Thursday, May 29, 2014
By Douglas Clark
About a year ago I applied for a job and had an interview that went great. I related very well to my potential new boss and his team, the work seemed interesting and the prospects of advancing appeared good. Everything looked like a good fit. After leaving the interview, I not only expected a job offer, I knew they would extend one.
What I didn’t anticipate was the lackluster benefits package they would ultimately offer. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect a silver platter full of gold. What I got, however, amounted to only about one thousand dollars more than I made at the time, only at the new position I would be doing twice the work. Also, the healthcare and retirement package was almost nonexistent.
Needless to say, I felt a bit perplexed. It’s a major thing to uproot yourself from a long standing position. One needs at least a bit of enticement to make such a switch. Obviously, I didn’t take the job. It led me to realize though, there’s nothing more deflating and de-motivational than getting socked with the knowledge that all your efforts resulted in something less than favorable or desired.
So how do you handle disappointment? It doesn’t have to be a job offer. It can be a sporting event, a diet goal, a physical challenge, pretty much anything. If you put effort, time, money, and devotion into something and the result falls woefully short of your expectations, what do you do? For me, I just kept trying to find a new position that fit my expectations, skill set, and professional needs. I just kept trying.
Now it’s kind of hard to just keep at something if you continually fail. So in that regard it’s necessary to reexamine your goals, your approach and your reasoning for pursuing that dream in the first place. This is where it gets unpleasant. You see, you might find that the dream and goal you work so hard for will never come to fruition. Certain obstacles might just be too big. That’s a hard pill to swallow. And believe me, I’ve given up on a few things in my life, like being six foot tall, running a mile in less than eight minutes, playing basketball, for example. Now everyone has limitation and difficulties, but the hard part is realizing they might be getting in the way of you achieving that goal you set out for yourself. That hurts.
However, we all have skills and abilities that set us apart from others. Many of these skills and abilities may lay dormant simply because you don’t explore them. Clearing away old and tired, unsuccessful habits can open up possibilities never imagined beforehand. If you reexamine your goals and approach you might realize something else can take your old pursuit’s place and still provide a meaningful return.
There will always be sorrow and lingering doubt when/if you stop pursuing a dream. Thoughts like, “If I just gave it a bit more time, I might have made it”, or some such. If you turn that around and say something more positive like, “I’m free to pursue something new and exciting with a real possibility of success now”, you might just find new motivation and energy that you thought you lost, or didn’t know you possessed in the first place.
Remember, every end can be a new beginning.
Thanks for reading.
Questions and comments are welcome.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds. ~Francis Bacon
How often do you create opportunities for success in your life? You might have heard the old saying “Opportunity only knocks once,” or “When opportunity knocks, answer it”. They’re cute little sayings aren’t they? But do you notice something about the way they are structured? I’ll give you a minute to reread them….
Did you see it? Well, if you saw what I saw you’ll recognize that both of those sayings are rather passive in regards to you and what you should do. Think about it. Opportunity knocks, meaning it will come to you. Really? I’ve always had this sort of ridiculous notion that opportunity was like a cloud of positive energy that would one day float by my apartment door and lightly rap upon my door knocker. All I had to do was wait. Now I realize that’s an incredible waste of time.
If we think about what Francis Bacon says about opportunity, we should all be out hunting that misty cloud of energy trying to wring out all the opportunity we can get. And that’s exactly what you should be doing. Getting out there and making things happen is what life should be about. There’s a reason why couch potatoes aren’t wildly successful, except knowing what’s on TV; they aren’t doing anything. You can’t seize the day if you’ve already seized the couch.
Just a few days ago, I once again submitted some of my writings to a publisher. In fact, I submitted another short story and several poems. No one is going to come knocking on my door begging me to submit my stories to their magazine. So I’ve got to make those publishing opportunities happen myself. And I’m going to have to continue to foster those opportunities if I want to be successful. You might not be an aspiring author, but I’m sure there’s something positive you’d love to be doing right now; some dream you always wanted to come true…
The question is, what are you doing to make that dream come true?
