When we think about time, we often imagine a linear passing of events outside our control. Put simply, we humans are bound by time and are subject to its will. As a way to cope with this reality, we may feel the need to be in control of everything else to maximise the time that we do have.
However, acknowledging time and its relation to us doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to stress ourselves out over our perceived powerlessness. Rather, we can choose to surrender the need to control every moment in our lives. Things can surprisingly work out in our favour when we consciously do so. This can apply to different aspects of our lives, including our careers. When we learn to trust that opportunities will always be open to us even during the bleakest of times, we can continue growing and reaching our full potential.
The Sometimes Stifling Progression of Your Profession
To many working professionals, a successful career is often marked by different milestones. Over time, people are expected to flourish in their chosen fields by chasing after promotions, raises, and accolades. These accomplishments tend to be viewed as things that should be achieved within a certain period. Even non-corporate jobs have similar rubrics for success. Failing to reach said accomplishments, on the other hand, is perceived as a personal failure.
If you’re not progressing in your career, you may be wondering if you’re doing something wrong. In truth, however, you may be doing everything right. Rather, it may simply be a perception problem, wherein you’ve measured your worth against a certain set of standards for success.
Though there is nothing wrong with working hard to reach your goals, it can become worrying when you begin to believe that you’re not going anywhere. This may cause you to feel helpless and lost as a result, which may not be accurate for your actual situation.
It’s important to remember that job milestones are a useful metric to see where you’re currently at, but they are not absolute markers of success or failure. Indeed, personal fulfillment is not about achieving accomplishments based on a deadline that’s been dictated by societal norms. Rather, it’s about working toward these milestones while consciously focusing on your development, and letting things fall into place in their own time.
Time as Non-linear and Omnipresent
What if the good times and bad times in your life aren’t necessarily independent of each other?
Consider the possibility that time isn’t a straight line that keeps going forward in an identifiable pattern and sequence. Life itself is quite messy, and as such, it may help to visualise it as non-linear and omnipresent instead of chronological and confined. While you’ve certainly experienced both good and bad events, this doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any space for beauty and chaos to proliferate in those same moments. Time is constantly present, but it can’t necessarily be categorised into black or white categories. Instead, it may be more realistic to view time as occurring in different shades of grey.
But if that were the case, what would that mean for you and your career?
Well, when you consciously let go of the idea that you need to defy or manipulate your circumstances, you’ll have more room to grow. To some extent, letting go of having specific control also releases you from the burden of having to achieve things within a certain schedule. By focusing on self-improvement instead of worrying about the things that you can’t change, you’re allowing yourself to still pursue your ideal career even amidst the chaos.
Letting Go to Let Things Fall into Place
Learning to trust and accept that everything that happens to you is guiding you toward better opportunities has some relationship to entropy. Essentially, even when things fall into disarray, everything will eventually stabilise.
Hence, whenever you feel like nothing is going your way, remember that these periods are simply part of a natural process. It is far more pragmatic to let go of the need to control each moment and to shape our expectations more realistically. This may be difficult at first, but it takes courage to surrender control of the uncontrollable and trust that things will be okay.
When you begin to believe that things will slowly work themselves out (as they always do), you permit yourself to honour your fullest potential by dedicating time to your personal growth and development. At the end of the day, you have control over how you react towards negative situations, a skill that will always be more useful than forcing things to go your way.
It may be hard to accept that we cannot control everything that happens around us and that there truly is a time for everything. But by redirecting your focus toward what you can control, you can find order amidst the chaos. Though your current circumstances aren’t exactly as you had envisioned them to be, you can still look for opportunities while working within your current limitations. Doing so can help you discover potential alternative (and perhaps even better) paths, ones that you’ll also be much more prepared to take.
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