In everyday life people have many different choices to make. Often we allow our choices to become habitual and this can sometimes restrict the real diversity of possibilities for our experience of life. Not that some habitual choices aren’t important: brush my teeth, eat 3 meals a day, take a shower… but even this can become one part of a rut for us when we might start to feel unhappy about where we are or even who we are.
History has plenty of examples of famous people whose path to success was eccentric and did not fit in with the general standards. Albert Einstein was a student who was totally dissatisfied with his school situation, and was encouraged by one of his teachers to actually quit. In today’s society this might seem like a really bad idea, but clearly the teacher saw that Einstein was talented and driven enough that the best soil for him to grow in was that of challenge and self-determination. Of course things didn’t necessarily just work out immediately, on attempting to apply to a university Einstein failed his entrance exam, but did not give up.
Failure for many is experienced as a detriment to their journey towards their goals. Instead of hearing statements like ‘strive for where you’re weak, make time for your untalented parts, recognize your mistakes with joy!’ We rather see others being congratulated on their 100% score and others told to do better. There is a definite climate of validation that much of our lives are focused under, often making it hard to choose the things we yearn for and don’t always have a clear plan or safety net to show everyone else. How many people saw young Einstein’s decisions as mistakes, as failures, and how long were they viewed under such light until he was vindicated by the rewards gained from following his own unique path.
We’re told of lawyers and doctors who later admit that they wanted to be restauranteurs or broadcasters, or musicians. Or we hear of those dissatisfied business people who later in life are rethinking everything, questioning everything, regretting that they hadn’t at least attempted to try the things in their youth they had always dreamed of becoming or pursuing. Even more importantly, there are the stories of carpenters or machinists, or someone in a humble vocation who enriched the lives of everyone around them, innovated their workplace, or even re-wrote the manual on how-to for their job. We can change the world and people’s lives whether we are a janitor or a doctor, though of course, we don’t hear this narrative told often enough.
That path to excellence is very personal, and for each one of us, if we follow it, we will most likely receive lots of criticism and doubt from those who have not followed their own unique path. The most important encouragement in the face of this is, Don’t Give Up! But that doesn’t mean it will work out exactly as we imagine it might. For people who have or even had a desire to go in unexpected directions to understand themselves, there is always a market for you, because you will provide a new perception of reality, just like Einstein, from seeking out the journey that only you can create.
Author: Jonathan M. Bessette
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