“Dad, wanna help me build a sandcastle?” These are the words my five year old called out to me as I wondered out of the water on a recent trip to the beach.
In the past I would have declined the offer; and while I cited many different reasons, it was because I didn’t see any value in it. Right or wrong, it’s the truth and was a reflection of my mindset for a long time. My mindset on nearly everything was “what’s the point?” I suck at it, it won’t work, I’ll look stupid, I don’t want my kids to see me as a failure, the list of things running through my head were endless.
Now, before we get into why my mindset was that way, let me remind you of what a good sandcastle needs. A sandcastle needs good structure and shape, the build requires balance and focus, sometimes you need to bring in stuff to support it (in this case water to firm up the sand)and it needs vision and creativity to see it become something that is recognisable.
For the longest time, I struggled with the correct mindset. I was clutching at straws trying to find my place and purpose. Career wise things were going reasonably well, but that made me complacent in nearly every other area of my life. Aside from a short lived fitness kick, I’d let my health and fitness go. I spent a year or so studying Uni in my own time, but that faded away as well. I lacked structure and vision; I didn’t have a broader plan for any area of my life. I was living in the moment, until the moment wasn’t comfortable anymore, then I would look at something else.
In hindsight, I wasted most of the last decade because I kept giving up and making crap excuses to make the decisions comfortable. And the more I gave up on, the more everything else started to fall apart, slowly but surely crumbling and weakening.
I had failed to build my sandcastle properly. It’s very easy to lose our direction in life and it’s even easier for things to start to fall apart when we lack structure, balance and focus. And as these things start to take hold our vision of our future fades, our creativity to envisage our goals weakens and we continue to crumble and fall apart.
But it’s never too late to start rebuilding yourself. Start simple and small if you must. But most importantly, START! Figure out the areas you need to fix, be it your fitness, health, career, family……. whatever. It will be hard and you won’t like most of it, but you need to accept that and get past it. Life is hard, trust me I know, but through hard work comes triumph. You can’t cheat on this; your future depends on doing the hard things and being resilient.
And the next time you’re asked to build a sandcastle, do it, you might learn something, just as I did.
Now get to it!