I remember when I was around 17 or 18 years old, I was so upset because I wanted my life to be about something and feared more than anything that it wouldn't be about anything. I knew that I had potential and that I wanted to use all of it, and it felt like I was flapping my wings against the bars of a cage, trying desperately to get out so that I stood a chance of creating the life I wanted.
So when I recently stumbled upon this quotation, it hit me like a spade in the face. "This is the true joy in life - being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap, being a force of Nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. " -George Bernard Shaw That was my fear exactly - turning into a ‘feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances’. There's a part of me that still fears that, but I'm much better placed to put the fear to one side and carry on with what I know I want to do - coach people to success and coach people so they feel - in the words of one of my clients - like they're in the heart of their lives.
The world will not devote itself to making you happy. That's up to you. And as I've written before (see Hootlessness and Walking in the Rain ) your happiness isn't even dependent on getting what you want or winning your game.
What brings happiness to you is doing something that matters to you and not making that happiness dependent on how things turn out. I'm going to disagree with the good Mr Bernard Shaw a little bit here - I don't think that you need to constantly be “used for a purpose recognised by yourself as a mighty one", although I'm certainly not going to discourage you from that. A common mistake people make is to think that their purpose has to be something ‘mighty', something big or grand or life- changing, when the truth is that it can often be smaller or gentler than that - and still mean just as much. So, my advice is to be “used for a purpose recognised by yourself as something that matters. " To me, being a Force of Nature is using your nature to do something that matters to you - and engaging with every moment of it. Here's what I want you to do -
- Imagine you're seventy and looking around the house for your teeth. If you have great teeth, then you're probably looking for you car keys. You've lived your life as a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances and have complained all along that the world hasn't made you happy. a. What didn't you do?
b. What mistakes did you make?
c. What do you regret?
- Imagine once more that you're seventy and looking around the house for your teeth, only this time you've lived your life as a Force of Nature and have been used by purposes recognised by yourself as things that matter. a. What did you do?
b. What mistakes did you make?
c. What did you learn?
- What jumps out at you from those two scenarios? In your life right now, wherever you are, what can you learn from your answers?
- What can you do differently? What change in attitude or intention can you make? What will you change about how you go about your life?
I love the idea of being thoroughly worn out before you're thrown on the scrap heap, and it's only when you let go of those ‘ailments and grievances' and embrace your nature that you're able to figure out what matters. Being a Force of Nature isn't as tricky as it sounds - it simply means that you busy yourself with the things that matter to you and busy yourself with the business of being you. Become a force for your nature, and do things that matter to you. That's where it all happens.
About Steve Errey
Steve Errey is one of the UK's most popular coaches and specialises in helping thirty somethings find Effortless Confidence. “I love to coach the heck out of my clients and always do my darndest to help them win, ” says Steve. If you want to win at what matters to you get in touch with Steve on 0845 644 3001, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at http://www.steveerrey.com