‘Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.’ So said the American writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau.

Most of us start our adult lives excited by the infinite possibility that life offers us, the fulfilment we will find in our brilliant careers, our perfect relationships, the respect and admiration of our peers, but all too often the setbacks of a normal life confine us to a life that is anything but fulfilled.

The older we get, the more we excuse this by writing ourselves off as not creative or talented enough, that we’ve missed our chance to shine and apathetically accept our fate, too scared or too lazy to do anything about it.

Fear holds us back, so conditioned do we become in not risking the life we know for one that the fatalist in us might fear be worse. We sit around not daring to try anything new, believing we don’t have the power to change things. It’s true, we don’t have control over all aspects of our lives, but we do have some.

I’m reading Mastery at the moment, a book by Robert Greene. The central philosophy of the book is people face the same problem – that we are born as individuals but are forced to conform to the rules of society if we want to succeed. To see our uniqueness expressed in our achievements, we must first learn the rules – and then how to change them completely.

I’ll let you know how that goes!

This coming year, 2013, I’m going to spend time thinking about the things I can change — and work to change them. My list, in no particular order includes:

  • Let go
  • Meditate
  • Yoga
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Write daily
  • Reduce/eliminate debt
  • Read more

I’ve sat around for long enough waiting for good things to happen to me without any effort on my part. Time to be happy again.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau