Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So You Want to Know the Road to Your Success

“Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; turn your foot from evil.”   Proverbs 4:25~27

Last Friday, I filed a leave from work for a day to support my children during their school’s foundation day celebration. It was tough decision because the deadlines of my work deliverables were closing down on me like burning arrows falling from the sky.  

Everyday we arrive at a crossroad and we have to decide which way to go. At work, I usually run into crossroads like should I attend this meeting or do something else, should I work on the contract manufacturer’s concern first or do design stuffs instead, and on and on. At home, I run into crossroads like these: should I take my wife to a date or should we just stay at home to save money, should I assist my children with their school work or do my personal stuffs instead, and the list goes on.

I am pretty sure that you have your long list too.

The thing is, oftentimes we are so used to our everyday crossroads that we tend to become complacent and act in autopilot – we think less and react more. This is usually when mistakes and errors of judgment are made. The good news is, every time we make a wrong turn, God provides us with a small path back to our main path, though we still have to face the consequences of our misjudgment. But if again we choose the wrong path then we get farther and farther away, and the road back to our main path gets narrower and narrower.  

So where’s your main path?

The main path is where your dreams lie. It is who you want to become, and where you want to be down the road.

I believe the reason why many people are not getting anywhere in relation to their dream is because everyday they make small choices away from their main path. Still others don’t get anywhere because they have no dreams at all. They have nowhere to go.

Let’s take the case of Christopher Gardner. He and his son were abandoned by his wife. Not only that, he was broke. Since he couldn’t pay the rent, he got evicted. So he and his son slept in a public toilet and in the streets most of the time. However, he had a dream; a ticket out of their misery – he wanted to become a stockbroker. One day, he was offered an internship at Dean Witter for six months, but without pay and without assurance of getting hired. At that particular moment, Mr. Gardner was on a crossroad. He could accept the offer or go somewhere else. Why wait for six months when you have a toddler to take care of? But Mr. Gardner thought that his dream was worth it, so accepted the offer and worked his heart out. Had he not, he would have taken a detour. Now He is a CEO of his own stockbrokerage, Garner Rich and Co. And his life was portrayed in the movie, In Pursuit of Happyness.

Let’s examine the case of Carlito (not his real name). Carlito finished computer science. Immediately after graduation, a company offered him a job as a bill collector. Carlito was on a crossroad. Should he accept the offer which means instant job or should he patiently seek a career in software programming. At that time, he wasn’t really sure what he wanted in life, and he was more concerned with the unemployment statistic, so he accepted the job offer. Years later, when a career in software programming became a lucrative career, Carlito wished he chose the other path. Now he is trying to find a way back to where he wants to be. My belief is, if he can emulate the examples of Christopher Gardner, he should. Mr. Gardner showed us that if you really and badly want something on a consistent basis and go for it with your guts out then you shall have it. It won’t be easy though.

So how to stay on your main path?

To get to where you want to be, you have to make small ‘right’ choices every moment. You have to choose the right path no matter how narrow or small it is every waking second.

According to Tony Robbins, we make three basic decisions every moment of our life that shapes our destiny: (1) What do you gonna focus on? (2) As you are focusing on, what does it mean? (3) What am I gonna do?

In practical application, it means that before you choose your path, pause. Focus on who you want to become or where you want to be down the road before you decide to do something or say something. Ask yourself, “If I do this, will it take me down to where I want to be?” Then choose to interpret the events as they unfold in your life in a way that will help you grow in strength and confidence, not put you down. And finally, act. Move towards your goal, not away from it. Don’t allow difficulties and fears to paralyze you. Do this religiously and you’re on your way.

However, there are deeper questions that need to be answered by each of us: “Is my main path the right path? Is my dream the right dream? Am I pursuing my dream the right way?”

God gives us free will, the freedom to choose our destiny – a wonderful privilege yet dangerous when misuse. So in life you have basically two main paths before you – God’s way, and the other way. A blessed life happens when your way aligns with God’s way. Otherwise, you may have abundance and pleasure, yet your life is empty. You find no satisfying meaning or purpose at all.

So now we get to the main crossroad in the road of life. Should we follow God’s way or should be go the other way?

In the other way, being strong and courageous is enough to get anywhere. But in God’s way, it’s not. You need to be righteous as well, knowing what is right before the eyes of God and doing it. In short, you have to have faith in God and in His goodness.

Now it’s time to choose. But before you do, pause for a moment. See the crossroad before you – God's way, and the other way. Feel the wind that blows against your face. Then ask yourself, “Is my ultimate goal the life now or the life after? Am I to live for my body alone or for my soul as well? Do I want to spend eternity with my Creator or with the enemy?” Now put your palm above your eyes and look far, far ahead down each road. I tell you, each way will lead you to two distinctly opposite places and makes you into two distinctly opposite being. Now close your eyes and listen to that faint voice inside your heart. What does it say? 

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