I got an email the other day from a gentleman in his early 40s. He’d been working for the same firm fitting double glazing since leaving college at 18. While at college he studied an introductory course in architecture, which was something he really enjoyed. During his 20s he took several part-time courses which included business studies, business growth and development and bookkeeping.
Here’s part of his first email to me:
“I don’t think I’m miserable but I know I’m missing something. I have a good job to go to every day, I get to spend time with my family and we can afford the things we need. I guess I’m living well but something is missing. I have no idea what it is.”
Over the past few days we have exchanged a number of emails and spoken on Skype. It was quite clear he had a pretty good life. He didn’t want for anything, he had a reasonable job earning fairly good money. Family life was good, they had their yearly holidays together and so on. So what was missing?
He would casually mention the courses he’d taken and the architecture qualification he got at college. I started receiving numerous emails with picture attachments of buildings and suchlike. These were the things that made him come alive. Whenever I asked him to talk about the buildings or the business studies course his face would light up and it was pretty hard to stop him talking. He started window fitting thinking it would someday lead into building and architecture, but he did what many people do and get stuck into that rut, otherwise known as conformity. He was comfortable, so he did what was expected of him. The money was good, the bills were paid, family life was great and there was nothing health-wise to worry about.
Of course, you and I can see what was wrong. He was in the wrong job. He wanted his own business to do with architecture, or at very least something more involved than fitting windows.
Here’s the problem.
When things are going okay, making any change becomes a massive gamble. You have more to fear because you have more to lose. We hear all the time about people who lose everything, declare bankruptcy, lose the house or their partner… but then we also hear about how they bounce back stronger and better than they ever were before.
Don’t get me wrong, it is not easy to come back after a serious blow, but there is a massive gift given to you when you are knocked on your butt. The gift is that choice is taken away, and fear of loss becomes irrelevant. You have no choice but to fight back and take chances, and the inevitable happens: you gain character and learn along the way until you get to the stage where you are better than you were before.
I’m serious when I say “there is a gift in everything, you just have to find it.”
As far as my window fitter friend who wants more out of life, he faces that difficult choice – to take a chance, take the leap of faith, and gamble everything he has… or to stay how he is. Is it any wonder so many people go to work every day hoping for a lottery win, big promotion or for fate to roll the dice in their favour?
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