Better a pipe dream than no dream at all

pipe dream


definition – an unattainable or fanciful hope or scheme

I recently commenced my pursuit of retiring to Thailand in 5 years. Based on my current financial situation and incoming salary, this is not a practical goal. A more realistic goal would be 10 years and even that is a bit of a stretch.

10 years, however, will not work for me. I am mentally committed to retire in 5 years and will find a way to make it happen. Even in the early days of my mission, I am amazed at the increased focus I have on finding small ways to save and create money.

An unfortunate aspect of my current job is cleaning. Often times, I am scheduled for public toilet cleaning. This can be a fairly unpleasant activity due to the smell and the interesting ability that some people have to miss the bowl with their movements. Without going into more graphic detail, it hasn’t been my favourite job. With my new focus though, I attack the job with gusto, attempting to make the best of it, with the mindset that every task I do is making me more money towards my early retirement. Realistically, I would make the same amount of money doing an average job or even hiding in the storeroom. My passion for my retirement though has instilled in me a purpose to succeed in whatever I’m doing, even if menial and unpleasant.

I have lived a lot of my life without direction. I was basically living day to day. I lot of the time I was doing the minimum I could so I would continue to get paid and not make it obvious I was barely making an effort. By good fortune, I obtained a job coordinating services to terminally ill clients. Many of my colleagues struggled with the role and it was not uncommon that there were tears in the office when a client passed away. I was the opposite. I found the job invigorating and thrived on providing some quality of life to my clients up until their death. I recall one conversation with a client, at a time at which he started to enter the end-stage of his condition. Paraphrasing, he said ‘Scott, if you want to do something, do it now. You don’t know when your time will come’. He ended up passing some weeks later but his words (albeit not verbatim) have stuck with me. I don’t know when my time will come and my health scare 18 months back reinforced it.

I’m not one of these ‘live every moment’ people. I find that tiring and try hard. I have no compulsion to bungy jump or socialise every day. I do believe though, that life should have a purpose and a destination.

I have gone off on a bit of a tangent from the title of pursuing a pipedream but hopefully not far that I have lost the point completely. I know many people, including family, that don’t have a dream. They seem content to just continue on with life but with no clear destination. I don’t judge them and they are welcome to live their life however they wish but I struggle to stay motivated without a goal.

I believe that your goal should be big. Bigger than you really can achieve without being so unrealistic that it can never be reached. I like the idea of the carrot that is slightly beyond my reach to keep me constantly trying and working hard. An easy goal doesn’t breed effort and provides little satisfaction if achieved.

A friend of mine once said to me ‘Reach for the stars and you may reach the sky’. It has taken me some time to actually follow his advice but now it is happening. I’m reaching for the stars. But what if I fail? At worst, I will be much further ahead then setting no goal at all. At best, I might just make it! Only time will tell.












Inspiration and Motivation – The Power of a Smile

I woke up this morning a bit out of sorts. I had worked late last night and was looking forward to a bit of a sleep-in before I started work. No such luck though, as I was woken from my slumber an hour before my alarm by a loud knock on the door. I jumped up to find some guy at my door trying to peddle some life insurance, a new religion, a change of internet plan….actually, I didn’t take much notice. I just politely declined and excused myself.

Anyway, even though I wasn’t really listening to the guy at the door, I was still fully awake by the time I closed the door. I thought there was no point going back to bed, so I went about making my breakfast. I aimlessly faffed around for what seemed like 20 minutes (but was more likely 2 hours) and suddenly it was time to go to work.

For some reason, I just wasn’t feeling it today. Maybe it was the early wake up, or maybe it was the grey and drizzly weather, or maybe it was because I wasn’t entirely sure where I would be working that day and had concerns I might be rostered to one of my less favourite job sites. I note quickly that I have a permanent job but occasionally I’m not rostered onto a specific location until the day of work.

Whatever the reason, I wasn’t really that keen for work. I wasn’t what you would call miserable but I certainly was very flat and didn’t really feel like talking to anyone. This is not particularly desirable for a face to face customer service role.

Perhaps by good fortune, I was assigned a particularly busy work site, with no opportunity to make myself busy doing other things in an effort to avoid customers. I had no choice but to interact with the customers. I was looking at a long day ahead.

It wasn’t long at all when I was approached by someone with a big smile to ask a question. What did I do in return? I smiled back. It wasn’t forced, a smile just naturally came to my face as I answered the question and said goodbye.

That smile totally sparked me up! One smile! Immediately, my attitude towards the day improved and I looked forward to the next customer contact. In fact, I actively started seeking it. I started wandering looking for anyone with the slightest confused face to help or even just to say hello. I carried the smile with me and received lots of smiles back. Every smile was that little bit of fuel that carried me through the shift. Surprisingly, the time flew by and it didn’t really feel like I was working at all. Just having 30 second relationships with people.

It’s incredible how quickly my mood changed in an instant. Next time I’m feeling work is a chore, I hope I remember to give someone a smile as it’s a gift that is often returned.