When people look at their life, some think; “I wish I would have done___” or “I wish I could have been___.” The older we get, the more we may regret our decisions, or lack thereof. We have a tendency to look at other peoples’ lives and wish we had their lives instead of our own. We look at the actress and say; “I wish I was as rich and famous as her.” Or we listen to a band and think; “I wish I sounded like that and had millions of adoring fans.” But stop and think about that for a second. When you watch a movie and see the actors perform, watch all the extras. Is that really what you want to do with your time? Do you want to get up at 4am to get into a hair and makeup session that lasts 6 hours, then go to work where you have to do cuts over and over until they are right? Do you want the letters from people who tell you how much you suck, while other letters beg you for money? Do you want charities to beg you for money and have people judge you because you don’t donate enough, or visit enough children’s hospitals, or whatever? Do you want to spend months away from your family and friends because you are filming in another country? If you answered yes, then stop what you are doing and become an actor/actress.
The point is this; instead of wishing to be rich or famous, think of what you really want. Think of where you would have to be in your life in order for you to label yourself as a success. Is it becoming the manager of the store you currently work at? Is it heading up a company that does game design? Wishing to be rich is nice and all, but how will you get there? And just what is your definition of rich? If you go to work everyday and do nothing but wish for another life, you aren’t being true to yourself or those that depend on you. You need to stop and think of what truly makes you happy. Think of the skills you are good at, or would like to become good at. If you want to own a bakery because everyone says your cookies are the best; lookup baking classes or business classes. Research sales in your area and the competition for bakeries in your area. Do you want to be debt free? Figure out how much you owe and come up with a plan to pay it off (a plan that doesn’t cause you to suffer in the meantime).
You will never be able to congratulate yourself, or feel fulfilled, if you don’t know where that line lies. Every week, the ABA therapist comes to the house and watches the therapist that works with Little Man everyday. She analyzes the progress he has made (using the notes the other therapist has made) and designs new goals when he has accomplished ones on the list. He has a set of goals to complete within a certain amount of time, and we work diligently to make sure that he meets them. Life should be the same way for everyone. Sit down and write out a list of giant goals, ones that are NOT obtainable immediately. Then come up with medium goals that will help you to accomplish those giant goals. Finally, make out a list of little goals that are obtainable know, so that you can reach the medium goals, and therefore; the giant goals.
Success lies in knowing what you want. Not in knowing what everyone else has and how they got it. If you want nothing more than to stay at home and care for your child that has Autism, then do it. That is a worthy goal and you should feel accomplished in doing it. If you want to write a book, consider signing up for classes online that you can take during your time off, go to book club meetings, meet authors and ask them questions. Make a journal where you write out your ideas as they come to you and avenues that you find to help you accomplish your goals. Most people want to be “well off” so that they don’t have to worry about bills anymore. But everyone has different debts, bills they pay monthly, and what they feel is “well off.” You have to figure out what your definition of “well off” is. You have to find out what makes YOU happy. This in itself can be the hardest part.
If you don’t know what makes you happy, you really need to start there. Lists are a wonderful way to figure out what makes you happy. Once you figure that part out, you can figure out what you feel would make you a success (that also entails the happiness factor). It’s like putting together a puzzle. If you don’t know what the end picture is; it’s incredibly difficult to figure out what piece goes where.
The title of my blog is “How I Learned to be Autistic,” because I learn something new everyday from my Autistic son. Everyday I learn patience, or understanding, or find brilliant moments of clarity. Today, it is the most obvious and yet most over looked aspect of life, something I think most of us are doing. And that is; coveting other peoples’ success when we ourselves have not figured out what our own success should look like. I don’t know the first thing about accounting, and frankly, I wouldn’t be happy doing it. So why would I be jealous of a well to do accountant on his yacht? I shouldn’t be, and neither should you.
Define what success means to you, then figure out the steps you need to take in order to make it happen. There is always a way, you just have to find it.