Look Out for the Shiny Things

After years of sticking rigidly to that long term goal, I started saying yes instead of no to those wonderful, fleeting opportunities on the periphery, and this is what happened…

I listened to Tim Minchin’s inspirational address, ‘Nine Life Lessons’, again a few weeks ago, and keep coming back to one thing in particular (and those of you who know me won’t be surprised that it wasn’t the ‘do more exercise’ one :-D)

It was concerning goals, and the realisation that his words didn’t strike a chord with me the first time I heard the speech, years ago. And that’s because of things that have happened between now and then to make me realise he’s absolutely right. Here’s what he said:

I advocate passionate dedication to the pursuit of short-term goals. Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you… you never know where you might end up. Just be aware that the next worthy pursuit will probably appear in your periphery. Which is why you should be careful of long-term dreams. If you focus too far in front of you, you won’t see the shiny thing out the corner of your eye.


Nine Life Lessons by Tim Minchin (University of Western Australia)

Maintain a Magpie Mentality

After years of dogged perserverance, I took a step away from my long term goals due to circumstances and disillusionment. Instead, I’ve been ‘going with the flow’ and saying ‘yes’ instead of ‘no’. And the weird thing is, a lot of the interesting opportunities that have come my way have advanced my original dreams organically in ways I would never have imagined. I’ve met extraordinary people and learnt extraordinary things, and written all sorts of things for all sorts of cool projects. I’ve also lurched around as a zombie in a music video, helped save some whales, puppeteered in a TV and stage show, been a rock star for a day, painted stage sets and helped organise a big festival. All because I put my hand up at the right time without letting a lack of experience stop me.

If I had continued to plod on, like a carthorse with blinkers on, my life over the last few years would have been far less richer. I would have had far less to draw from in my writing and far fewer opportunities would have come my way.

The universe seems to know what it’s doing. I’m happy to leave my future in its capable hands and keep looking for those lovely shiny things.

Give it a go and see what happens!

Here’s Tim’s wonderful speech in full:

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