What to do with the rest of your life – Stuart Macdonald
In the last edition of Merchants’ Tales, Stuart Macdonald shared some information about his career path since leaving school which has culminated in him becoming a qualified International Mountain Guide. He lives in France but on a recent trip back to the UK, he included a visit to school. As well as taking a look around and sharing some of his memories with staff, he addressed the pupils in an assembly and then joined in teaching sessions on the basic techniques of climbing with small groups of boys using the climbing wall attached to the Schools’ Sports Centre.
The focus of Stuart’s talk in assembly was ‘What to do with the rest of your life’ and he made reference to some of the decisions he had made about his career. Very early on he realised how much he enjoyed outdoor life, travel and adventure. His involvement with CCF gave opportunities for him to explore these and, when it came to him making a decision about a career, the army seemed to give him the chance to pursue them further. He took the step to move on from the army when his responsibilities were taking him away from the things that he loved most and being replaced by desk duties involving more paperwork! This was the time to rethink, get out and do something different. He emphasised that it is never too late to change direction.
He chose to redirect his career towards mountain climbing having enjoyed doing this in the past. To gain the qualifications to be an International Mountain Guide meant personal sacrifice for three years, living very simply and using his savings, but he now has a job that he loves and a lifestyle that gives him a lot of space for other priorities in his life.
In summary, he referred to the illustration of the Jar of Life given by motivational speakers. By filling a jar with firstly large pebbles (representing the most important things in your life – such as happiness, health, family), then medium sized pebbles (the additional things that carry significance for you – your work, hobbies) and then sand (the extras that carry least importance – social media, video games, etc) which will fill all the tiny spaces that are left, your life can be well balanced and fulfilled. If you fill your life with large amounts of the extras first, then there will not be enough room to include all the more important things in life.
People are motivated by different things. Life is finite, just like the capacity of the jar. Stuart asked ‘What are your priorities in life?’
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