What’s the easiest question to answer as a kid but only get’s harder as we grow older?

(two minute read about identifying your purpose in life) 

Well, what’s the answer to this riddle?  What is the easiest question to answer as a kid but one that only get’s harder as we grow older?  Any takers?  The answer is what I call The Golden Question:

What do you want to do be when you grow up?

Do you agree?  How was this question so easy to answer when we were six years old but as adults it became mind-boggling. As kids, full of ambition and imagination, it was easy to dream of what we wanted to do tomorrow.  I remember vividly somebody asking six- year-old me, “Well, little Timmy, what do you want to be when you grow up?” And I answered this question from the purest part of my heart just like many of you reading this did as well.  What was your answer as a kid? Do you remember?

Mine was to be G.I. Joe.

Many of you probably wanted to become professional athletes, astronauts, cowboys, princesses, doctors, teachers, etc.  We found out what made us happy in that moment and we convinced ourselves that’s exactly what we wanted to become when we grow up and nothing would stand in our way! But then as we grow older, something changes…

We realized how difficult the path to our dreams would be.  We also start to let society sway our choices.  As kids, we don’t care how realistic being a cowboy is, we just know it’s what we want.  We don’t care if it pays well, has job security, offers a retirement plan or has competitive benefits….it makes us happy and that’s all that matters…

But that changes as we face the pressures that come with adult life.  It becomes harder to answer that question as we grow older because we often change from “what do we want to be when we grow up” to “what we do need to be”.

We have to pay bills and provide for our families, start a career, pursue a degree, etc. and those pressures didn’t exist as a kid…

We realize that being a cowboy or a princess doesn’t help us write that rent check so we shift our focus to something else.

Those same pressures are what convinced me to change my major 7 times before dropping out of college completely and enlisting in the military…

We push our dreams and ambitions to the side for the peace that comes with stability and security…

When I left for college, I had convinced myself that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, even though I did.  My heart told me I wanted to become a soldier but society told me to take a different path.  My friends all wanted college degree’s so that I meant I should too, right?  Wrong.  I dreamed of life as a soldier but adult life convinced me to pursue something different.  I stopped focusing on what would make me happy and wondered why I was so miserable in school…

But the day I dropped out of college was one of the best days of my life and here’s why.  Life is too unpredictable to follow any other path than the one you want for yourself.  I’m not telling you to quit your job to go become a cowboy in the Great Plains because I’m offer you an alternative…..

What if a simple change to The Golden Question made it easier to answer as adults?  What if we shifted our focus from what we wanted to be to who we wanted to become.

As yourself who do you want to be when you grow up?  And see if your answer changes…

My answer: I want to be someone who cares for others.  I want to have the freedom to find different ways to impact the world.  I want to be someone who is reliable, dedicated and passionate.  I want to be a needed member of a team and a leader who others come to in their time of need.

This change is focus is what helped convince me to drop out of school to enlist because it’s where my heart was.  I firmly believe that the stress of life will be present whether you are a millionaire or poor.  Whether you have a job with a 401 (k) or not.  Whether others accept your life choices or not.  Stress is everywhere but we must decide for ourselves what stress we are willing to deal with.  For me, I would rather live everyday doing what I love even if that meant I may never be a financial titan.  To me, the question of what and who I want to be when I get older became pretty simple to answer once I changed the way I thought about it.  I want to be a better man tomorrow than I am today.  I want to be the best version of myself I can be.  I want to inspire others to pursue their childhood dreams and ambitions and to make the world a better place.  I want to be someone who makes God smile – in whatever profession that may be.

Live the life that makes your heart full and never settle for less.

By: Timothy A. Natale

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