The road to nowhere?

Rosanna Machado | November 11, 2021

Have you ever said to yourself, I’ll be fine once I get through this busy week, once I meet the perfect partner, once I get my dream job, once I move house? I know I’m guilty of it and I suspect I am not the only one who sometimes feels anchored to a destination or the dream of nirvana. I have come to realise that this kind of thinking is flawed for a number of reasons:

  • It puts the blame for our happiness or success on someone or something else and as a result we feel less ownership
  • It assumes that when we move to that place, nothing else will have changed in our life which is hardly ever the case!
  • It often assumes a rose-tinted version of that event, without a healthy dose of reality
  • It doesn’t account for the fact that we may change, and we need to be self-aware to adapt our destination as we grow

As a result, we don’t enjoy the journey as we are too fixated on the destination.

Instead, I like to think of life as an open water swim. We are heading in a certain direction, in line with our values and purpose but often we face challenging conditions along the way that sweep us in slightly different directions. If we focus and get in flow, the journey can be energising and can lead to greater self-awareness which may well in turn change our course.

So rather than focussing on one specific moment and assuming that is the answer to all your problems, it may be helpful to gain greater self-awareness of the here and now

  • Be present in the moment to experience life fully
  • Be aware of what you can control and influence and let go of things out of your control
  • Get a perspective on your current situation. There is a big difference between a job that is at odds with your values versus a job that is in line with your values where the workload is currently overwhelming
  • Drill down into your thoughts and feelings and understand what’s going on for you. If work is stressful, try to understand what is causing it and what tiny tweaks you can make to build your resilience
  • Make time for what is important to you. When life is tough, we can neglect looking after ourselves when we need it the most
  • Develop the art of improvisation – life constantly throws weird and wonderful things at us and the more we can move in flow with this, the more we can find opportunities to learn and grow and those unexpected moments of joy

I don’t think we are on a road to nowhere – it’s more a winding and bumpy road where we may well take a few different turns and that is ok as long as it is moving us towards living a fulfilled life.