I first started thinking about conveyor belt living towards the middle of my decade long career in the City. What I am referring to is a tendency to follow a somewhat preordained path in life, not dissimilar to being on a conveyor belt. The path is inevitably shaped by our socioeconomic and educational backgrounds. The danger here is not being on the conveyor belt per se, but rather being on it unconsciously, without having wholeheartedly willed it.
For example, those of us who have been fortunate enough to benefit from ‘good’ schooling, often find ourselves seeking ‘good’ universities and then ‘good’ jobs. Over the years, we buy into the idea that we SHOULD do certain things because that is what is expected. Traditional education has a lot to do with this, being steeped in ideas from the industrial revolution, intent very much on preparing a workforce rather than nurturing human potential.
What ever happened to the idea of pursuing one’s passions? I am struck by how our childhood dreams are driven out of most of us. We are conditioned into making decisions based on fear and insecurity, rather than by asking ourselves what we would really love to do in life.
The key in all of this is self awareness, along with the courage to take action. Whether we get off the conveyor belt or not, the crucial question is – have we made a conscious decision or are we just passive participants? Some of us may have more flexibility than others in making these difficult life decisions, but we always have a choice. We owe it to ourselves to take stock and create the lives we want!