I’ve been hearing a strange sentence lately.
“I wish I could (insert minor accomplishment or life decision here).”
What’s my response?
“Then do it.”
That’s it? It’s that simple?
Yes. Look, as George Carlin once said, “life is not that complicated.” Sure, it has its intricacies, bitter moments, and dark sides. But, in the tradition of stoic philosophers, all of these things can be flipped upside down to be viewed as opportunities. And besides, sitting on the sidelines, wishing things were different doesn’t make anything better.
So how about some practical advice? These are things I hear all the time:
“I wish I could speak Spanish (or any other language).” Do it. Here’s a website to help you. In addition, we live in an age of unlimited information. If you have an Internet connection and a dream, you can find the information and the people to help you learn it. You can Skype with native speakers. Vaminos.
“I wish I had a job like that.” Get it. Or if it doesn’t exist or isn’t available, create it. Again, we live in an age of information, where with the press of a few keys, you can find out how to do anything and promote to the world that you can do it. You wish you had that job? Find out the skills necessary, companies that are hiring, good networks and communities, and get to work. Here are some good steps to follow.
“I wish I lived in Madison (or insert any random city that people think will improve their lives).” So move. It’s rough at first, especially if you’ve never relocated. I will admit that. But most things worth doing are the things that inspire fear. That fear is what Steven Pressfield calls “Resistance,” and you need to beat resistance to be happy.
“I wish I had a girl (or guy) like that.” See “job wish” above. Go for it. It’s all practice; nothing in life is certain. If you’re not going for the gold, you’re mumbling on the sidelines and picking up the scraps of the people brave enough to risk it.
“I wish I traveled more.” Hit the road. I know-money is an issue. But it is not insurmountable. You have the resources to make, save, or steal (joking) the money necessary for travel. Plus, it’s often not as expensive as you think. So come up with a plan and a budget of what you’ll need for your dream trip, and if need be, cut out the daily lattes or cigarettes. Here’s a wonderful article on traveling advice.
There are a million other wishes I hear from all kinds of people. Life is comprised of wishes, and wishes are important. They spawn from dreams that we wish to have granted to us. But the problem is that no one grants us wishes but ourselves. And it’s not easy to branch out and capture your dreams. Sometimes it comes from a Fight Club Moment.
I just watched The Truman Show. Trapped in a daily routine of another’s man’s creation, Truman is leaked hints of his false existence until he finally snaps. He lashes out and wishes and stumbles until he learns to play the game and leave like a champion. And it was hard. He has to weather a near fatal storm to bust out of his monotony, but I’m sure the risk made that kiss on his way out all the more worth it.
All the self-help you need is yourself. Think about it. Just do it.