Last Saturday, I was driving around town when Red Hot Chili Pepper’s song “Can’t Stop” resurfaced from the dusty storage of songs that generally lay dormant in the depths of my ipod. I couldn’t help but hang on the last line which goes, “This life is more than just a read through”.
BAAAMMM! I thought. Isn’t that the truth? This life you’re living right now isn’t just the dress rehearsal for some grander version of your life that’s going to play out perfectly (even though sometimes I desperately wish that it was). It’s the real thing. There are no do-overs. No mulligans. No replay buttons. This is it.
So…if this is the only chance you’ve got to make your life exactly what you want it to be, why do so many of us tend to stall, delay, procrastinate, and hang our happiness and dreams at the door with a vague notion that we’ll one day find the perfect opportunity to revisit them and pick up where we left off along the path of life?
In my opinion, if you believe that you are meant to work for yourself to express your gifts and talents in the unique way that only you know how, then it’s time to hop to it. Don’t get me wrong—it’s okay to work a job in the meantime…maybe for a few years while you get your business set up. But it’s not okay to get stuck in that job for year after year while your dreams pass you by.
When I interviewed Trevor Page, founder of How to Program with Java, last week, he talked about the feeling of unhappiness versus uncertainty. He said that most people would prefer to be unhappy instead of being uncertain. This is why so many people are stuck in a job, a marriage, or a situation that makes them miserable—because they are more comfortable with their current unhappiness than the uncertainty of leaving the job, getting a divorce or making major changes in their life.
This is the time that people get caught in the “if only” trap. “If only ___, then I would be happy.” “If only____, then I could quit my job.” “If only ____, then I can fianlly live my life.” Every “if” leads to more stalling, delays and procrastination.
If you’re currently having these feelings of unhappiness and suffering from the “if only” syndrome, it’s only because it’s time to take your life to the next level. (If you were meant to stay where you are, you wouldn’t feel this way.) Instead of letting unhappiness or discontent freeze your life in place, use it as a driving force to move your life forward, grow, and push through the debilitating fears of uncertainty.
The truth is, if you’re waiting for that perfect moment to quit your job—the moment when all the planets align, the clouds part, your bank account is flourishing and all your relationships are harmonious—it’s likely that you are just merely stalling because of your fear of uncertainty. There is no perfect moment. There is no feeling of security that can accompany your along your journey when you step off the path into the wild. That’s just life. But it’s time to grab your life by the horns and take control. You only get one shot at this life, right? Are you in or are you out?