One of the more common questions kids are asked is:
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
The joy that this question often brings is generated from the limitless imagination that we all possess as kids. Rather than question whether our dreams are realistic or not, we allow our dreams to soar and our fantasies to come alive with excitement.
So what happens when we grow older? Where do all our dreams and fantasies go? In my experience, the older I got the more limited my response to that question became. The main reason for that was every time I thought about my response, I was prompted by parents, teachers, and other figures of authority to think about whether or not the answer I gave was realistic. I was told to not set the bar too high for myself or to create expectations that I could not reach, so that I would not get disappointed if they didn’t come true. It’s that “fail safe,” prepare-for-the-worst-case-scenario belief system that I was taught to believe as truth at a young age. What I didn’t realize at the time was that many years down the road this belief would be one of the foundational paradigms that started me on a path of questioning ALL that I had been taught to be true, and allowed me to take my first steps toward creating a new life path, and travel the road less travelled.
The reason it is called the road less travelled is simply because most of us spend our time living a life that was laid out for us, step by step. Get our high school diploma, go to college/university, get a degree, get a job, make a living to support ourselves, find a partner, have a family, support our family, work hard so we can enjoy life later, kids grow up and move out, retire from our jobs and finally you can ENJOY your life—or what is left of it. Sound familiar? When I was in university I faced a similar predicament: Do I follow the path that I was told I should follow in order to make a good living and live a successful life? Or do I venture off and create a new path—one that felt SO much better to me, filled with passion, adventure, and purpose?
Creating my own path at the time was largely unknown, and I feared taking that first step on my own. I was in my second year of university and I had reached my boiling point. All that I was taught to believe and told to do had created major challenges in my life. I had followed the path that was laid out for me and instead of being happy and successful, I was sick and depressed. I was in desperate need of some inspiration and guidance so I turned to my dad for some help. It was in witnessing the inspired action that he had taken in his own life, to create a new path of self-discovery and positive transformation that inspired me to do the same. With the help of my dad I courageously took that first step and began creating a new life for myself.
One of the first lessons I learned was that life is a journey, not a race. And that every experience should be savoured along the way, not rushed through to get to the proverbial finish line. This allowed me to ease my way step by step into uncharted waters, not knowing where I was going, but trusting that with courage, passion, patience—and most importantly faith—I would end up where I was supposed to be, when I was supposed to get there.
It has now been over seven years since I made the biggest and most important choice of my life: I put aside all that I had been told was right and all that I had been taught to be true, and set out on a path, not only less travelled by others, but rarely by someone my age. Along the way I discovered my own truth and learned how to live a life that felt good to me.
My journey certainly has had its twists and turns, and what a thrilling ride it has been so far. The best part is that since I made that choice seven years ago, my life has been filled with all the adventure, passion, and purpose I signed up for, and all my dreams are becoming my reality!
Take Action Challenge:
Every day for the next twenty-one days, find a place in your life where you choose passion over skill, adventure over comfort, intuition over logic, and faith over fear. As you begin to break free from all the “should do’s” and obligations, your new life path will be revealed, and with it all your heart’s desires will become a reality!
Michael Eisen is an inspirational speaker, author, and the founder of the Youth Wellness Network, an organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering youth across the globe to live happier and more positive lives. After transforming his own life at the age of nineteen, he is now on a lifelong crusade to share with other young people the principles, strategies, and practices that gave him the strength to start living a more joyful and healthy life. Michael’s first book, Empowered YOUth: A Father and Son’s Journey to Conscious Living, co-authored with his father Jeffrey Eisen, will be released fall of 2012 with Hay House.