Most of us are very good followers. We do as we are told. We become accustomed doing as we are told. This habit forms early in life. Our parents, for our own good, make us do things we don’t want to do: wake up early for school, eat broccoli, do homework, house chores, etc. Doing what we are told is conditioned into us from the very beginning.
But then we become adults. Physiologically, this metamorphosis begins at about the age of fourteen and continues until about age eighteen. Some parents who recognize this transformation, slowly begin handing over decision-making for our lives to us. They encourage us to take individual responsibility. They let us make mistakes and experience some of life’s harsh realities and stand ready to offer advice and direction when things go wrong.
Unfortunately, parents like this are in the minority. Most continue to exert control over the lives of their children well into their twenties, preventing them from becoming independent thinkers and doers. They are sometimes referred to as helicopter parents. We pursue goals and dreams of our parents and not our own goals and dreams. We put our ladder on our parents’ wall and climb that ladder our entire lives. At some point, we realize we are unhappy doing what we are doing and become despondent or depressed about the work we do. This unhappiness usually begins to manifest in our mid to late thirties, when we have children of our own. We get stuck between a rock and a hard place because we believe we must continue to climb our ladder up our parents’ wall in order to provide for our family.
How do you break free? How can you take your ladder off that wall and move it? You need to take action on your goals and dreams. Devote small blocks of time every day in the pursuit of your own individual goals and dreams, either early in the morning, late at night or on the weekends. It is possible to climb your own wall if you devote the little amount of time you have every day, day in and day out. In the beginning it takes discipline. But once you get going your passion will take over and energize you. Eventually, this investment will get you higher up your ladder and closer to the top of your wall. You will begin to feel happy and enthusiastic as you climb your own wall.
Don’t wallow in self pity because you do not like what you do for a living. Take action. Put your ladder on your wall and start climbing it every day. Take action today.