Everyone is born with a unique set of talents and skills. The challenge, however, is identifying them. Very early in life, we are encouraged to study hard, do well in school and select a career path that is guaranteed to result in material success. Those individuals who do not get that push from parents, teachers and counselors are often left to fend for themselves, trying to navigate the maze of career options and occupational choices on their own. In some ways, they are the lucky ones.
As much as well-intentioned parents, teachers and counselors are appreciated, they sometimes inadvertently steer highly-talented individuals away from their life’s true purpose in favor of a lucrative, stable, usually-safe career choice without any regard for natural gifts. These people are often stifled geniuses, unable and sometimes even afraid to express their real talents for fear of disappointing parents or being perceived as ‘failures,’ because the paths they sincerely want to follow are not held in high regard by the people whose opinions they respect.
When truly left to our own devices, we are able to figure out where we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to do with our lives all by ourselves. The problem is, we allow ourselves to be influenced by the people in our lives… following both good and not-so-good examples. Not only are we influenced by individuals who are familiar to us, we are also influenced by the people and events we see all around us, on television, in the movies, the athletic arena or field and sadly… the streets.
Our children see entertainers, athletes and street hustlers making tons of money and aspire to follow their leads in order to acquire the material things they have come to believe symbolizes success. In his book, The Prophet, Khalil Gibran tells us:
“Your children are not your children.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts…”
As parents, our job is to help our children understand that the end all and be all is not to have closets filled with the fancy clothes and the “bling” that they see on television. The measure of true happiness is not how much money you have in the bank, the labels on your clothes or how many cars you own. The true measure of happiness and success lies within. Are you at peace? Do you like the person you see in the mirror?
Too many of us are in our 30s, 40s or even 50s or 60s before we realize our true gifts. That’s because we spend decades trying to live up to standards set for us by others. How lucky are those people who are able to chart their own paths in their teens and 20s?
Why not make a resolution this year that is truly meaningful?
Make 2012 the year that you discover the power within you. This year, make it a priority to identify your own unique set of talents and skills and invest some time, and even money if necessary, in developing them. Give yourself the gift of being your true self in 2012. You will not only be happier, calmer, healthier and more relaxed; but the people closest to you will notice the difference and start to explore their own inner potential as well.
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