Sometimes I look at people and they seem to be going backwards up the slide.  Instead of climbing to the top and then letting gravity do the work while they enjoy the rush, they are struggling and struggling to get somewhere they can’t see and complaining all the while that it shouldn’t be this hard to get where they want to be!  I try to help them stop climbing that way, slide back down to the beginning and then around to the stairs which will get them to the top quickly and more easily and then they can enjoy the ride.  It’s not always as simple as that (people resist change and are invested in all the work they’ve done to date regardless of whether it got them anywhere or not) but many times it is.

For example, a large number of people think that they achieve their identity by working towards it and it is a reward for all the work they’ve put in.  Like being a PhD or M.D. and therefore being called Dr. forever more or going to the police academy in order to become a detective.  One isn’t an engineer until receiving a degree and making a thing, right?  Well, not really.  You see, all of those people began creating that identity before they ever achieved it.  Inside themselves they already were that long before they ever got to the end and received the label officially.  Their lives were molded by the identity of being a PhD student, an engineering student, a cadet, etc.  Long before they were fully fledged, they already had an identity that says “I am _______.”

That’s going up the ladder to get to the top of the slide.  Getting the label, the letters behind your name, the title, the job, the career, that’s the slide you then get to enjoy which leads you to new ladders and more wonderful slides.  But so many people start backing themselves up the slide by telling themselves that someday they’ll have the opportunity to think about being something like what they actually want to be if they do all of these other things first and just wait for the right moment…I mean the universe is going to grant them that identity as a reward for doing everything else but attempting to achieve it, right?

Each of us knows what we really want to be “when we grow up” and we have choices on whether to be that or not.  We can go backwards up the slide avoiding any type of association with that identity and wondering why things don’t fall into place and we keep back sliding (or front sliding in this analogy) or we can identify ourselves as what we truly want to be, the cop, the engineer, the writer, the artist, the engineer, the doctor…we can claim who we truly are and start climbing up the ladder so we can finally slide down into our life.