A guest post by Terry Heath
“Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas.” ~ Paula Poundstone, American Comedienne
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~ E.E. Cummings, American Poet
I’ve met many adults who still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up.
If I asked you, you might search for the one thing you think you want to do with your life. Or if you are adventurous you might say something like, “First I’ll be this thing, then I’ll be that, but eventually I want to be another entirely different thing.”
Most of us thought we would have figured out an answer by now.
But have you ever considered you might be able to find the answer by paying a visit to your friendly neighborhood ice cream shop?
Ice cream cones have something to teach us about growing up.
Walk through the door with me. Can you smell the waffle cones? They’re fresh made and waiting to be filled with your favorite flavors of ice cream.
Today you’re going to fill one of those fresh cones with three scoops. What flavors will you chose?
Notice I’m assuming you’ll select more than one, everybody does. Variety is the whole point of a triple scoop ice cream cone. You’ll order three different flavors, and together they’ll make something wonderful.
Together they’ll create synergy, the thing that happens when one plus one equals three.
Sure you’ve thought about synergy before. It’s one of the great buzzwords of our time, an often-used battle cry of business gurus and motivational speakers. It’s used in team building exercises, and these days I hear it’s even associated with corporate downsizing.
Oh sure, you could pick just one flavor of ice cream and maybe you would be perfectly happy. But you wouldn’t get to experience the synergy of three totally different flavors joined together to create heaven in a waffle cone.
Now let me break this down a bit before we move on. One flavor of ice cream is nice, but no synergy. Two flavors, maybe a little bit of synergy starting there. But stack three flavors together and you have a triple-scoop, waffle-cone enhanced trip to heaven.
That could be like your grown-up life.
When we’re filling a waffle cone with ice cream, do we feel compelled to take our flavors one at a time? No, we pick as many as we can stash in our cone and generally feel pretty good about it.
So why are we uncomfortable pursuing a few of our many divergent interests at the same time? We know putting a combination of ice cream flavors in our waffle cone will create something unique and wonderful, so why not allow ourselves the same freedom allowing our varied interests a place in our lives?
What would happen if we let two or three of those things we love, or think we might love, be our “big thing” . . . all at the same time?
Synergy would happen.
“Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone.” ~ Jim Fiebig
In life we seem to think dropping scoops is part of the game, a part of growing up. We may even equate “growing up” with settling on one particular flavor. But is it really okay to let any part of yourself fall by the wayside?
We could look back on our lives someday and say, “That was a really great ice cream cone.”
Related articles by Mary Jaksch:
What is the One Thing in Your Life?