Has your path in life left you sort of walking around aimlessly? I confess to feeling that way lately myself. So I’m sharing another of my erstwhile “Weekly Messages” that I used to write at work. At that time I knew where I was “walking,” even if I might feel a tad aimless right now. So here’s a dose of my own advice that I’m giving myself, and sharing with you.
When Lewis Carroll wrote “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” I think he had some insight into plotting a path, whether in life or at work. Take a look at this conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat:
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
In other words, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there — and “there” just might turn out to be a place where you do not want to be. Plus you might have to do a lot of “walking” to get to that place where you’d really rather not be. People have to take a moment to look at where they are and where they want to be. Or else they run the risk of overlooking opportunities, spinning their wheels, and never having any control over their own destiny.
Some people are blessed in such a way that great opportunities seem to simply come to them. The rest of us have to make our own opportunities, develop skills and experience ourselves, and otherwise get ourselves qualified for the jobs we want. However, we can take a great sense of accomplishment in forging our own destinies. Take the initiative. It’s all up to you. Nobody can do it for you.
The first step to plotting your path is knowing what you want – where you want to go. After that, step outside the box. Step beyond what’s required of you. You might volunteer for something, officially or simply helping your friends. It can give you the chance to do something different, and so create a new skill or interest. Create your own path. Find your own way of benefiting your employer, your community, your friends — and therefore yourself, in whatever way you can.
Keep your eyes open for the opportunities that brings. You might not recognize them right away, because coming from new things, they won’t look the way you expect. So don’t miss out on opportunities.
Now don’t get me wrong – nobody said it’s easy. Establishing your path (or changing it for that matter) is hard work. If you want to make a really big change, or huge progress, you’ll most likely have to make sacrifices. However, isn’t it worth hard work? Isn’t it worth (temporarily) giving up some of the things you like, if it lets you take charge of your destiny? Isn’t it worth it if you can spend your efforts doing things that you enjoy — things that make you smile with a big Cheshire grin?
6 thoughts on “Create Your Own Path”
Wow, serendipity! Didn’t know you had discussed this quote in your blog. I guess whichever path we take, it does lead us to that “somewhere” :-).
Yes Ishita, and great minds think alike! 🙂 And they value Alice in Wonderland!
“If you want to make a really big change, or huge progress, you’ll most likely have to make sacrifices.” Isn’t this the truth? Even small changes require sacrifices.
Yes, most of us have to put effort into achieving what we want – large things and small. Effort is a form of sacrifice. So is giving up something [sometimes someone] that isn’t good for you.
I used to listen to a motivational speaker named Mike Dooley a lot. I still like what he has to say. Once he discussed something similar. Forgive me for paraphrasing, because I couldn’t find a quote… You might have to sacrifice something, but if it *feels like a sacrifice* it’s probably the wrong way to go. If you approach something knowing but WILLING to give up “X” to get it – that’s okay. But if you look at a path and think, “Ugh! I could do that if I have to, but I really don’t want to do it that way.” That’s not the right path.
Mike Dooley, I’m sorry to butcher your words like that, but I think I gave the gist of it.
For background, let me explain how I came to write this post. The organization throughout which these weekly messages were sent has a large percent of people holding low level jobs. Many of them have been in the same job for decades. Among that group of people are many who complain that they can’t get a promotion. However, they are unwilling to do what it takes to get qualified for a higher level job – to make that sacrifice. They think it should be simply given to them, and they don’t mind saying so. So year after year they sit in their unhappiness, but still don’t attempt to change their direction, or create a new path.
In the past I made a huge effort, and sacrifices most people would never make, but the changes that needed to be made in my path were so tremendous that’s what it required. And it’s always a work in progress. I work my butt off trying to improve my life. Yet these days I’m mostly spinning my wheels. But I’m trying. Sure, I could coast. But some of us have the need to do more than just survive. Some of us have the need to thrive. Even though right now I’m stuck and spinning my wheels, I have the need to thrive. So I keep on trying.
Ha! Now that old song from Poco is in my head. Check it out:
Wow, this is very deep and, indeed, inspirational. Great advice for most of us to follow. Bravo, Teagan. I love the dialog between Alice and the Cheshire Cat. So doggone true.
Thanks Mary. I seem to be in a very nostalgic mood today, and I really miss writing those messages. Although, who would have ever thought anybody would have “deep” and “Teagan” in the same thought? Tee-hee! You’re so kind.