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From Solitary To Open Street

From solitary to open street

If it’s not in your dreams, you can’t achieve it.

In a week where we have seen solitary isolation end with re-entry to the streets from the pandemic, combined with a huge global surge in street marches in favour of #BlackLivesMatter, a crash in our economy, growing job losses, and a significant increase in mental problems – there is a lot to worry about.

While we can adapt to the changes that whirl around us, it takes time and effort to shift long-standing habits. Initially, we all had considerable concern about isolation – and now, many of us are actually fearing the end of isolation, because it is yet another change and it is causing us to lose control over our smaller contained world, where we felt safe. Many of us are now thinking about limiting our exposure to the world, as re-entry is totally frightening between the contagious nature of the virus and the world-wide economic woes. We are thinking of hunkering down and playing safe.

A grandson to his Grandma in 2030: “Grandma, Grandma what did you do during that global pandemic?’ 

Will your answer be “That, my boy, is when I followed my dream or when I binned my past, or did that which I always wanted to do, or that’s when I started the family business”; or will your answer be “I played it safe. I went back to doing what I always did, and look at me I am in the same place doing the same think and still expecting a different life”?

In a year from now, as you look back, I bet you will be more disappointed about the all the things you could have done but did not do, either because you were too afraid, too lazy, someone talked you out of it, or because you were simply too busy doing the very things that you now regret doing and gave so much of your life to.

There is only one person that can change your life.

There is only one person that places limits on what you can achieve.

Only one person or thing that can hold you back. YOU!

The only person that can block the achievements that you want to realise is YOU, and only you can help yourself.

I can deal with dream killers and detractors, as our world is full of psychic vampires, people that drain the living daylights out of us. What I can’t deal with is a life unlived, an unfulfilled promise, a discarded dream, or a great story untold.

What is sad is that by the absence of thought or by procrastination, we allow so much of our lives to be shaped by the kind of surroundings we place ourselves in, the people that we allow to influence us, and the goals we give ourselves. Yet, there are no limits to what you can accomplish except for the limits we place on our own imagination. And,

since there are no limits to what we can imagine, there are no limits to what we can achieve.

Here is a very short story that demonstrates this.

A farmer won a first prize at the country fair for his huge radish that was the exact shape and size of a quart of milk bottle. Many were curious as to how the farmer was able to grow this radish that was the exact shape of a milk bottle. Finally someone went up to the farmer and asked the question. The farmer replied, “It was easy. I got the seed growing and then I put it into the milk bottle. It had nowhere else to go.

We are so limited by our own thinking, our own fears, the opinions of others. We are so limited by the environment we contain ourselves within. Like bars on a prison cell, we build our own personal prison cells that contain or restrict the horizons of our own minds. These self-imposed limits we place on everything we do are like a virus that infects our mind and spirit, and kills our hopes and dreams.

When you truly believe in you; when you are open to what you can do, there are simply no limits. There is no law or prison cell that you must stay within it. There are no barriers around you that hem you in. There is no baggage that can weigh you down, no past that holds you back.

So don’t judge yourself by your past as you don’t live there anymore.

Judge yourself by achieving the next part of the great story you have to write, to live and to tell – the story you tell your grandchildren or the next generation. Our lives should not be defined by regrets but achievements. Where you are now is simply a stepping stone to that great story. And what a story it can be!

To achieve it, you must step beyond where you are. You must step bravely from solitary isolation into the open streets, and release that greatness within you.

You are not in this world to live up to anyone’s expectations, just yours.

Wherever you find great achievement in this world, you find an individual who is absolutely clear about what he or she wants to do, and who is willing to do whatever it takes, for however long it takes, to achieve it.

So, now the story you tell yourself is going to be the story of your life. So, go on, write a great next chapter. I would love to read it.

Every saint has a past… every sinner has a future.  Oscar Wilde

Three important questions from me:

  1. Where in your work and life do you impose limits?
  2. What is one dream, wish or adventure you would love to achieve?
  3. What is one thing you will do today, to start to move the edges of your limits and allow yourself to achieve that which you desire?

One wish from me: Be the dream you want to achieve.

P.S. As you venture back into the world — whether socially, for work or otherwise — try and approach others and yourself with an extra dose of empathy and kindness. You don’t know what somebody else is going through right now, other than the collective COVID-19 experience. With so much uncertainty in our futures, we need our humanity now more than ever, and we need your greatness.

About Dr Maurice Duffy

Irish. Author, Professor, Coach and Business strategist. The person Australian Captain Steve Smith credited with helping him back from his cricket ban. Coach to two Ashes wins. Coach to CEOs, Politicians and some of the best know international sports starts including Olympians. BBC ‘Thought for the Week’. Coached business leaders and organizations in 80 countries. Works with charities to do with Mental Health. Lives in North East England with his wife and 11-year-old son.