By: D. A. Slinkard
What do you want to accomplish in 10 years? What do you want to accomplish in 5 years? What do you want to accomplish in the next year? What do you want to accomplish in the next 3 months? I start this article with these questions because many of us have an idea of what we want to accomplish yet go about life thinking in terms of 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years. Too often we think about what we want to do tomorrow but fail to live our lives for today.
I think about the phrase, “Coulda, shoulda, woulda,” and how many of us will look back on our lives and say, “I wish I could have…I wish I should have…or I wish I would have with my life?” We need to stop thinking about the 1 year, 5 years, 10 years and start thinking about the 3-month time frame. Even though the older I get the faster time seems to fly by, thinking in terms of years gives us a temporary break from having to act fast on our goals.
When we think of 1 year we silently say to ourselves that we have 364 more days to go after the goal. What happens is we adopt a non-urgent mentality and the 364 days dwindles down to being yet another year passing us by with no monumental change in our life. We begin to reflect upon our lives and think in terms of failures or how our lives are incomplete versus seeing our lives for what they can be. When we see ourselves in the negative light of being a failure or feeling incomplete, we begin to make excuses.
It is much easier to make an excuse than to actually take the necessary actions to generate the desired outcome of any situation. I believe this mentality is what separates the “haves” from the “have- nots” in society. How many hateful words are spoken about someone who finds success compared to the words of sympathy for those who failed because they did not take the necessary action? It amazes me how much compassion we show people who fail to achieve versus those who actually do. Think about the participation trophies, we demean the true winner by trying to include all, and this has created the “snowflake” mentality.
Life is short, and the Bible tells us that our life is but a vapor that appears for a short time and then vanishes away. We must listen to the Good Book and then go do something about it. Open up the obituaries in the newspaper and realize that could be any of us in there. We cannot take our time on Earth for granted and we must act with a sense of urgency, with a sense that today may be our last because it just might be.
This is why we must think in shorter time frames of accomplishing our hopes, our dreams, and our goals. We can lull ourselves to sleep thinking we have all this time available us until suddenly we become but a memory to someone else. So, now is the time to think about what is important to you and just go do it. Pick up the phone and call that family member who you haven’t spoken to in years. Make the decision now to go to the local university and pursue that college degree you have always wanted. Decide now to start that business you always knew would give your life meaning.
Any successful person will tell you it all started by them taking that first step. The old Chinese proverb states, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” No one will ever have all of the answers of life, but the best lessons learned are those we learn along the way. How many times did we think our parents were ignorant and did not know anything when they tried teaching us life lessons? How wrong we were?
When you step out on your journey to living the life you have always wanted, you will have problems along the way. Rich people have problems in their life just like poor people; and those who do not are buried in the cemeteries. We never know when our time will come to an end, but we must be prepared to act today – not 1 year from now, not 5, not 10. We can be anything, do anything, but we must take that first step.
By: D. A. Slinkard
D.A. Slinkard is the manager of the Athens Staples store