In 2001 I left school to start working a job. 

Within three months I’d mastered the basics, knowing I was doing ‘enough’ not to get fired. 

Soon I started to wake up every morning thinking: 

“Is this it?” 

With a fear of not doing anything worthwhile in my life I enrolled in adult education classes, a process followed for years eager to continue development. 

Then I took a leap and went to university. 

Then graduated and ended up in another job. 

“Is this it?” 

My curiosity quest made me realise the need for structure and direction rather than jump from experience to experience with no destination in sight, so I set my first goals, an approach continued to this day. 

I still ask that question 

Image from Pexels

“Is this it?” 

But instead of lying in bed looking for clarity, I say: 

“No, there is much more you need to do…” 

Most people never reach this step, they just settle. 

Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m not in a minority of thinking minds asking, “Is this it?” 

But most people just ignore the question, until it just becomes something lost in the subconscious and life continues: 

They get a job. 

They meet someone, get married, a mortgage, have kids. 

They toil day in day out looking forward to: 

  • The weekend 
  • Annual vacation 
  • Retirement 

And then they die… 

What makes us uniquely human is our ability to dream – we have potential to break our programming, a trait no animal on Earth can do. 

And yet it’s easy to become a creature of habit, trapped in a mind prison of routine, doomed to never change. 

If you can control your mind, you will always be free. 

Secret ambition

You work with people for years never knowing anything about them, they are simply a tool – an end to a means helping you get a task done. 

But ask them this question: 

“What do you want to do with your life?” 

You suddenly realise how much more depth there is in your colleague’s desires: 

“Setup a dog grooming business” 

“Own a bar” 

“Write a book” 

“Move to the coast” 

But when you probe further and ask if they have taken any action? 

……. 

That’s correct, next to none actually have. 

There is always some reason why the person isn’t doing it: 

“Oh, it’s just a silly dream!” 

“What if I fail?” 

“I’m just wanting to get more money in the bank first…” 

Whenever people dare to visualise, they find lots of perceived obstacles to put in the way. 

What happened to your dreams? 

There is something about starting a job that blurs the dreams of what you really want to do, until you forget them, and your vision of success revolves around the career path you happen to have fallen into. 

Rat race is a term thrown around to describe the 9 to 5, but seems quite apt when referring to the promotion trap – a form of tunnel vision unable to see any other ways of measuring success and self-worth except in your job, a continuous hunt for the next piece of cheese. 

Image from Pexels

Esteem gets tied to rank, success and failure becomes whether you got that promotion to your job at the next level. 

But when you get one promotion, it’s amazing how quickly that positive feeling disappears, and you become consumed with the next milestone – the next promotion.  You get that and the pattern repeats itself until you become a victim of the corporate hierarchy. 

And then that thought hidden in the subconscious comes back: 

“Is this it?” 

A small task to take away

Your life is your life – there are more routes to success than you can imagine! 

If working a job made you lose track of your original goals (or never had any to begin with), then ask these simple questions: 

  • What is something I’d like to explore in more detail? 
  • What would I like to change or improve in my life? 

Once you’ve done that, set a goal around it, put measures in place to work on it and finally – execute, execute, execute! 

What is success anyway? 

“How will I know if I’ve been successful?” 

It’s easy to fall into measuring against other people’s parameters of success – money, power, status. 

This will just make you miserable. 

I like this view of success provided by Earl Nightingale 

“Success is really nothing more than the progressive realization of a worthy ideal” 

Simply put, you define what success is… 

The dog lover starts that grooming saloon, the socialite runs a bar, the writer writes and the person who dreams of embracing the sea air, moves to the coast and lives happily ever after. 

Good luck in your journey, wherever that may be. 

Take care of yourself and see you next time.

James @Perfect Manifesto

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(This was originally posted on Tribe Media, check out the original here)



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6 thoughts on “Is This It?

  1. You opened up another avenue to the question ‘Is this it?’, James. Many overlook the ‘avenue’ because we see a question like ‘Is this it?’ as a dead end. I think many of us like routine but are frightened by change. Yet, when change happens, so many more doors are opened, and so many other versions of ‘routine’ come out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I nodded my head all the way through reading this.
    I agree. We shouldn’t define ourselves by our work.
    It’s sad that people stay in ruts because they’re frightened of the potential consequences of change.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks in someways I enjoyed writing this myself to remind me to keep striving.

      If anything the last year taught me how much some people defined themselves by their career, having to work from home they’ve struggled and realised they don’t have much else beyond the job.

      Thanks for commenting Rachel 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Is this it? – I love this question and it speaks to me very clearly. I feel like I have not yet begun and I will be never done. There are so many possibilities and directions available in life. It is easy to be stuck in the usual definitions of normal life and it is amazing if we are willing to pursue beyond it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the spirit! People don’t necessarily have to live an unconventional life, but having something else to strive for is a great way to find fulfilment- even if a person doesn’t know what they want, making it their goal to find it can be a big help!

      Liked by 2 people

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