By Joseph Rutakangwa
Eight years ago I began a quest to find answers to some of the most difficult questions in life. In the middle of this hunt, I wanted to get more facts to help me understand why so many people never reach their dreams in life.
I visited a number of schools and asked students where they saw themselves in 20 years. And their responses were:
“I’ll be a doctor,” “a pilot,” “an engineer,” “a professor,” and so forth – for primary school kids.
“I’ll have a Nobel prize in medicine,” “build the largest conglomerate in the world,” “author fundamental principles of dark matter,” and so on – for secondary school kids.
“Maybe I’ll be working somewhere,” “try and get a decent job,” “I don’t know,” – for graduates.
This is sad. The older we grow the more challenges we face and they force us to believe that what we aspire was but fantasy. I agree that life is not black and white. And life doesn’t have 256 colours – there are so many shades in between. But how do you navigate through all these shades without getting lost?
Use these 9 questions as a compass to direct you towards the life of your dreams:
1. Are you living or existing?
Let’s get this out of the way first. There’s a fine line between these two words. Living is the pursuit of a lifestyle of the specified type. On the other hand, existing is simply having objective reality. Which one do you fit into?
2. What’s one thing you plan to achieve before you die?
We often talk about our dreams and achieving certain goals in life. But when asked about one thing in particular that would make us feel accomplished in life, we freeze or end up mentioning ten things. Not knowing exactly what you’re looking for in life is like sailing in deep seas without a compass. You could end up on Treasure Island, but is it what you were looking for? You don’t want to be on your death bed regretting that you didn’t try out for the Olympics. So, what’s yours?
3. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
When I was in high school, I set a goal to attend one of the best universities in the world on a full scholarship. That was close to unachievable. But I didn’t see attending the 1187th university in the world on a loan as an option. I would graduate, remain unemployed for about three years, and feel like a loser for not reaching my goal. Long story short, I got what I wanted. If not achieving that goal is losing, what else is there to lose if you haven’t achieved it yet?
4. Is it out of reach or have you not stretched yourself far enough?
This is where we decide to either let go or never give up on something. The answer to this question also helps us to re-position ourselves in order to increase the likelihood of reaching our goals. Therefore, it’s important that you’re certain of your answer here.
5. If today was your last day, what would you do?
Whatever your answer is, that’s what you should start doing from now on. If you procrastinate, then how short should your life be for you to start doing that thing?
6. How are you your own enemy?
You are. Now that we’ve taken that off your chest, think of how? To live the life of your dreams, you have to make some changes on your thoughts, beliefs, habits, mindset, attitude, perceptions, et cetera. Together, these things form who you are today. If you’re not yet who you want to become, you need to make some changes.
7. What mistakes do you keep repeating?
We all repeat some mistakes. They could be how you spend your money and time, how you choose your friends, or how you prioritize things. Sometimes these mistakes are embedded deep in our personalities that we can’t notice them. You don’t have enough capital to start that business? Write down what you do on a daily basis, or how you spend your money and note some common mistakes. Don’t repeat those mistakes. I previously wrote a piece on how to get out of this rat race.
8. What’s worse than death?
I’d say living the life that you know you were not meant to live is worse than death itself. To make it even worse is when you live to 90 and know that you haven’t accomplished a fraction of your life goals. Thinking that you died at 20 when you gave up on your dreams. Knowing that you have passed like a shadow. Honestly, I can’t think of anything worse. What do you think is worse than death?
9. Why do you matter?
Yes, why do you matter?
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