Do you recognise either of the following types of person?

  • The people who have managed to make money (seemingly effortlessly) doing something they LOVE to do? And they seem happy in ALL areas of their life? (probably the minority)
  • People who are ‘successful’ by what society deems to be successful but are unhappy, maybe even depressed and unfulfilled?

Most people probably know some people that fit into the latter category. The people that fit into the former category are almost ‘urban myth’, the ones that got lucky.

But what if luck has nothing to do with it?

In order to become the person we dream of being (which sometimes means living the life that society tells us is impossible), we need to redefine our self-concept. The real question is not ‘what do I need to do next?. It is ‘How do I grow consciously into whom I desire to be? We should intentionally and consciously choose who we should be.

To transform our lives, we transform our self-concept. We already have a mental image of who we are and what we can achieve. Based on our personal and cultural situation, experiences, beliefs and values. It is no accident that children often turn out like their parents; or exactly the opposite, if they have rebelled against them.

People who have achieved ‘the impossible’

Let’s take the Hollywood industry. Becoming one of the top Hollywood actors, most would perceive as an impossible dream that happens to the lucky few. But are those that make it any more talented than the legions of people that don’t?

Let’s examine that:

Jim Carrey – “In 1985, a broke and depressed Carrey drove his old beat-up Toyota up the Hollywood hills. There, sitting overlooking Los Angeles, he daydreamed of success. To make himself feel better, Carrey wrote himself a check for $10 million for “acting services rendered,” post-dated it 10 years and kept it in his wallet.” In 1994, he was paid $10m for Dumb and Dumber

Will Smith – “In my mind, I’ve always been an A-list Hollywood superstar. Y’all just didn’t know yet.”

Delusional? Maybe. If they hadn’t achieved their goal.

Many would call them lucky.

So, the fact is if people make it in one of the most competitive industries in the world, why can’t you also achieve your dreams?

So, what do you have to become?

You need to rebel and launch a revolution against your own self-concept.

If you are a lawyer, and you see yourself only as a lawyer, that does not mean that you could not change your self-concept to something else. If you tried. If you committed to peeling back the layers of onion to get to the core of who you are at the center of it all. It won’t be comfortable, it won’t be easy. But then, probably nothing you’ve ever done was easy to achieve.

People often say when they’re changing career, ‘I don’t have the skills and experience to do that’, ‘my skills aren’t transferrable’, ‘I’ve only ever been a lawyer, doctor, etc. That is the self-concept you have constructed to keep yourself safe.

We are all masters at keeping ourselves trapped within prisons of our own making.

That is your paradigm but paradigms can shift. To give a very simple example – you believe that all bicycle seats are triangular. That’s just the way it is. Anything else is impossible, ludicrous. Then, one day, someone starts talking about square seats. Rubbish, you think. At first. One day, you feel compelled to give it a go. Then, your view shifts. In other words, your paradigm has shifted.

What if your next career move was not something that you felt was ‘within your capabilities’, but something that you really really wanted?

The Illusion of Security

About a year or two after I left my corporate job, I went back to see some of my colleagues whom I worked with.

Nothing had seemingly changed.

On the way out, I got talking to our head receptionist. She said to me, ‘security is just an illusion. There is no such thing as a safe job’.

She’s right.

Regular cycles of global depression should have told us that. Not to mention, leaps and bounds in technology over the last decade means that many jobs could eventually become obsolete. If that’s the case, perhaps, the biggest risk anyone can take is getting complacent, stopping learning and believing in the fallacy of security.

So, if security is just another delusion, what do you really have to lose by letting go? The only choice is whether you react to change enforced upon you or create your own reality.

“Change is inevitable, but transformation is by conscious choice”   – Heather Ash Amara