Quarter Life Crisis

19 01 2011

As the typically social media network freak, I was checking my twitter and scanning everyone’s update and I came across a friend that tweeted, “I need a motivational pep talk”. We had a little conversation via twitter and explained she wanted to be motivated to be able reach her goals. She felt like she was going through a mid-life crisis. I chuckled as I read it. She was a young girl and she was already worried about not reaching her dreams. But reality suddenly sink in for me as soon as my chuckles started.

I’m at my quarter life crisis. Today makes one year since I graduated from college in a degree in finance. What do I have to show? I am a personal banker for a local bank, a position where a degree isn’t necessary. Did I really waste 4 years of my life to reach here? Did I really worked my butt off studying, researching, writing papers and losing precious time of sleep, family and friends gathers to be in a job I’m not happy to be in?

My friend’s fears become mines.  Could I reach my dreams? Was I even capable to reach them? Twenty-five years old is still young in some people’s eyes but I feel I could have accomplished much more. I started reflecting my major in college, thinking I should have gone to something more stable like marketing, nursing, communication or accounting. But it is, what it is. I reflect too much on the past, many of us do. We have our shoulda-coulda-wouldas but it does nothing. Just because we are not where we want to be, doesn’t mean you can’t get there. So I started reflecting what steps we can do so we reach our personal goals in life or our careers.

This is what we must do to reach our goals:

  1. Define what we want/need
  2. Determine what you don’t need and want then eliminate your distractions
  3. Action. Creating a system that works for you
  4. Evaluate your actions and recalibrate your action

If I give you a bow and arrow and told you to hit something, what would you do? I know what I would do, I would line the arrow with the bow and pick a target that I can hit. It’s the same with little kids with a brand new Nerf gun. They will load up their guns and start shooting whatever is in their sights. We do that in life too. We hit targets that are in front of us, thinking this is the objective in becoming successful. Most of our lives we are told what to aim in life. Look at Filipino families, parents put so much pressure on their child on becoming nurses that people change their dreams to fulfill someone else. We end up living by standards of the public eye rather than our own. Teachers say we have to do this, so we do. Our boss says we have to meet their goals, so we do. Our friends say to do something stupid, so we do. Funny how we meet all the targets given to us from other people but we still feel like we miss the bigger target, our own goals. Defining what we want and/or need is important because it calibrates our actions towards reaching our own goals and not others. Let me give you another example using guns again. I remember watching show where two teams compete in varies obstacles, hitting targets using different weapons. Guess who is the winner and most skilled? The one who is closer to the target! Know what you are aiming so you can measure how close you are reaching your target.  You determine your success and happiness in life by what you aim for in life. Live by your standards and no others.

The next step is to prioritize you goals, putting your action and time into what you want to accomplish. If your goal is to be famous food critic, what do expect someone to do? Well, first they might start off a food blog, maybe on WordPress.com or Blogger.com, so they have place to write about the different food they have tried. Their time will be dedicated on eating at different places, writing about and sharing their experience. This person won’t waste their time going to movies, buying fancy clothes or reading books about bio-engineering. Time will be set aside for this person to write on their blog, to eat out.  Money will be set aside for them to eat at different places. Also they will use their time to research different restaurants and how foods are prepared, to educate themselves more on the food they eat. Their time, energy and actions were all steps that lead them closer to their target. If we must do the same in reaching our goal. Focus what must be done.

Reaching your goals should be as clear as possible. We should also put things aside that will hold you back. There will still be obstacles you will face but because you know what your target is, it will be easier for you to avoid these obstacles. Eliminate what is holding you back from reaching your goals. Put down your Play Station or 360 Xbox and get your butt moving. Stop wasting time that won’t offer the joy of reaching your goals and becoming the person you want to be.  Once you understand what you don’t need and want, it becomes easier to avoid. Your mind will trigger an alarm that will notify you that you are off tract, that your actions are distracting you in reaching your dream. Listen to that voice, it’s directing you to a better place.

Put your plan into action. This is where most resolutions after the New Year fail. They get excited about the planning process but they don’t use the same excitement in their action because they don’t create a system that works. One of the biggest systems that never works but everyone tells you do it is BUDGETING. This never works. Its too tedious and no one has time. It frustrates the individual and before you know it you give up and start going back to your old spending habits. Personal Budgeting is a difficult system that doesn’t work so I recommend you going to the website iwillteachyoutoberich.com to learn how to automate your finances.

We need to stop complaining and start doing something. To get something we never had, we must do something we have never done. Let me give you example. Let’s say you want to lose weight (Like the millions of people who made that into their resolution) but you continue the same routine. You eat the same and exercise when you have time, do you think we get the results you want. Of course not! To get the results we want, we must do something that goes against what we are use to and do something different. In my example, to lose weight we might have to change what we eat, from eating a sandwich everyday and eating out less. It might mean waking up at 5am in the morning and to go to the gym to make you get your workout in. It’s about creating a system or habit (which takes about 28 days) for you to start a new rhythm, a new pattern in your life. Let’s look at it in a business sense shall we. Your “return on investment” also known as ROI, is the return from whatever investment you do for yourself. You do nothing, you get nothing which is always a bad investment. If you invest in your actions, you have a higher possibility of getting the return you want which means a better return.

After taking actions we need to evaluate our actions. I heard a saying that goes, “Experience isn’t the greatest teacher, its evaluated experience that makes a great teacher.” We need to examine our actions or our changes if it is directing to where we aim to be, if not we need to change our actions so it does. We can’t expect to do the same thing and get the result we want. Insanity is defined as doing the same thing expecting a different result. Like the example of losing weight, if you notice eating Subway isn’t working then you need to take a different approach in losing weight. Don’t set your mind saying if I keep eating Subway I will lose weight, but get no results for the past 6 months, then you just plain stupid. If its not working, do something else that will.

Don’t worry about making mistakes, just worry if you don’t do nothing. Failure and mistakes are necessary for you to grow. If you not making mistakes you are not learning. A prime example would be the invention of the light bulb. Thomas Edison failed over a thousand times in making a light bulb. He had every reason to quit but he said, “I just found a new way that wont work” which brought him one step closer to finding that one that will. What an outlook on life and his actions. He moved forward, he took actions and evaluated what worked and what didn’t. We must do the same when reaching for our own goals.

This is just a general theory of reaching your dreams. There are other factors and steps but I wanted to look at the bigger picture and generalize the steps to make it as simple as possible. This four step process has allowed me to take more steps in reaching my goal and avoiding distractions.  It has mainly helped with my finances and structuring a system that would optimize my wealth in the long-run. Hope this helps out!

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