Here is a little riddle to get that grey matter moving this morning, can you guess what I’m talking about?
It is both infinite and finite. You cannot see it, feel it or touch it, in fact it has no physical presence in the universe whatsoever. But we live with it every moment of our lives, it follows us through life. It influences nearly every decision we make in one way or another and we have no way of controlling it. You can see it equally in the faces of the young as you can the old but the young have no understanding of its existence whereas the old are often painfully aware.
Can you guess what it is? That’s right, it’s TIME!
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting”, fine words written by Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist and writer, that seem to me, to be more relevant than ever in the context of the lives we live now.
If you’re living in the hamster wheel of the rat race, which let's be honest is most of us, then this quote probably resonates with you. We work in a 20th century system in the 21st century but what can we do about it? How can we change it? Why should we change it?
Well let's answer those questions in reverse order and see how far we get. While remembering that we are only speaking from our own experience here, so nothing is gospel. We don’t hold a crystal ball or have magic powers but if you are to succeed you will need to work hard, really hard. But the good news is if you’re passionate about it, if it pushes you out of bed in the morning and keeps you up late at night it won't seem like really hard work. Then you know you have found your calling.
So why should we change? I think for many people for the same reason as the answer to the riddle, TIME. Once your job has taken its obligatory 8 hours a day how much time is left for your family and friends, your interests and most importantly yourself? For nearly all of us it’s not enough. We’re working in an outdated system that doesn’t suit the lives we live today. Henry Ford was one of the first to adopt the 8 hour work week in 1914, that’s right, over 100 years ago! Factory workers changed from 10-16 hour work days to 8 hour work days, is it not nonsensical that we have not made any progress or changes in this area for over a 100 years? Imagine if science hadn’t made any progress in that time, oh I guess we wouldn’t be any the wiser! That doesn’t really prove my point but anyway, we need and should make a change.
And How should we do this? Find something that you’re passionate about, think about what your strengths/talents are and create a business or something else that means you can make a living from it. Sounds easy when I say it like that, doesn’t it? But half the battle is starting and it doesn't matter that you’re naive because if we all really knew what was involved in starting our own business we would never start at all! Accept that you’re going to be the one that drives onto the race track in a Fiat Punto while everyone else is driving ferraris, it will be great motivation.
What you don’t know you can find out. We live in the information age, knowledge is no longer the purveyor of universities, we all have access to knowledge via the internet and more importantly access to those people that do know what we don’t. This is what we have found on our journey, access to people with a knowledge far greater than our own is just an email away. Use it to your advantage!
If you find your WHY and figure out your HOW then you will be able to drag yourself from the 20th Century into the 21st Century world of work. You will still have to work don’t get me wrong but you’ll be able to decide over your own time. How you use it, what you do with it and when you get to do it. That way you will really make a difference, to yourself and maybe even the World.
I’ll leave you with a quote from the mighty Steve Jobs, they don’t come more inspiring than this.
“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
- Steve Jobs