The Practice of Life
Yes, my colleagues and I are in the financial service business. However, in all reality, we are in the life business. We listen to our clients’ deepest darkest dreams and concerns. We get to listen to their trials and tribulations, and life goals. In doing so people’s guard comes down and they humbly share not only their life successes but also their life failures. In a way this process is integral to what we do as the first step to achieving all your goals and understanding them, is to truly have a pulse of what it took to get you to this moment, the here and now.
This is all context for my concept “The Practice of Life.” You see we sometimes beat ourselves up about our failures or missteps. We see others seemingly achieve things we feel we should have, and thus have a tinge of envy or regret. In other instances, we feel inept in our personal development. Maybe we tell ourselves we should be thinner, more successful, have more money, be better parents, work harder, be more mindful, and the list goes on (oh and I’ve certainly been guilty of all of these).
I’m not here to tell you that you shouldn’t be improving these things, rather they all lie on a spectrum. You see I analogize “life” to other professions. When you think about attorneys or doctors, for instance, none of them tell you after 40 years in the business they’ve mastered it.
Rather, what every single one of them will tell you, regardless of success or skills, is that they are in the practice of law or medicine. You see there are certain things, or perhaps most things, in life that can’t be mastered, just improved upon. The shame of it all is this same principle holds true when it comes to life itself, and many of us fail to recognize we are all working on our craft of living.
There’s No Master of Life
Now, I think the first thing to help our morale is to simply understand that no one can truly master life, even my childhood hero Heman who was the master of the universe. It is a simple but hard concept to grasp, especially in today’s “connected” universe. With the immersion of social media, we all have a feeling of ineptitude. There is always someone traveling more than you, eating at fancier restaurants, attending more of their kids’ sporting events, out with friends more often, achieving more work accolades, driving fancier cars, having bigger homes, and on the surface mastering life more than you.
My first comment to that is all those people are clients of mine/ours. I’ve seen every single one of them come into my office and bear their souls. I have yet to hear one of them claim they’ve mastered this thing called life. As a matter of fact, you’d be surprised how low they, and most of us, rate ourselves in perfecting life.
Perfecting life is like trying to go at the speed of light. Hard as we try, and the faster we go, the harder and more impossible it is to achieve (thanks to the spacetime continuum and the fact that mass gets bigger the faster you go). Much like speed, life has the same effect as the better we do in any element the more we want to improve.
Principle 1: Every one of us sees our own failures and infinite ways to improve regardless of how the outside world views us.
The second comment I’d like to make, now knowing principle number 1, is the failure or lack of success you are looking for is not a crime. The only crime is giving up on the practice of life. One cannot be upset if they haven’t achieved everything they thought they should by now. Especially, when you look at all the areas of life we are trying to improve upon.
However, we can and should be upset if we aren’t working on them in some shape or form. That isn’t to say all things need all attention, but if you prioritize areas of your life you’d like to be better at, well you know the old saying, practice makes perfect (unless of course, you are Allen Iverson).
Principle 2: Practice doesn’t make perfect, but practice should ease the mind and soul that you are putting effort into bettering yourself in the areas you deem important.
The Practice of Life
Next time you think about your life, or someone asks you about it let them know you are still practicing. As if you are practicing you are putting efforts into improving yourself and those around you. Oh, and remember much like law and medicine, you will never perfect it so take solace in knowing you are doing the best you can (I hope).
I hope you found this thought-provoking and as always stay wealthy, healthy, and happy.