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I used to look for perfection: the perfect job, the perfect relationship, the perfect life. As it is with the journey of life, I didn't get my perfect job or the perfect relationship. Does that mean my life isn't perfect? Maybe…
I had a career in IT, which gave me the flexibility to exercise my brain while solving problems for businesses. These were problems that were considered too daunting simply because they involved technology. But that wasn't enough for me.
Four years ago I began to question my purpose in life, and as with many people, the journey towards self-discovery started with a weekend seminar. Put simply, the experience was mind blowing.
I've always had a thirst for knowledge, and in social circles friends are often amazed at the amount of information snippets I can offer on all manner of topics. This, however, was different. I wanted to know more about myself. Sound selfish? Well, yes, it is selfish! It was the one topic I knew very little about.
It was considered selfish because of how my traditional education had structured my beliefs. This was frowned upon, since I thought my focus should always be on helping others. This new kind of thinking was unacceptable!
But if we examine in closer detail why we should learn selfishly about ourselves, there are many benefits. Here are three:
1. We can examine our deeply personal values without judgement.
2. Based on our values, we have opportunity to set inspiring goals.
3. With inspiring goals we get the chance to fulfil them.
Excellent! We must be on the way towards a perfect life!
Not quite... Let's consider the idea of "perfection." If something were ever "perfect," that would mean nothing ever needs changing because the object or result has reached its pinnacle and there's nowhere left to go.
With no change, there's no variety. With no variety we'd be bored! We'd be doing the same thing over and over again, getting the same result every time.
"Variety is the spice of life," as the adage goes. As human beings, we require growth to progress in life.
So would we want to have "perfect?"
I personally wouldn't. Instead, I propose we look toward consistency. Consistency gives me regular moments of success, and feedback for the moments that weren't quite right. When I challenge myself to learn or perform anything, my results are anything but consistent. As I persevere with my actions, I'm rewarded with success consistently. I may not succeed every time, but I'm successful most of the time.
The beauty comes when I'm not consistent, though. Life gives me a great opportunity to learn and grow in those moments. Through those experiences, two things can happen: either I refine what I do to ensure I succeed, or I have an option to evaluate and change the direction because my previous actions no longer serve my needs. Both allow me to grow as an individual — all because I was selfish.
Had I not been selfish, I wouldn't have been honest with what I'm truly passionate about. Without being passionate about what I do, I would have been unable to serve the world around me to my fullest potential.
Consider this: if you didn't exist in the world today, how many important people in your life would have missed out on the beauty you bring to them?
So my challenge to you is to suspend your meaning for the word "selfish" and examine what the truly important things in your life are. More importantly, examine why they're important to you. Act on those things that inspire you and work toward being consistent. The inconsistencies are your opportunities to evaluate whether to improve or to reposition why you do what you do.
Be selfish, be consistently inspired by doing what you love and live a happy life!