by Leon Ho, Founder & CEO of Lifehack
Ever heard the saying ‘Change is the only constant’?
Everyone without a doubt goes through changes in their lives whether it be a physical state of literal aging, or a mental state of emotional maturity, or regression in some cases. They all nonetheless signify change, yet some of us seem to embrace it better than others.
I have to admit that when it comes to change, I’m not the most accepting. Don’t get me wrong. I love a challenge and am not one to sit still and stay stagnant. Yet, the soothing feeling of being in my ‘comfort zone’ is also one that makes embracing change a lot harder, especially when the change I’m about to make is not easy, and perhaps even something that I dislike.
Fear of uncertainty kicks in and I start wondering if it’s too much sacrifice that I have to make. Perhaps I’m better off staying put where I’m at. Sound familiar?
Have you ever been in a situation where you know that things just aren’t working out? Whether it’s in your personal relationships or career development, you’re feeling somewhat stuck and unhappy with the way things are.
You need that change, yet you’re afraid to make the conscious decision to move because perhaps you’re not even sure of what it is that you need to change! Or you’re afraid it’s too late to have a fresh start, to begin again.
You might have been with the same company for the last 5 years, in the same position, doing the same thing and it’s not that you dislike your work. But, the thought of doing the same thing for the next 5 or 10 years scares you. You want to do more or perhaps even something completely different altogether.
Or you could already be late into adulthood, where you’ve established a good career path and you’ve got a lot going on, such as a family to care for. You’re financially stable and could potentially be working towards your next promotion. But, somehow you’re not quite satisfied with what you’ve achieved.
There’s just something missing. And yet it feels like it’s too late to leave all that stability behind to embark on a completely new journey of discovery.
Why is that so many of us find ourselves limiting our windows of opportunity and potential because we think it’s too late to start afresh–or that we’re too old to start something? How to start over life?
I have a friend by the name of Jack. At age 37, he’s a Senior Manager at one of the Big Four and has been working in Audit for over 15 years. He’s got a great salary, owns his own apartment and enjoys the finer things in life, but not without the heavy demands that his job brings.
On the surface it would look like he’s got life figured out. His next steps would be a promotion to becoming Director, or settling down with someone.
Yet, when I asked him a simple question a few months back, I was not at all surprised to hear his response. I asked if he was happy with his work, as he had been complaining earlier about some work related issues. He hesitated before answering that he sometimes wished he could quit his job to do something less stressful. But he’s become accustomed to this lifestyle and feels that it would be too late to give it up to pursue a new career or ambition. The stakes are too high. So he might as well just suck it up.
The external struggles that Jack faces are financial stability, social influences from his peers, the lavish lifestyle he leads and status or recognition that he gets from continuing with this job.
Internally, Jack faces the risk of losing what he’s built over the years. Being an auditor also makes him a lot more cautious when making important decisions and it just doesn’t seem logical to give up this job for the pursuit of an alternative that would give more ‘meaning’ to his life.
How do you even quantify meaning? It just doesn’t seem like a smart move to make.
And this may be due to having a low internal locus of control, whereby you feel that external forces have greater control over your life than your own actions. You might feel that there are other much younger, more qualified individuals out there who will do better than you, so better not take the risk of starting something new. Or, maybe you don’t feel like you have the energy or time to start anything new at this stage in life.
You might have come across a similar scenario as Jack’s, or you might be a Jack. You’re now facing a wall. Whether it’s the stresses and demands of your job, the lack of satisfaction you get from your work, or the stagnant feeling of not being able to climb up the ladder of success, you have to decide if you want to tear down that wall or continue to let it enclose you.
It’s Not Too Late!
Well the good news is, that as our society continues to develop at such a rapid pace, it also means we have more opportunities to do things that were previously thought impossible if you were of a certain age, or past a certain phase in life. These days, more individuals are pushing the boundaries and breaking stereotypes.
I’m not just talking about age. Sure, age is only a state of mind–a social construct that should not determine or limit your capabilities and ambitions. But there’s more. It goes beyond external factors like time and age. It’s about you, and your ability to accept challenges and having the determination to break free from your existing situation.
Perhaps why you feel like it’s too late to start over is simply because you’re comparing yourself with others. You’re comparing yourself with younger or more successful individuals when you should really only be comparing yourself to the older version of you.
Going back to Jack’s case, I offered him a solution to his dilemma. It wasn’t a dramatic solution, yet it was something that allowed him to go through total transformation in his life without having to risk time, effort or pain. It wasn’t asking him to quit his job or take a plunge. I simply introduced 7 Cornerstone Skills that would allow him to be in full control of his actions and life again, increasing his internal locus of control to make the necessary changes in his life that would break down that wall he was facing.
The Solution: The 7 Cornerstone Skills
These 7 Cornerstone Skills weren’t exactly new to him. He just didn’t know how to make the right connections between each skill, or he hadn’t dived deep enough in them to discover his full potential.
After going through the Cornerstone Skills, Jack realized there were many new dimensions to seeing and doing things! Something as simple as Learning how to learn,became an important skill that he was now able to use.
Jack also never saw himself as being a creative person, especially in the industry that he’s working in, you would think that’s of least importance. However he soon discovered that there’s so much more to creativity than simply being a ‘natural’ talent. He was now able to harness his creativity to break down the wall that he was facing.
No longer staying stagnant or going backwards, Jack is now able to use creativity to move forward and suddenly, has options outside of his current job that could contribute to his current lifestyle.
Everything in your life–whether it’s your career, relationships or even health–is driven by 7 Cornerstone Skills. These are 7 qualities that, if you have them, can make you excel at anything in life. These 7 Cornerstone Skills are what’s going to help you get out of your rut no matter what your age.
Over 30% of adults experience a crisis like this. Don’t fall in this category. Don’t become that person who let’s life pass them by only to regret it when you’re retired or way into old age. Don’t let your life plateau and waste away in the daily grind for the next twenty years. Don’t give up on the potential you still have hidden and locked away by your current state.
Become ten times more effective at 40+ than you could ever be at 20. Start pursuing the things you wanted to do your whole life, without giving up on your current roles and responsibilities. Rewind your outlook and bring your energy and motivation back to when life was still full of dreams and possibilities. But this time, actually start to achieve them.