We so very often live our lives in fear of making mistakes, making wrong decision. We seem to have embedded within ourselves this perception that every single choice we make has to be the absolutely correct one. Perhaps it is the nature of the society we live in, dictated to by achievement exams, seemingly final career choices and societal expectations.
I pondered this a lot as I went through and built a huge counting grid to help my daughter grasp the concepts of numbers greater than a hundred (100) and how they carried on to one thousand (1000) and so on. It was a really interesting and bizarrely enlightening experience.
As we count from one (1) to ten (10), we add on ten to every number of the series, hence eleven (11) and twelve (12) and so on.
And after we finish that, we add twenty (two-zero, 20) to the same repeating list of numbers. (The more numerical among you might argue, this is simply because we use the base ten form of numbers – still the same would be true regardless of the base number).
It becomes really interesting when we start to consider that every experience or choice could be, or may be equated to one set of numbers (say, 1 to 10 or even 1 to 100). And then the choice actually starts again, and the pattern repeats but this time with an additional pre-fix number.
And when we think of our choices and starting over, it really isn’t that different to counting.
Make a choice – count one to ten, if it’s a good choice continue counting, perhaps even to one hundred.
At some point, it may be that the choice is no longer valid or correct.
Choosing to start again, often seems like so much effort, but if we are able to think that perhaps, just maybe, it will be like counting, then starting over, doesn’t mean that you start at zero. Starting over, really means that we start over counting from when we last left off, in this case from 100. And we go on to 101, 102, 103 …
The point of it all is that, no choice or no experience is ever in-valid or a waste. Much like counting, it all adds up and will continue to add up.
Take for example, Mr J, who has spent his youth focussed on the runnings and financings of businesses and corporations. Trained as an accountant, Mr J, does his work well and earns a decent, sizeable income. He has been progressively counting his way from one onwards to one thousand, perhaps even more.
And then one day, he wakes up and decides that he has had enough of accounting (to be fair, this realisation does not happen over night but slowly builds up). He no longer wants to have to balance another budget, or look at another ledger for the rest of his life, and yet there is a fear that grips him. Afraid of what the future might hold if he decides to start again, even though he knows that he has been and will always be passionately drawn to painting landscapes.
The thing is, Mr J forgets that his counting from one to one thousand (in his accounting choice) has already served him well and even if he restarts or chooses again, he will now not need to start at zero, even though it may seem that way.
His prior experience, networks and connections will have already given him a head-start in a variety of different ways. Possibly not immediately obvious, but all the same, he will really be counting from one thousand onwards.
I guess in my round-about sort of way, I came to realise that choosing again, no matter how frowned upon and how often defined as a waste of the previous choice, is simply another option to move forward, to try again.
It will always take a great deal of courage and trust to set forth on a new path. And if it’s the one that makes you feel most excited and most exuberant about tomorrow – then it definitely is a choice that must be made.
Remember though, it’s not about giving up. It really is all about answering your inner-most joy.
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Take care and be happy.
Are you or have you been at cross-roads in your life? What choices did you make and is there anything that you would have done differently?