Stop and See
This time of year is one of my favorites. The effects of a long summer full of events and humidity and travel is finally winding down. It’s fitting that the long days of daylight are finally giving way as cold crisp breezes begin to come out of heat induced hibernation.
Transition. Earth is waking up to take a fresh breath and clue us into the colorful autumn that’s on the horizon. I’ve been spending about a half an hour every morning before work doing a little reading and writing, but more importantly I’ve been taking the time to stop and just look around. During this time I’ve also been reflecting on where I’m at. I’m so thankful to have a job doing something interesting with interesting people. But at the same time I find myself stuck in a place of tension, because I know in five years time, I doubt I’ll still want to be doing what I’m currently doing.
The Old School Approach
These thoughts I used to categorize in my brain as doubt or insecurity. The fact that I’ve never seemed capable of landing on an occupation that was worthy of committing my life to made me feel like something was wrong. Was I lazy? Did I expect too much? I went through a crisis every year of undergrad around the Spring semester as I began to contemplate whether I was a sell out. Whether I’d ever be able to get through my degree without regretting the fact that I didn’t choose something else.
But then I realized that the outlook I had concerning careers, opportunities, and life’s progression in general wasn’t my own, but one that was impressed upon me. I’ve grown up in an occupationally driven climate that’s pretty one dimensional on the surface, and the widely accepted way of doing this is as follows:
Pretty simple right? As long as you’ve decided what you want to do.
But I never really decided. I never felt settled as my mind bounced between whether I should go into photography, drums, teaching, or even dental hygiene, I realized that my interests at any given point are widely varied and complex.
Over the past year my outlook has transformed and matured to give my mind peace and rest concerning my future. And I’ve adopted a perspective which I’ll call the “Opportunity Outlook”.
Pretty much, instead of segmenting my life into the common “business/career” and “personal” boxes or adopting the concepts of “climbing the corporate ladder/ establishing a carreer path” etc., I’ve decided to see my life holistically as a series of opportunities.
Once I simplified my life trajectory to opportunities, then I was able to reduce those opportunities into individual choices.
“Every opportunity is at its foundation a decision point”
And learning how to seize the potential within each of those opportunities by making a well discerned decision is what I believe moves me closer to my goals each day.
For example, writing for this website has been difficult. In the middle of me having a full time job, being in a committed relationship, taking care of my home responsibilities, maintaining relationships with friends/family, preparing for DJ gigs, sleeping, and teaching myself guitar, I have to find time to try to creatively think through some of the stuff in my brain to write something that I believe can be meaningful for somebody somewhere. Instead of getting all freaked out about the fact that I never seem to finish posts in a timely manner or that I rarely think that the finished product that I post is that great, I choose to see this website as an opportunity to stretch myself. Every time I choose to work it’s an opportunity to hopefully connect, inspire, and encourage people while learning a little more about myself in the process.
The Opportunity Outlook is a perspective I use to make the choice to work hard today and every other day. Seeing opportunities is what gets me up out of bed in the morning to have another go at life again, especially after a rough day. Every thought and action can be seen as an opportunity to establish habits that will help you get to where you want to go, even if you don’t know how to get there.