About doors, buses, stolen cheese and purpose.
Doors and buses
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” –Alexander Graham Bell
Today I read this great quote again and it made me think: How many times you’ve felt the sadness of a closed door and then pray for a sign, a new chance, and it finally happens but you pass in front of the “just opened door” while asking when will you have the chance to find it. Have you ever been so blind, stubborn or fearful as to not see the door which just has opened?
Sometimes the problem is that every door is different from the others, so we will never see the new opened door if we are still thinking about the closed one. We won’t recognize it.
Probably most of us have experienced this, maybe a project that never started, a business that never took place, a crush on a person whom we never had the courage to say hello to, there’s plenty of examples but most of them mean the same, a “missed opportunity”.
We’ve always heard that a missed opportunity will never come back, yes, that’s sad but true. But there’s another truth about opportunities and it’s that they are like buses. If you miss one there’s always a next one coming, Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Group) said it about Business Opportunities, but I think the same happens with any opportunity in your life, you only have to be patient. However, you must not only be patient but also be aware because although another one is coming, you can’t pass your life seeing busses passing by.
Although you should never regret what you have done, I wish I had taken the SAP bus before. I prefer thinking it wasn’t too late. The last few years have been rewarding and I’ve been able to ensure the wellbeing of my family. I think the delay was because when you are very young you think you’ve found the one and only door, and spend more time in a single place than you should have had to. Some other times, although you feel it’s the right move, the fear stops you and freezes you and you are not able to move any muscle until it’s too late to react. Now I believe that when you are young you have to be responsible but mainly you have to be fearless.
However, nowadays the world is ever changing and rules are shifting so much that sometimes the problem isn’t not seeing the door but seeing so many of them that you are not able to identify which path you should take. That becomes even worst with all the noise created by the almost daily birth and death of technologies and tools and paradigms and stuff. You feel the fear of letting the right bus pass, but what about the other 30 buses that are coming together? Which of them is the right one? Which one will take you to the right place? Maybe that market strategy of creating more and more products that almost compete with each other, or the almost yearly product rebaptism (changing of products names) is actually creating more confusion than opportunities.
When you are in your 20s almost any bus can lead you to a good place, and you are still in time to change your mind and take another one and move on in another direction, but what happens when you are on your 40s or above?
SAP Mentor Jon Reed says “If you are not moving ahead you are falling behind”, I completely agree, the point is that probably now you can’t afford moving to anywhere, however not moving might be even riskier. That remind me a book about stolen cheese that I read years ago. I personally don’t like it (I consider it over rated but you can find it in any bookstore if you want to read it), but there’s a single message covered in the entire book which is, you can’t wait until the last moment to take decisions because probably in that moment it will be too late and there won’t be anything to decide.
How can we overpass those barriers and do the move, the jump of faith? Where can we look for the courage and bravery we had years ago?
Maybe we need to find what Kevin Robinson suggests in his best seller: “Finding Your Element”. Rediscover our essence, our talent, our passion. Not just what we are good at to. That’s just a skill, I mean the element, that thing that long ago made our bodies and souls move, which used to give us as much pleasure and joy as that first date.
Just because you’ve been doing something good for 20 years it doesn’t mean that’s the only thing that you can do, and can’t be enough reason to keep doing the same thing for another 20 years. Of course, we all need to pay bills, sometimes the element is not profitable, not enough or not at all. In such cases leaving job and life behind just for the pursuit of the element might not be a sensible idea. But we need to find balance. Life is more than working for paying bills, is about having a real life purpose without jeopardizing our normal existence.
How to start?
I added this section as a question because actually I still don’t have an answer. Moreover, I guess probably we can find hundreds of valid answers. Have you found yours? Would you like to share it with us?
Please share your thoughts and comments.