A friend took a mid-career path change to join the company as a new hire.
“I am not sure if I’ve made the right decision,” she said. “I feel that I am behind the curve, especially when compared to them,”. Her peers are 5-6 years old younger than her.
What she said reminded me of my guitar teacher, Ben. It was many years ago since I last met him.
“If your life is the shape of an alphabet, would it be an A, O, S, or T?” – Ben likes to ask his student this question.
“Our life has shape,” Ben said.
A is the shape of a pyramid. Some of us live to climb the ladder to the top. We are taught the view is magnificent when you get to the top. But, it is a long climb. Some people do it patiently while some are just too eager.
“The watch out for type A is that you tend to compare life. You THINK everyone is racing towards the same destination,” he said. “It is an illusion. Our life is completely different. It is OK to go at your own tempo,” Ben said.
O is the shape of a hamster running wheel. Imagine a hamster running in a wheel? It runs and runs and runs and it stays on the same spot. Or maybe, it is happy not going anywhere?
“Some people feel trapped while some feel contented. If you are are doing things that you like…you will be more than happy to do it forever. So, the key here is to make sure you get on the right wheel.” Ben said.
S for a winding curve. Simply, the road to fulfillment is never a straight line. Else, where is the fun if it is too easy?
“Life is like music. It has its up and down; loud and soft. Detours are necessary.They are life lessons and they make your life richer. You just gotta be patient,” he said.
T is the shape of a hammer. Ben believes in being a jack of all trades and master of one. The top horizontal bar in the T represents the things you want to explore and they can be very different things. When you find the one thing that feels like “hell yes!”, you hammer it. You go deep and be an expert – that’s the vertical bar in the T.
“When you write a T, you draw the top horizontal bar first before you complete it with the vertical bar. Same in life. You gotta explore, try, touch, and explore many things first before you find your calling. You need to know what you hate to determine what you like. Don’t feel obligated to stick to the same interest or the same job until you find the one thing you are happy to do for the rest of your life. I was a chef before I found the guitar,” he said.
Many years since I realize our life is never in a constant shape. Because the world is rarely black and white but oftentimes gray, yellow, and in crooked shapes.
So, building on Ben’s philosophy, I’d to think that life is like cursive writing.
Sometimes, you are in A mode and sometimes it is a T. But, like a cursive writing. All the alphabets are important when they need to be. You connect them to make a piece of beautiful, unique calligraphy called life.
Most importantly, No matter how you are going to shape your life, remember ONE THING…. YOU are the author of your life.