A Full Life requires a Journey beyond the Familiar Path

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Have you ever wondered what you would find if you went a little further, I decided to find out.

My wife and I walk every day, and have gotten to know our neighborhood pretty well over the last few years. One of our regular routes takes us up the Fernleigh Track, a beautiful shaded walk along an old rail line that the local council turned into a bicycle and pedestrian path. We live near one end of the 16km track but we have never walked past the first road crossing at the 4km mark, and I have always wondered what lay beyond the crossing. Today I found out by walking the entire Fernleigh Track from Adamstown (where I live) to Belmont to see what I had been missing all these years.

Go a little further every day.

Just a kilometre further along the track I spotted a billabong (small lake) through the trees. I wandered down to the edge, and marveled at how much we had missed by not going a little further on one of our walks. The water birds drifted across the shallow water and wadded through the aquatic plants looking for food. By going a little further I opened up a new area in my world, expanded my horizons and found that with a little extra effort you can find great rewards. Our every endevour in life can benefit by taking that extra step, every time you go a bit further you have the potential to reap rewards.

Saving a little extra every week can help you fund that overseas vacation or ride out a loss of income while going the extra mile for a customer will bring them back to your business in the future. I have never regretted going that little bit further in any endevour, it has always enriched my life and the lives of family to see what exists around the corner or over the next crest. We live in a world where many people think that doing the minimum, cutting costs and providing the cheapest product is all that matters to anyone. We think there is no need to go the extra mile because no one appreciates our efforts. Well if we do not care enough to make an extra effort then why expect someone else to care for us.

Go a little further for yourself, I am just as satisfied to know that I do a better than average job whether the recipients of my efforts recognise it or not. My reward for going a little further is to find that unforeseen treasure down the road, sometimes its a billabong next time it might be my next big break in life.

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See beyond the horizon.

As I started to write this post I looked at a map of my journey and recognised many of my discoveries clearly marked on the topography. The billabong is right there, and the old train station at Redhead that I had not expected is also clearly marked. I had never taken time to look beyond the horizon, read a map or ask others what lay beyond my normal journey. Sound familiar? How often do you question your life to see if there are other possibilities? Not often enough for most people.

Twenty years ago I had one career plan, a sequence of jobs and training that would get me to Britain and my dream flying job. No options, no alternate plans because my plan had to end at my expected destination. Despite my preparation the job went to someone else, and my boss presented me with some new options that did not overjoy me. I made a choice and headed to Canberra where two months latter I found myself packing for Seattle and the eight best years of my life. I realised most of my dreams, living overseas again, promotion and eventually a great flying job testing the latest technology. This happened because I started to look beyond my own horizon, and analyse the possible futures for me and my family.

Although going a little further down the road can yield wonderful surprises, a little preparation can help you decide whether to stay the course or take an alternate route. Life is a journey and you have to survey the possibilities occasionally and be prepared to deviate from your planned route. I no longer focus on retirement, the end goal for many workers, instead I focus on what I want to achieve professionally and personally before I am cease to be.

So I keep my eyes open to opportunities, a business trip can be a chance to explore a new city or to catch up with friends or family. I have a great job at present but I know that a move into another role is coming within the next few years. By looking beyond the horizon, I know the best paths to find something that interests me if my current route is blocked.

Travel the known road or journey beyond the familiar.

Many people follow the known road, never deviating, never imagining that something better might exist a little further on or down an alternate route. It’s the safe option, no unknown threats or surprises, to let their lives play out down the familiar path. I had gotten into that mindset, safe, comfortable but also bored and dissatisfied with my life. Well no more, I am cracking on down the unknown road looking for adventure and excitement at work and at home. That does not mean I’m jumping out of aircraft or driving racing cars every week (although I plan to do both) but I am changing my approach to life.

At work I am initiating changes that I believe will improve our performance, and make our team happier in their daily work. Outside of work, I have reduced my television consumption and expanded my activities to fill those previously wasted hours. I have projects underway in travel, photography and motorcycling that have produced more results this year than I have had in years. I’m reading for enjoyment again, and I am determined to complete my biggest writing project this year despite a slow start. In the end it comes down to this:

I am Happy.

How about you, are you happy?

No, well then get off your butt and do something, walk an extra mile and see what lies beyond the familiar path.