A song on the radio this morning from The Joshua Tree brought me back to a school rugby touring bus 33 years ago. I remembered some of my team mates describing how fantastic the newly released album was.
I pondered for a moment if Bono could have foreseen how the next three decades would turn out and what role he would play in them as the lead singer in one of (if not the) most successful rock band(s) of all time, and still going strong!
I also pondered my team mates. What had become of them? We were all so full of eager ambition – stars in our own minds heading into the school’s first ever Munster Cup-Final, and beyond that the promise of a full and satisfying life.
This was at odds with the economic situation that surrounded us - massive unemployment, dole queues awaiting us when we left school, and a pending stock market crash to come that same year.
At what point do we give up our dreams?
What is it that causes us to settle for an ok life rather than the great one we thought we’d live?
Was it the dole queues?
Was it simple naivety about what it would take to breakthrough?
Was it the lack of an early taste of success, or are these just comforting stories we tell ourselves to justify the fact that we didn’t ‘get there’?
I’ve found my own answers to this. It’s a journey, and we can always resume it.
But for most of us, something or somebody, or a series of people and events - hits us hard and knocks us off course as we travel the path. Negative experiences alter our inner belief system changing it to a lesser version of what it once was, causing us to follow a different path instead of the one we truly want.
Only some of us are finally able to tear ourselves free of this and generate a new more effective belief system, one that gets us back on to the track we were once on, or to an even better one. The point is - it is our beliefs that cause us to be wherever we find ourselves – pure and simple.
With less opportunity we may take longer to fulfil our promise, but with the right belief it’s only a matter of time.
And that’s the crux of the whole thing – time, or more specifically the beliefs we hold about our time.
Back on that bus we knew that once the whistle blew, we would have to do everything in our power to make the best use of the 80-minute game if we were to prevail or at least hold our heads high after defeat.
But off the bus – in everyday life – this understanding evaporated as we allowed ourselves to be lulled back into the false illusion that we had all the time in the world.
One of the phrases my dear old grandfather used to say after he came to live with us following a stroke that deprived him of his ability to walk was – “Time Marches On”.
I miss him. His wisdom didn’t sink in until long after he died, but I realise now that no matter what stories we comfort ourselves with, the true reason most of us end up not where we want to be is because we fail at the most sacred task of all – we fail to properly value the one thing all of us (including Bono) has in common – our time!