As I reflect back on my past decade and a half, I’m amazed that I have made some significant changes to my life — some which caused me a lot of pain, and some which have worked out quite well.
When I was in high school, one thing that had been programmed into me was that in order to have a good life, I needed to have a good education, which in turn, would help me get a good job.
I enrolled into an engineering course at a university, not really knowing why I wanted to do it, apart from the belief that it would lead to a secure career and financial security. The fact that I hated almost everything about my engineering course should have been a strong clue that I was not doing the right thing.
However, at that time, I did not know any better. I did not have enough life experience, nor did I have the right mentors around me who could offer different perspectives.
The Cost Of Staying On The Wrong Path
When I had started working, it was painfully obvious that I was not happy and I felt trapped. I did not know where to start in order to feel good about myself and what I was doing. At that time, the internet was still in its infancy and was nothing like it is today so being able to go online to do reattach was not in my awareness.
There is always a price to pay and a cost for making wrong choices in life. For me, these included:
- Not being myself.
- Masking how I was feeling and what was really going on for me.
- Taking out my frustrations on others, especially at work.
- Keeping myself isolated because I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence.
- Becoming more and more unhappy.
The Wake-up Call
I consider myself very fortunate to have been gently pushed in a different direction. My wake-up call came as a result of health-related issues, which affected my personal and professional life. While at that time, it caused me a lot of pain, it certainly was not a life-threatening situation.
Some people get their wake-up calls in much more dramatic circumstances like a serious illness, a car accident, or even the loss of a loved one. I had enough common sense at that time to know that I could not continue living the way I was living.
The New Journey Begins
A friend recommended I check out a training program and after meeting with the teacher/facilitator, I enrolled in his eight-month program. That was the start of learning new things about myself and what was important to me in life. There were past events which needed to be addressed and old wounds needed to be healed.
The journey of learning about who I was and what I am meant to do in this lifetime continued for the next few years. I practiced letting go of things that were no longer important to me and started surrounding myself with people who were more aligned with me and where I wanted to go in life.
It even reached the point where I made the decision to leave the career I had invested so much of my life in and started building a new career from scratch. That brought about all new challenges and forced me to learn new things. One of the foundations was to have a much higher level of confidence to live life the way I want.
Choosing to live life the way we want is challenging. Those who are willing to accept that there will be hurdles and failures along the way, but are also willing to persist, often will create the lifestyle they want.
Here are five things to be aware of, which will help us develop the confidence to live life the way we want. Some of these ideas are simple and may appear to be “common sense” but the question we should always ask ourselves is, “Am I practicing these ideas fully?”
- Be totally honest with yourself. We have to ask ourselves, “Am I truly living my life or am I living someone else’s life?” Oftentimes, those who had a significant influence early in our lives, like parents, grandparents, godparents, or close relatives and friends, affected the choices we made in life. We must ask ourselves whether the life we are living is what we truly want or whether we have settled for something because we don’t believe we have any other options.
- Be clear what is driving you. It is not uncommon for people to be driven by success just to prove something either to themselves or someone else. Interestingly, most times, these behaviours are unconscious and can continue for years. We have to be clear whether we are creating the life we want or we are doing something because we don’t know any better or because we’ve invested so much into something and it is too painful to make changes.
- Be okay to admit you are not on the right path. Awareness is often the first step when we want to make any lasting changes. This is why is it valuable to seek mentors and ask for guidance and help. We can leverage the experience and knowledge of others, and also learn from their mistakes. Knowing that someone else has survived what we are going through can give us a lot of confidence.
- Be willing to make mistakes. While we can learn from the mistakes of others, we will make many mistakes ourselves. We shouldn’t tiptoe through life just so we can get to death safely. That is a stupid game to play. Mistakes are often our best teachers and we will develop a lot of confidence to deal with similar experiences in the future.
- Be committed to your growth. Confidence is developed through repetition, by becoming competent, and successfully surviving risks. Knowing where we want to go is vitally important because that will help us decide what skills or knowledge we must acquire. We’ll also need to know how to find information that will help get to where we want to be.
Confidence is the foundation of everything we do in life. If we don’t have a high level of confidence, we won’t challenge ourselves to take new risks or try new things. If we have a healthy level of confidence, we will be more likely to create the lifestyle we want. One thing we should always remember is that life is happening for us, not to us. We are always being guided to live the life we are meant to live.
Question: What is another thing we can do to develop the confidence to live life the way we want?
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