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Where Do We Go From Here?

September 29, 2010

Great song by Filter. It also happens to be the question I’m asking myself more and more since entering the Third Stage. Like I mentioned in the Intro post, I feel more challenged now than ever before. And these challenges are bigger than ever before.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but a natural progression from reading personal finance-centric material has led me to reading self-help/self-improvement materials. Once I was able to sort out that piece (an important piece at that) of my life, I wanted to focus on how that integrates with my whole self.

I subscribe to a few blogs (see below) as well as reading a book or listening to a book-on-CD every couple months. I recently finished Po Bronson’s excellent book What Should I Do With My Life? and took about 3 pages of notes on it. I’m currently reading Chris Guillebeau’s new book Art of Non-Conformity. I was lucky enough to get it for free through a giveaway on his website. I’ve read Chris’ blog for probably a year now and he always has something important to say.

Maybe some of this soul-searching has to do with the fact that I’m in my mid-30s and after living through a consumption-driven economic boom and the resulting bust, I’m left thinking…”that can’t be all there is”. It took me awhile to realize “stuff” isn’t going to make me happy. It truly is the people and experiences in your life that make it great.

Confession: I used to be deathly afraid of talking to new people, especially girls. It turns out, I really like connecting one-on-one with people and am actually decent at carrying on a conversation. I thank my wonderful wife for opening me up to this. In my job, it is rare that I get to do this, but lately I’ve had the chance to have a couple really important conversations with clients that needed me and it felt terrific. (I still hate talking on the phone, and in large groups.)

After challenging ourselves to pay off debt and save enough for a down payment and emergency fund, we’re in search of a new challenge. The confidence we’ve achieved through that process has led me to this point – wanting, no, demanding more from myself. I am no longer content to float through my life depending on others to challenge me or playing it safe. I will actively seek out and challenge myself, confronting my fears and using them as motivation. When I get right down to it, the worst thing that can happen is that we’ll lose some “stuff”. And I’ve already deemed “stuff” as a non-starter when it comes to happiness.

On fear, Dale Carnegie said:

Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it… that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.

I’ve lived a pretty safe life – good student, went to college, got a regular job, got married, bought a house, had 2 beautiful kids. I tend to stay away from things that scare me, and because of that I feel a little stuck. It is a good life, but I feel like something is missing, I feel like with a little more work I could make it great. I want to do something that will survive me, my legacy project. It will scare me and challenge me, but that is exactly what I want.

I have a good idea, I’ll be writing more about it soon.

Do you have any good blogs or books on personal development you’d like to recommend? How did those materials help you?

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From → Challenges, General

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