My Dad had some great advice for me recently.
He said, “don’t live today, by yesterday’s thought.”
His point? With today’s information, you can change your mind and do something better.
It makes sense in business. If a business isn’t reaching it’s targets, the directors recalibrate, they have meetings and make new decisions. Applying this principle to one’s own life can be challenging though. Business’, themselves, don’t have ego’s, pride and perfectionist tendencies, but people do.
Canada has tested my ego, pride and perfectionist tendencies more than anywhere else in the world. I moved to Canada to travel, have new experiences and, importantly, to further my career. It took a job offer in Toronto to make me realise that I wasn’t going to get what I wanted in Canada.
The job offer gave me two choices: take something that will make me unhappy (and poor) longterm– but save my pride now, or accept defeat and get to chance it at something better.
I’m not a gambler. I don’t like uncertainty and I don’t like failure – the idea of leaving things to chance terrifies me. This time, though, I’m taking a chance. I’m accepting defeat. I’m living today, with today’s information.
I’m choosing failure.
Failure, though, isn’t as terrible and terrifying as I previously thought. Failure can actually be liberating. The morning after booking my flights I woke up with a lighter mood and less muscle tension than I’d had for weeks. It turned out, the thought of failure was much worse than the experience. I think failure frees you from, what Buddhists call, the hungry ghost. Hungry ghosts have thin necks and empty stomachs – they lack nourishment and are therefore always hungry. Someone who has everything, but wants more, is considered a hungry ghost.
I’ve found that achieving goals, leads only to the desire to achieve more goals. We become used to the idea of outdoing the last experience. We want something bigger, better and more amazing. Much like chasing a rainbow, fulfilment can move further and further away with each success.
J.K Rowling said, “rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” Canada hasn’t exactly brought me to rock bottom, but it has forced me to look at life from an uncomfortable angle. Failure is a shake-up. Failure asks, what exactly is it that I’m chasing? This experience feels like an opportunity to look at things differently. Instead of trying to outdo each experience; my new goal is to enjoy each moment and opportunity for what it is and quit comparing it to the last one.
Today I say goodbye to my Canadian dream and hello to a new adventure (to Australia, for those of you following at home).
Until next time,