We are all individuals who share collective life experiences. The experiences of others often influence the choices that we make, or the paths we choose to follow. Have you ever personally made a choice based on what you felt that someone else’s assessment of you would be? Do we make our decisions based on what we desire or because of the fear of admitting what we truly want?

Throughout our lives, we are assessed many times for things such as determining personality traits, knowledge, career directions, strengths and weaknesses, and to determine what others’ believe best suits our characteristics. Have you ever taken a quiz in magazine to determine who you are and what you are meant for? Do you believe the results and does the assessment of your answers actually make you change your path?

One of the things that we often struggle with is the act of honestly admitting and accepting what we truly want the focus of our lives to be. We allow ourselves to be assessed and told by others what we are meant to do, but too often, the one person that we choose not to listen to is ourselves. 

For years, I have struggled with my identity as a musician. The paths I believed I was supposed to follow became the factors that caused me to doubt my ability and value as a drummer. I would look at the lives and choices of the people around me and believed that I was supposed to follow to the same paths. If I did not pursue the opportunities that I saw others getting, I believed that it diminished my worth.

After some soul searching and guidance through the teachers I had sought out, I began to assess what was truly important to me. What I found was the things that I believed I wanted were actually the dreams of others and that what I really valued was the path of education. I had the dreams that most musicians had of living the life of success through playing to large audiences and selling tons of albums, but when I began to reflect on what I valued and felt called to pursue, it was the pursuit of knowledge and the ability to inspire and educate others who were on their own paths.

As an educator, I find that many students do not know what they want to learn or what they are trying to achieve, and in those situations it becomes the responsibility of the teacher to provide guidance. We have to assess their skills and put a plan together for them, but without their own knowledge of what they are looking to achieve, the student then gets assessed and placed on a path determined by someone else. 

We spend a lot of time reflecting on what we want in our lives, which can distract or overwhelm us, and often the result is that we lose the focus or discipline to carry through our desires and work towards achieving our goals and dreams.

The most effective process that I have found to help keep me focused is to write down my goals. By writing them down, it lets you to see all of your ideas in front of you and then allows you to assess what you want to accomplish. This process works exceptionally well for me and I would suggest that you do the following assessment .

Write a list of 10 things that you would love to accomplish 

Choose the 5 things off that list that interest you the most

For each of these 5 items, write 3 steps to assist you in achieving these goals

Choose  2 things from that list that you know you can accomplish easily

Do the first one, then immediately begin working on the second idea

Once you have accomplished these tasks, reward yourself and then begin to tackle the other things on your list.

The idea of writing this down is that it allows you to take the thoughts that are overwhelming you, therefore keeping you from accomplishing the things that you desire, and begin to see what you really want to accomplish in your life. 

Stay inspired, dream big and take the time to assess what you truly desire in your life. Allow others to guide you but don’t forget to trust your own instincts and assessments. By taking the time to write it down, you can begin your path to achieving what you are meant to be.

2 thoughts on “Assessments

  1. This is another thoughtful and thought-provoking offering, Michael, and I am grateful for this, as I have been for the others you have written.
    Ascertaining the true path of our hearts is often as difficult as it is necessary in order to live a fulfilled and fulfilling life. Our goals are too often, and from a very early age, tied to certain socially/culturally held values…accumulation of wealth as a reward for our abilities, for example…and become nefarious sirens that lure us onto the rocks of hollow dreams not suited to our soul’s true desire. As musicians we come to believe that fame and wealth are the distinguishing characteristics of the truly talented and that the pursuit of these outcomes are the most certain validations of our worth. If we strive for this but do not achieve it, then we are left to wonder how, and how deeply, we must be lacking. This is not, of course, true only for musicians nor artists in general but it is, rather, a pervasive moral crime that runs rampant in our culture whereby people are bombarded with the images and stories of what it looks like to be a truly worthwhile, exceptional and successful human being in a “one-size fits all” illusion of the goals of a well spent life. In the midst of this madness we lose our ability to hear our hearts and allow them to lead us towards, and then down, the path of authentic life and living which will, in turn and in time, allow us to fully realize our deep potentials in our beautifully unique and diverse expressions. Personally, I struggle often with the regrets of not choosing, or sticking to, what I have known to be the more noble aspirations of my soul and instead chasing the accolades and validations that are held up as those bestowed on the worthy among us. I have experienced many grand and fulfilling moments as well as learning many lessons in these misguided journeys, which is of some consolation in retrospect. They have, nonetheless, been journeys away from my honest soul’s desires and the paths that would likely have lead me to greater fulfillment and growth. The necessary mantra at this stage of life seems very often to be “It’s never too late” as I continue to wrestle with feelings and thoughts of having “missed the bus” and committing myself as often as required to trying to hear the truth of my heart and follow where it calls me to go despite the fears and insecurities that are always necessary features of the landscape of a truthful and purposeful journey.
    Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with us. Wishing you all the best in your journey!

    1. Thank you. I really appreciate your sentiment and your thoughts in this. We have both been through many different scenarios and situations in our own lives while looking for our purpose and I hope that all of your experiences have lead you down the path that truly brings you joy.

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