The one about the Swiss cows

We are all in search of a secure future and a stable financial situation. Young parents wish they could spend more time with their kids, others with families. Some would like to invest more time into pursuing hobbies or other things that actually matter in life.  

Instead, we keep working more and more while being paid less and less and less. Too many people spend their working hours thinking about home and their off hours thinking about work. Too many people have only a few hours a day with their families and even then they’re too tired to take full advantage of their time together. Too many parents don’t even know when their kids grew up this big and wish they could have been more present and more involved. Too many people see that the work they’re doing will not yield results and pensions it should, but still they keep charging blindly onward like a herd of Swiss cows toward a cliff’s edge. They keep saying “they (the government) will figure something out” but what they don’t or refuse to see is that that’s exactly what they said 10 years ago and what they will probably say in 10 years too. Imagine you need to get some place fast and you have a choice of a bicycle and a car. You try the engine of the car and see that it won’t start. What do you do? The obvious answer would be to get your ass on the bike and pedal! However, people just keep sitting in the car for decades, turning the key saying “it will have to start eventually”. I believe this car wouldn’t know how to start even if it wanted to.

Why is that? The answer is horrifying yet hopeful. It is because we choose it to be so. Why is that hopeful? Because we can change that by choosing it to be different.

Now, I’m not preaching you should start telling yourself everything is great (which, ironically is what most are doing and look how that’s working out for them) but by choosing a different future and taking steps in the present to achieve it.

I was studying at a faculty for five years, getting my bachelor’s degree. What I was actually doing was attending some lectures, taking exams, working, doing some charity and getting drunk every weekend and a weekday now and again. That is what a week in my life looked like and that exact same week kept repeating itself again and again for months and eventually years. A lot was happening, but nothing really happened, if you get what I mean.  Then came 5th of December 2015 when I came across something that would, unbeknownst to me, change my life upside down only to reveal, it’s been upside down all along. Until that point, I believed there were only two kinds of people in the world. Those who didn’t think things could ever change and just apathetically accepted everything life throws in their face. And those who complain all the time, go protesting and throw a brick into a government building here and there. However, on that fateful December, I met people who actually were making a difference. People who knew that the world isn’t going to change to cater to our needs and if we want to change something we don’t like, we have to roll up our sleeves and knuckle down. At first it seemed like a dream come true, but soon reality kicked in. If I wanted to change my situation I’d have to change myself. “For things to get better, you have to get better.” (J.R.) Now accepting that was hard because I was 24 years old at the time and thought I knew everything and had the world figured out. However, what started as a painful shift turned into something I could not live without. Learning and growing is something that becomes quite addictive. The more you learn, the better you get and the better you get, the more you want to learn. It’s a beautiful symphonic circle.

In the last three years I built something I always considered reserved only for the “special people of this world”. All this because I learned one thing to be absolutely, indisputably true. It doesn’t matter what kind or how big the obstacles in your life are, it is you and you alone who has the power to change that. Always? Yes, always. Why do I believe that? Because in the last 1142 days I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many people with situations so desperate I couldn’t even imagine, who took responsibility for their choices and pulled their head out of their asses to turn their lives around. However, I also met a  lot of people whose problems weren’t even a bread crumb of a real problem, who did absolutely nothing but felt pity for themselves. Because for our lives to change we really are the only ones who have to change and it took me so long to see that because I never had any serious problems that would force me to change something.

Take assessment of the life choices you are making. Will the path you’re on lead you to where you want to be? If your answer is “it will” then congratulations, but if your answer is “it should” then you have a problem. Be honest with yourself because no matter where you are in life, changing course now is definitely easier than it will be a month or a year from now.

With (self)love,

Nejc Oblak

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