When I meet someone for the first time, usually, in westerns society, one of the first questions I’m asked is “what do you do?” As if this will tell the person everything they need to know about me.
For years, I’ve worked towards having an answer to that question that makes me proud. Now whether I was working on that for everyone else, or for myself, I wasn’t quite sure. But I wanted an answer that would generate respect, or at least, my definition of it.
A lot of times, the follow-up question would be, do you like what you do? To which most people, including myself, would think about it for a brief moment and respond with a rather careless, “yes”…or “it pays the bills”…or “at least I have a job”….at which point, I would sort of realize that I’m not really fulfilled or happy with my answer….the first one or the second one.
Now I know that we choose what we do, and we’re not trees so we can easily move. But we quickly get bogged down in the way society functions today and find comfort with where we are to a point where this answer almost becomes automatic. Of course, there are the lucky few who find what they are looking for right away and achieve it to their greatest satisfaction.
But I had no idea what I wanted to do or be. And everything just seemed so narrow and pre-prescribed. And, like most, I always felt that there was more to life.
I had been having this reoccurring dream, not a bad dream, but the fact that it had been reoccurring was telling me I needed to figure something out. The dream was that I was at a ball, surrounded by royalty. The president asked for a dance and of course, I obliged. As we danced I asked him if he liked being president and if there is ever a time where he just wants to drop the act and be a normal person. He looked at me confused that this is what I would ask of all questions in the world. He then turns to me and asked if I like what I do and if I thought I would be here in life…Each time my answer would be “its ok” but I always regret giving that answer after I do…and not because I wanted to impress the president, but because I wanted to be more satisfied with my answer.
So one day (in real life, not the dream) I was walking in my neighborhood, headed to the salon to get a pedicure when I saw this sticker on a wall with a picture of Steve Jobs and under his head it said “think different”. The picture immediately spoke to me but I didn’t really know why. I mean, sure I always hear about “thinking outside the box” and things like that. But I couldn’t stop thinking about this picture as I walked. I started thinking to myself, how can I think different? Of course I want to, who doesn’t? But how do I go about doing that? I mean, how many different ways of thinking are there…of course you can approach a math problem differently, or take a different route to work…but how does the process of actual thinking change?
Then I started getting frustrated as I continued to walk…and thought, seriously?? How the hell does one think different? As I was approaching the salon I was almost forgetting about it all together, when suddenly, I saw it again…the same sticker, but on a different wall, this time, even a different color. This one was a little more faded, you couldn’t quite make out Steve Jobs as much anymore, but the words were still there….crystal clear…” think different”…almost taunting me.
I smiled and went to get my pedicure…I went about my day. Headed to yoga, grabbed some lunch and on my way home, it hit me.
Change Your Perspective
“You search so much that you barely notice how far you have come. People always need some kind of validation, and that is the great metaphor of life: we live so hard, that we barely live at all.” ~R.M. Drake
This dream I was having…where the question is asked time and time again, and I’m never satisfied with the answer…it wasn’t because I didn’t like where I was in life…after all I got myself here….it was because I wasn’t answering it properly.
When someone asks you what you do, you immediately answer with your title. That title holds so much weight, so much meaning, and so much significance, that we allow it to define everything about ourselves. My title sounds boring and unfulfilling…but I’m so much more than that. I’m making decisions that change the course of the company I work for which impact the lives of many people, not just the customers we serve, but the employees we hire. I’m making a difference in the lives of the people I work with, for and around.
I have the opportunity to influence people from all walks of life and change their lives for the better, whether mentally or physically. I have touched many lives right here as have the people around me done the same for me. I’m not just my title. I’ve been planting seeds of knowledge in fertile minds in the hopes that, they too do the same for others. I’ve been waking up individuals from their comfort zone one comment at a time. No, I’m not out there, yet, working with the world…but I’m working within a world, with people I can influence and help right here, right now.
So when I realized that, I realized a whole new way of thinking…I realized that I really have brought myself to this very place I am today. That when I think back to all the times, I wish I wanted to be something or do something, and all of the people who have asked me what I wanted to do and I’ve answered…it’s lead me to the very place I am today.
Now with this knowledge, I’m realizing, that there isn’t just one straight path, one goal that I set and work towards…at least not for me…but there are many ways of getting to do exactly what I want to do without just having one explanation like, “I’m a doctor…or I’m a lawyer”…but think about the impact you have on the people around you and the world. If you’re not satisfied with that impact, then you should make a change…but if it’s simply, the title, or the paycheck then you will never really be satisfied with what you do.
Don’t ever give up on your dreams, but never discount where you are today. There is a reason you are where you are. Take a look around and just think different. 🙂
“You are not here just to fill space or to be a background character in someone else’s movie. Nothing would be the same if you did not exist. Every place you have ever been and every person you have ever spoken to would be different without you. We are all connected and we are all affected by the decisions and existence of those around us. Never forget this.” ~ anonymous