Why We’re Not There

I talk to a fair number of people who aren’t where they want to be in life. That’s probably no surprise to anyone, because most of us aren’t where we want to be. Poke beneath the surface of people’s exterior and you find that most of the people we know are dissatisfied with their lives.

They feel a lack of success. A lack of self worth. A lack of love. A lack of purpose. A lack of (insert your own lack here).

“I’m 53” I had someone tell me a while back. “Why aren’t I further along?”

I think the answer is simple. We aren’t taught.

Our education system, whatever you thing of it, is pretty efficient, but it’s not focused on producing joyful, fulfilling lives. It’s focused on producing people with productive, profitable skills. We end up as adults with a ton of knowledge, facts at our fingertips, and much of it, ultimately, useless.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the facts and figures and ultimately useless knowledge (come on, when was the last time you had to dissect a frog in real life?) has value. Whether we ultimately use algebra or not, the real thing we are learning is how to learn. And THAT has immense value.

It’s just that our system does not go far enough. We learn to learn, but we don’t learn WHAT to learn if we want more than a productive, useful sort of life.

That’s the bad news.

The good news, is that we already know how to learn. (You do remember, don’t you?) And the secrets to having a life you want and feel passionate about are not really secrets at all. Writers and teachers have been saying essentially the same thing about how to build a life you love for ages.

Literally, ages. Somehow though, most of us have ignored what these teachers have been trying to tell us. It’s not that we can’t learn…. we’ve chosen not to. Why?

Because we think it’s too easy.

We read books like “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, or Micheal Dooley’s “Leveraging the Universe” and we just can’t believe it’s that simple. Well guess what? It is that simple.

But it’s not easy.

It’s not easy because it involves our changing our beliefs, about ourselves, about the universe works; about the world around us, the possibilities, and even perhaps, about God. And trust me, unlearning is way, way harder than learning.

Which is why if we want more in our lives, we have to take it in baby steps.

I recall reading a book many years ago about the French Revolution. It seems, if I remember correctly, that the revolution left many, many children as orphans, and a few men of science decided this was a great opportunity to experiment on human nature.

In one such experiment  they raised and taught a small group of children that many things in life were the opposite of what they were. Light was dark. Red was white, and white was red. They did this for a few years, then turned the kids loose in the more open real world.

Imagine what that must have been like? To find out that every thing you thought was wrong. The poor kids, to a child, went mad. Totally mad.

Change is good. But too much change is dangerous to us. Our minds and our hearts can’t process it. So if we want to really change our lives, we have to make those changes slowly, but persistantly. What does that mean?

That persistence and consistency is way more important than knowledge, If we take it all in baby steps, we can, any of us, end up with a life we want. The teachers know how. (remember, it’s not really a secret). It’s available to all of us.

Some of us can take those steps on our own. More of us need a teacher, mentor or coach. But it’s there.

In her wonderful book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron tells a story about a man in his seventies who had always wanted to play the violin. “But I am so old.” the man said. Cameron pointed out that if he started, in three years he’d be a seventy three year old man who could play the violin. If he didn’t start, he’d be a seventy three year old man who couldn’t play the violin and would still year for it.

So the question becomes, what are we? Where do we want to be in a few years? Are we willing to invest the time to unlearn and relearn? (The relearning is easy, by the way. It’s the unlearning that is hard.).

If so, we’ll get there. If not. Well, I hope you are OK with the lacks in your life.

Take care, Travel Wisely,

Tom

Lesson 40

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