In my 58th year of life I have come to the conclusion that there are six core areas every human should aspire to. They are imagination, the ability to read, the ability to write your thoughts down, the ability to do basic mathematics, to be inquisitive about everything and above all else DREAM!
Imagination is one of the most valuable tools you will ever possess. Without imagination you will not feel the warmth of the desert sun or the cold of an Arctic chill, or any depth of emotion in the content of a good book. A fertile imagination will also allow you to find solutions to problems that sometimes can’t be seen with your eyes. Imagination is the most incredible tool in the pursuit of your ambitions.
There are many types of reader and not all find it easy, but the more you read the easier it gets and the broader your depth of comprehension. Many young people now seem to think reading is a chore and give the skill little time to develop. I believe that by reading fiction from a broad spectrum of authors will lead to at least one or two becoming a favourite and inspiring the reader to consume more of their content. For me it’s Clive Cussler in fiction and I have every one of his books but I also read many other fictional offerings. Sometimes a title does not reveal the jewel of the content so never judge a book by its cover! Reading biographies of your heroes or those that lead your field of expertise can also be a great source of inspirational development.
An ability to write your thoughts down is also a basic requirement. I will let you into a secret, the reason I write using a computer is because my handwriting is an illegible scrawl that even I have trouble re-reading and my punctuation is also questionable. Years ago when I was at school I would have been considered nearly illiterate. Today there are many tools to help you, from spell checkers to voice to text recorders. So really nobody has any excuse not to get their thoughts down as hard copy and I have to admit that although my handwriting is appalling, it is often the only way to get the thoughts out of my head fast enough when I have an idea. When you read your vocabulary improves and in turn the content of your written thoughts also improve.
My views on mathematics are probably the most contentious by the learned and underestimated by the student. When I was young, great emphasis was placed on basic maths such as multiplication up to and including the twelve times table, the addition and subtraction of very small fractional numbers to very large whole numbers, division of numbers and the relationship between the numerators. I wish more time had been given to understand basic maths and to explain that advanced mathematics such as equations are really just a taster of the truly advanced and varied disciplines of mathematics that your profession may take you in. When you are young, take time to learn the basics. It is not easy but again perseverance is key to your understanding and success.
Leaving school and your early working years can be a time of turmoil and lack of fulfilment. How anyone can truly know what they will enjoy for an occupation when they have little or no experience of working life is impossible. How many young (and older) people are trapped in jobs that do not inspire or motivate them to use and develop all of their skills. Having an inquisitive mind about everything can lead you in directions you had possibly never thought about as a career or solution to a problem. Be a seeker of all knowledge especially those that interest you.
Last but not least and arguably the most important, dare to dream. Success is measured by the failure strewn path you will tread on your journey through life. Failure is not to be taken as a literal but more a step in your learning curve. Failure is only a true failure if you learn nothing from it. Never lose sight of your dreams and make sure your dreams are BIG!
I have been very lucky in my life so far and if I can inspire just one person to strive for a more fulfilled life, I will be a happy man. So let me give you a little insight into my success. At school above being a Motocross champion, I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer, inspired by the space race to land on the moon. Life took me in a different path at school that meant I left at 15 years old with no exams taken or even any school grade. Furthermore, the job I had found myself in ceased to trade and even now I remember the day that I realised I had no qualifications and no future in fact absolutely nothing! Move forward 40 years or so and I can look back at a career path in which I have owned several small business ventures in a variety of fields including a twelve year stint building a successful haulage business from a measly $600 to a $1,600,000 turnover before selling up to go back to college to study advanced computer application programming to add to my motor vehicle engineering and transport related qualifications. A time as a non-professional motocross racer racing my own hand built machinery in the seventies and eighties to working in Formula 1, MotoGp and World Rally in a supporting role for many of the top teams and their sponsors. I have visited and driven in more than thirty countries and stayed in the best of hotels that had it not been for my job I would not have done or experienced.
I may not be a millionaire financially but I am a billionaire in the value of my experiences! Right now I am back driving a truck (or semi if your reading this in the states) I am a team leader and driver trainer for one of the UK’s leading food groups and hoping to pass on my skills as a driver so others may develop theirs further.
Am I something special? No, I certainly am not. I am no different than anyone else and I firmly believe that anyone can do what I have done and even a lot more. It all depends on how motivated you are to discover your true calling and pursue it to the level you want. There is no shame in changing direction at any point as how do we know where a path leads us until we travel it?
Am I at the end of my journey? NEVER!! Until my dying breath I will be striving to achieve, learn, be inquisitive and dream. Where will it lead me? I don’t know. But what I do know is that opportunity has to be pursued through continuous personal development. Through continuous practice of the above six core skills I have highlighted you will become a truly proficient master of your own destiny. I am in charge of my destiny and I still have a big dream so watch this space. What do you dare to dream?