One of the most challenging conversations that I ever had was with a friend called Tom. He brought up the conversation by wondering why our fathers didn’t buy land in the City Centre when it was readily available many years ago. At the end of the conversation, Tom warned that 20 years from now, our children will be questioning about the same thing about their parents – us. After that conversation, one of the things that became very clear to me is that in 20 years’ time, that which will be of great value might not necessarily seem important today, and is most probably readily available; just as land in the City Centre was much cheaper and abundant to our fathers when they were young. The challenge is to identify what is readily available to us today that will be of great value 20 years from now.
Each time I think about it, I always conclude that that ‘thing’ that will be of great value in 20 years is consciousness. For the purpose of this article I will look at consciousness in terms of the scope that is defined by the boundaries of our mind. As we know, these boundaries are defined and marked as we develop in life. Up till our 20s, the boundaries are defined by our parents and teachers and relatives and friends. But then when we come out of the school and into the world of careers and jobs, the boundaries expand because we realize that it is mandatory in order for us to cope in our new found reality of financial responsibility. When we get married and start families in our 30s, the boundaries expand some more as we learn how to take on even more responsibilities in the world. By the time we are getting into our 40s, we more or less have found a handle on life and tend to settle into a routine that works very comfortably with us and those around us. And there lies the danger, for many people decide to settles into their mental boundaries for good.
What happens when a person settles into a fixed consciousness for good? Well, they remain in the same state of affairs year in and year out. And I am sure that you know of people who just settle into life and every day looks like another. In most cases, they hold the same job for years, maintain a predictable daily routine, go to the same social venues, maintain the same circle of friends and generally like their boats not to be rocked. If any of the parameters of such a person’s life changes, it appears as if their whole world has collapsed.
But is settling into a comfortable lifestyle so bad? No, it isn’t. But you see, there is a better way. What is that better way? The better way is for a person to take it upon themselves to expand the boundaries in their minds. How? Through ‘personal development’ initiatives. Such as sports and fitness, reading books, learning new skills, developing hobbies and so forth. Of course the benefits of such an approach to life include a healthy and happy lifestyle and even financial gains. For such a person, no day is like any other since the mental boundaries are always shifting and their consciousness is very dynamic.
If you compare the person who ‘settled’ into their mental boundaries and the person who made a conscious effort to expand their mental boundaries, what will be the change in 20 years? I will tell you that if the difference were to be measured in acres of land, the first guy might have a quarter acre where he has his small comfortable house, and the second person will have hundreds of acres spread across various parts of the globe. And in 20 years time, what will the children say? The children of the first person will be wondering what their father did while other men developed themselves, and the children of the second will be increasing on what their father continues to build on.