly -
Her knees grazed and hands sore, she lay motionless on the floor for a few seconds, shocked with the impact.
That woman was me. And the morning was last Wednesday. Needless to say I was pretty miffed.
And also felt rather like a 7 year old with the painful knees of an 85 year old.
On the bright side, the next time I see my niece and nephew and they show off their grazed knees for some aunty-sympathy, I can show compassion in their woes by sharing the horror of my scabs.
Hobbling back home, I realised the last time I had falled down must have been at the age of 7 or 8. There were many things I did when I was younger that I simply forgot about.
Why is it that as adults, we can allow life to become so stale by holding ourselves back from new experiences? What good does this do?
Acting like a child – with curiosity
Imagine a 4 year old child at school who has been given her first set of building blocks to play with. What is the first thing she will do? Asking for the user manual, or permission to play with the blocks is not one of them. She just gets stuck in and learns along the way.
Is there something in life that you want to achieve that requires some courage? Some hot-shot exec that you want to reach out to because he works for the company you want to work for? Get in touch and take it from there.
Life does not flow like it was sold to us
The typical career goes as follows:
You go to school
Graduate from university
Get your first job
Change jobs and businesses a few times in your 20’s
By the time you hit 30, you know yourself well enough to have the perfect job and great career.
This is how it is meant to be. For many of us, it just isn’t.
What if you are in your 30’s and still don’t know what you want? What if you are still exploring your skills and are open to a career change? Is this something worth considering at this age?
Duncan Bannatyne didn’t have his own bank account until he was 30. Harrison Ford was a carpenter until he got his break in the first Star Wars movie at 34. Sylvester Stallone was still waiting tables and wrote Rocky when he was in his 30’s.
Take inspiration in this and know that you don’t have to have it all figured out by the time you hit the 3rd decade of your life. And if all else fails, take comfort in life beginning at 40!
Consider the impact of everyday things
I was with my family last week and my nephew was building a toy aeroplane. He asked me for my help and I said ‘I’ll come give you a hand in a minute’, to which he replied ‘but I already have two hands’.
I hadn’t thought of it like that before.
How much do we simply accept as being true because it has been repeated so many times? How many months have you been waking up to the same job and doing the same thing, just so that you can have 4 years at a job on your CV instead of 3? And what have you learned in that extra year that you didn’t know before?
Longevity in the same job does not make you better – it makes you stale.
Don’t stay in a job you are miserable in because it will look good at your next interview – find something new that you are actually excited about doing.
Do something to challenge yourself
How many children do you know that walk into a playground and sit on the bench? They get stuck in and try all the different activities on offer – until they find a few that they enjoy, right?
When was the last time you went out of your comfort zone and learned something new? Or even tried a different way of achieving the same thing?
Take job hunting, for example. When you are looking for a new job, don’t just sit in the safety of your home and apply for jobs online – talk to people who are doing the job you want to do. Write to 10 people you want to connect with and gauge their thoughts. You will achieve more by doing this than applying for 100 different jobs online.
So here’s to trying new things and giving the finger to social norms.
This does come with a warning, however: the everyday Joe’s out there may become slightly perplexed at your ‘do things differently’ attitude and will tell you to do otherwise. Or, they may fall off their chair from laughing at you – like my brother did when I told him I had taken a fall during my run (cheers bro – no birthday gift for you this year).
Take heart my dear – normality and comfort make you rot – learning makes you flourish.
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