Whoever said, “the best way to predict your future is to create it” was either a genius or completely nuts. Or alternatively, hadn't heard about a global pandemic.
While on the wild and woolly roller-coaster of persistent disruption, how can one practice pragmatic optimism?
Here are two simple tips:
The first is to keep TRYING.
It takes 10 years to be an overnight success (according to Jeff Bezos and many others). Most tech billionaires have been at it for years until they made it big. Apple started way back in 1976. So too Google was years in the making (1999).
Angela Duckworth identifies the key driver of success is “grit” not “smarts”. Grit is passion and sustained persistence towards achieving something worthwhile without the need for rewards or recognition along the way. Your heart has to be in "it" so faithfully keep going when the chips are down. The gritless smart ones are often the first to give up.
The second is to keep LEARNING.
Like most Gen Xers, I’ve learnt more from my many mistakes than my few successes over the years. I am definitely not Robinson Crusoe in that nor think my challenges are different to anyone else's. Every kid falls off a bicycle a few times ‘til they get it. Kids persist because the promise of freedom and fun offered by a bicycle.
Why is being an "adult" any different?
There is a really good book (by Robert Fulghum) you might like called "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten". Here's a sample of some of Robert's life lessons:
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're SORRY when you HURT somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
The stupid reality of life is we all grow old but some of us never actually grow up. We just play a game called "adulting". I read Robert's book every summer to remind me of the rules!
An extra tip:
If you are constantly looking backwards at past mistakes or thinking “I wish I had of“ then ask yourself these two questions:
Did I do what I thought was right at the time?
Did I do my best at the time?
All we can do is do what's right and do our best, and that is good enough.
What often helps is to focus on the PROCESS of “trying” and “learning” and not be fixated on an END result ("I made it"). There is no end. Find ways to enjoy being in the "arena" and going into battle every day. This is where passion and purpose kick in.
Who knows if your job will turn out, or this product will sell out or your team will be awesome or 2023 will be the right year to take a cruise on the Ruby Princess?
The best way to predict your future is to create it.
Where to from here?
Keep that inner child well nourished.
by Bruce Mullan