Most people I have met spend more time planning their summer vacation, than they spend planning their life. Instead of living by design, many people end up living by default. Their lives become nothing more than reacting to what is thrown at them, instead of creating a plan and setting the direction of their life. You must understand that what is in your past is not your destiny. It is what is in front of you, the direction you are moving in, and your potential that really matter.
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go. – Dr. Seuss
Our family loves road trips. In fact, a few summers ago we traveled over 4,000 miles and drove through five different states. It was a blast, even with the kids constantly asking, “Are we there yet?” It was totally worth it.
However, on one particular day of our travels, I didn’t pay attention to the signs as we pulled into a small little town in Idaho and, as a result, we ended up going 150 miles in the wrong direction. Of course this was a little frustrating when I finally discovered my mistake, but it reminded me of a valuable lesson: If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to PAY ATTENTION! The journey called life demands your attention.
There are two groups of people I have come across in this world: those who are reactive and those who are proactive. People who are REACTIVE just live their lives responding to the circumstances that life brings their way. The majority of people who are reactive just exist! They never seem to accomplish much because they spend the majority of their time and energy reacting to circumstances instead of trying to do something about what happens before things go crazy.
But then you have those people who are PROACTIVE! They seem to always be ahead of the curve; they shape the future instead of the future shaping them. These people are adaptive and visionary. The proactive group seems to see what is coming before it ever shows up. Not much surprises them because they spend the majority of their lives crafting the right direction for their lives to take.
Wayne Gretzky, one of the greatest hockey players of all time, once said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” This is how you should approach your life as well.
“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
A great example of someone in our lifetime that has been proactive is Steve Jobs. If you haven’t read the biography of Jobs written by Walter Isaacson, you owe it to yourself to get it. People like Jobs and Bill Gates and others seem to have the ability to forecast the future and start turning long before the curve in the road.
I challenge you to quit living life defensively and start living life on the offense. Go after what you want! Set the trajectory of your life in the direction that you feel you should go and just go for it! Eventually, you are going to get there and when you do – it will be worth it!
Oh, by the way – if you haven’t read the Dr. Seuss book I quoted from at the beginning of this section on direction, go buy it right now. It is called, “Oh The Places You Go.” I promise that you will enjoy it.