People, places and things

Have you ever felt as if your life was in some kind of rut? Like the path your life has taken has no real course, much less destination.

For those who are about my age, plus or minus 15 years, the rut can be long and deep. Many buy into the lie that people are pretty much set in their ways by age 30. I know so many people who have made some serious life changes in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. Changes for the better.

Sadly, I know many who never change. They complain about the way things are. They complain about the life they’ve led. They complain about the difficulties they had to endure in their early years. While all those things may be valid to a degree, they amount to nothing more than excuses if they never take the steps to overcome the obstacles in their path.

I think of the protesters around the country who are upset at what they perceive as corporate greed. I am not going to get into that debate right now.  But I will say that a lot of time and energy is being spent by so many people who are unhappy, but I haven’t heard from a single one of them who has applied that same passion toward their own professional development. I’m not saying none of them have tried. But it has become trendy to hate the “Haves” while joining forces with the “Have Nots” to storm the gates..

There comes a time when we must quit complaining about where we are and do something about it. I have written before about the fact that the Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal”. However, it’s also true that we are not all created equally. We all have different abilities and measures of talent. Upon those God-given traits, we add what we’ve done to develop those strengths, as well what we’ve done to overcome our weaknesses.

The leading influence of what we do from here is our environment. In other words, who and what surrounds us in our lives and what is their influence? Do they support your dreams? Do they encourage you to seek new challenges? Do they have attributes you admire? Do they motivate you to make the most of your potential? Have they overcome adversity to achieve their goals?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then it may be time to consider some change in your environment. I call it being around people who “raise my game”. It’s your “people, places and things”. People can motivate us, and they can completely quench your dreams. Places can lead to opportunities, and they can be dead ends. Things can be tools toward personal development, and they can be distractions that can lead to unhealthy obsessions.

Where we end up is going to be a matter of personal responsibility. Anyone who has achieved anything has done so by overcoming failure, doubt, overwhelming odds and disadvantages, by strength of will. By determination.

It starts with a single step. And if who you spend your time with, where you are and what you’re doing isn’t working…it’s time for change.

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