If Youth Only Knew and Age Only Could…1

If I knew then what I know now…
How many times have you heard or thought that?

I found myself recently dispensing quite a bit of advice to a number of youths either about to graduate or recently graduated from both high school and college.  I couldn’t help but think after one particular conversation, that had I been given even a portion of what I’ve been sharing; how much less stressful my life would have been.  Because I found myself saying the same things over and over in slightly different ways, I decided to post  here.

Keep your eye on the target.

Do you remember the video game Paperboy?  This kid is on a bike trying to toss papers to his customers with a constant flurry of obstructions appearing.  A dog runs in his path, a car backs out of a driveway, etc.  The objective, if he wants to be successful, is to continue delivering papers while maneuvering around these obstacles.

It’s amazing the number of obstacles that will appear while we are making our way to our own objectives.  A dear friend of mine would continue (and still does) to remind me that the importance is to keep my eyes and my energy focused on the goal; what he called the end of the hallway.  Equally as important was ignoring the numerous obstacles that tried to prevent my progression down that hallway toward those goals.  Or rather, acknowledge them but do not let them keep me from achieving my objective.

It really helped me remember what it was all about.  It might take me a little longer and maybe I had to detour along the way but if I kept myself focused on the end result I would likely reach it more quickly with a lot less stress.

Be flexible.

This is some of the best advice I could give someone just starting out; and perhaps someone further along in their career.  Life is what happens on the way to your best laid plans.

Numerous were the times a course I had set ended up derailed by a variety of circumstances known as life.  If I had understood that this was normal and not indicative of failure, I might have felt better about it; less like a failure myself.

We may have one thing in mind for ourselves; life may have another.  If we remain flexible and not rigid, our sails will fare better when buffeted by the strong winds of life.