Posted on | December 16, 2011 | 4 Comments
Point: A few thoughts on life
This is my one hundredth post.
So I’m going to go a little crazy and celebrate. And the way I am going to celebrate is to have a few big thoughts. Crazy, eh! Perhaps I should get a life.
In academia we spend so much time looking at details – for good reason; I have nothing against details; well, not much anyway – that we can forget to let our minds float. To let them rise up and look down on what we are doing. To put our life and study and work into perspective.
So here goes.
Big Thought Number 1
My first big thought is that we very rarely find what we are looking for.
Okay, if you lose a pen or your purse you may find it if you look for it. But think about this: If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, were you looking for him or her – exactly that person – when you found him or her? If you did have an image of your future lover, I bet it wasn’t of your current boyfriend or girlfriend.
If you say you were looking for love and you found it, I will say, “Is the love you have now exactly how you imagined it would be?” Can you say, honestly, that it is? Or is it even better?
What about happiness? Do you find happiness by looking for it? Or do you find it by forgetting about it and then realising that it had arrived while you were doing something else? Something that occupied all your attention, such as playing or watching sport, or reading a novel, or helping someone, or doing your work or study to the best of your abilities.
This is not uncommon. Many of the big discoveries that changed our lives forever were never meant to be big discoveries. They were small ones meant to solve small problems (pasteurisation; post-it notes; stainless steel). Or they were accidental discoveries made while the searcher was looking for something else (penicillin; the microwave oven; America).
Big Thought Number 2
Here’s my next big thought. The future you can imagine for yourself is so much less interesting than the future that you will actually have.
The future you can imagine is based on what you know. It’s a version of your past. But the future you will have is based on what you don’t know. And, believe me, there is a heck of a lot you don’t know! Especially about the future.
Big Thought Number 3
So my third and last big thought – at least for today – is that while you have to plan for the future and look for what you can imagine, keep your eyes open for opportunities that you could never imagine, and be prepared to change your plans to grasp those opportunities.
Is life a journey? No, not really. A journey has a plan and a destination. You may think you know your life plan and destination but because of Big Ideas Numbers 1 & 2 above, your thinking is almost certainly wrong.
No, life is an exploration. If you stay awake you will discover new things every day. Be prepared! Expect to be surprised. Stay nimble. Expect to change your plans. Learn to know the difference between small distractions and real opportunities.
So, I hope my floating mind made a little sense today.
If it didn’t, then all I basically want to say is …
I really wish you all the best with your studies, your future, and your life!
And don’t forget to enjoy the exploration!