Thanks for reading. Questions and comments are welcome.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Wishing for a good thing doesn’t accomplish much does it? I’ve known some people, myself included, that have fondly used the phrase, “You can hope in one hand, and shit in the other, and see which one fills up first.” I’ve always found that line to be a bit hilarious, crude yes, but also quite funny. I think the reason behind that is because the sentiment behind the statement is so true. Thinking about something good happening is far less effective than actually doing something about it. It really comes down to action versus inaction. I’m not quite sure I’ll ever see anyone squat down and actually try to shit in their own hand, but the point should be well taken. You must Do something to get something.
Personally, I’ve been in love with being a writer for years. I’d sit and imagine what it would be like getting my stories published, wonder what it would be like to give up my nine-to-five daily grind and just sit in front of my laptop, pounding away at the keys. I’d dream of seeing my name in print and telling my friends and fans about my next novel. I’d sit down and craft short stories that I believed told a great story and delivered an emotional punch that resonated. But you know what I didn’t do? I never submitted anything for consideration. I never once sent out a story just to see if it would get published. I had all these short stories and half finished novel ideas but I never really Did anything. I was hoping in one hand, but that was about it.
One day, my brother said to me “Maybe you’re just not a writer” and it was like a slap in the face, because I wondered if he was right. Part of me knew he couldn’t be, but part of me wasn’t sure. Why had I waited all those years and still not committed to writing? What was I waiting for? I asked myself a ton of questions, came up with a bunch of answers, but in the end it really came down to one thing: I was scared. It was easier to dream and hope than to actually Do. But doing is what makes life worth living. So I consciously decided to not fail, not waste my time, and stop hoping something good would happen, and I decided to Make something happen.
In the last six months I’ve written about 30,000 words on my novel and submitted to a half dozen publications. Okay, so I haven’t gotten anything accepted yet, but I’m Doing, not just hoping. You know what, even if I don’t get anything published and I ultimately fail, at least I tried. To me, I’d rather have the fact of failing than the regret of just hoping without action. Life is worth the risk, and the more I take, the more I experience things of value. Give it a try. It’s worth it.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Ocean of Dreams
Have you ever wanted something so bad that you were willing to sacrifice everything else to get it? There are so many choices we have to make in life, sometimes it’s difficult to know what to sacrifice and what to hold on to. Dreams can be powerful motivators in directing your life to a positive state. However, dreams can be destructive gremlins that ruin everything else if you let them. It’s okay to have a dream, to want it fulfilled and live the way you want to live, but it always comes at a price. I’ve heard it said, you have to give to get. Well I’m sure that’s true, but how much should you give, and how much should you get back? If you haven’t realized yet, I’m talking about balance. When your life is balanced, things make sense. When you are off kilter, things are confusing. So, if you have a dream and are willing to sacrifice everything else to get it, will that balance your life? To me, the easy answer is no.
When I was in college, I wanted to graduate. Obviously graduation represented an accomplishment and proof to the world that I achieved something extraordinary. Graduating also meant I could get a better job. But also, and even more important to me, were the experiences I gained while in school. Yes it was important to get an education, it was important to have credentials and documents, but I was not willing to sacrifice everything to get it. I read about some people who sacrifice things in advance without knowing the consequences, and it’s sad. Was their dream to be mired in debt for life? Of course not, but it goes to show you life can be tipped off balance easily if you don’t pay attention to details. I worked through college just like a lot of other students. I also knew exactly why I was there. And, coming from a poor family, I understood the value of every dollar I earned and spent. I had to balance my dreams with my reality.
It’s hard to find balance sometimes. It may be that you will have to suffer before you come to understand. I know that’s not comforting, but it is reassuring to know if you pay attention to those details I was talking about, you will find that balance… eventually. Following your dreams is a worthy endeavor. Don’t stop. Just remember that there are many paths to go down in your pursuit. If something seems way too difficult, complex, or confusing, stop. You don’t have to change your dream, just change the path you take to get there. That way, you can still follow your dream without sacrificing everything else you care about to get it. And that’s a good balance in life!
This amazing painting is by Josephine Wall; it's called Ocean of Dreams. Check out her online gallery.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reply. Thanks for reading!
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