Living the Life you want.
My friend is a very qualified business graduate. After getting a Masters in International Business Management, he went on to work in a big company and placed his hand on the first rung of the career ladder. And he has been climbing ever since. He works nights most of time, getting home at 11 pm or 12 am, and starting again at 8 am, sometimes earlier. He even works a lot of weekends. And he is not happy. Meeting him for coffee on the rare days that he has some time off would usually include a lamentation of how he would like to at least have some semblance of a personal life. As it stands, his best friends at the moment are his coffee mug and his desktop computer, with his work files coming in behind them as very close acquaintances.
Does that sound familiar?
All of life is the pursuit of happiness. Well, you get what I mean. Everyone is looking to be happy and to feel fulfilled and to be fulfilled, you need a sense of purpose. If you’re happy working day in and day out till the cows come home, then more power to you and your passion!
But, what if you’re not and you’re doing it anyway because you’re “supposed to”.
If you’re tired of the corporate grind and want to try something new to elevate your happiness and motivation levels, why not try Lifestyle Design?
Lifestyle design is a simple concept in theory and it comprises of designing a lifestyle that you can be happy with; be it by making changes to said lifestyle or by altering your thoughts about it.
The Big-Ticket Questions
Perhaps the first thing to realise is that, usually, you don’t have to lead the life that everyone else is. As they always say, the first step to recovery is to acknowledge that you have a problem. So if you don’t know where to start, start here.
As your self these questions and answer as truthfully as you can:
- What excites you?
- What do you love to do most?
- Where would you most like to do it?
- Who would you most like to do it with?
- What do you want to achieve in the world?
- What sort of impact on people do you hope to make?
And these should help you get started on understanding what kind of life would make you happy, or what is missing in your current setup.
If it’s Necessary, Then Quit
Quit whatever it is that’s holding you back. Be it a habit, a job, a social situation. It is important to draw the distinction here between being fickle and giving up too easily, and knowing when to walk away. One way to start figuring it out is just ask yourself “is this making me miserable?” And then followed by “why am I doing it?” You could also add “is it worth it?” on top of it all.
There are some situations that are losing battles. And instead of throwing in more of yourself to the sunk cost, you need to know when it is time to walk away. Quitting doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a failure, nor does it mean that you’re giving up. Sometimes it can mean that you’re wise enough to know when you need to move on and strong enough to do it.
Fear and Indecision
“To be, or not to be: that is the question…” We are mostly familiar with Hamlet’s famous lament of indecision. But this fear does not just grip Danish princes in the throes of introspection.
Uncertainty and the possibility of failure loom very large indeed in most of our minds. And many have and will continue to choose unhappiness over uncertainty. In that situation, often the greatest fear that is holding us back is “what if the new thing is much, much worse than my current situation?”
But take a step back and look at it. What is the worst-case scenario if you do quit your dreary routine of a job and stake it out on your own? Worst-case your venture fails and you find yourself on your ass, without a job. You’re not going to be unemployable, certainly. It’s not like you were caught embezzling millions and are now attempting to apply for a position in a charity, handling millions.
(And if you are, then perhaps you might want to try for a different line of work; like investment banking)
Jokes aside, usually the worst-case scenario isn’t as bad as you think it is. This quote has been thrown around in various forms, and it says that fear of the thing is often worse than the thing itself.
So try not to lose yourself in your fears and be smart and organised about it. Think it through. Ask yourself:
1. Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what your are considering. What doubt, fears, and "what-ifs" pop up your consider the big changes you can, or need to, make?
2. What steps could you take to repair the damage or geht things back on the upswing, even if temporarily?
3. What are the outcome or benefits, both temporary and permanent, of more probable scenarios?
4. If you were fired from your job today, what would you do to get things under financial control?
5. What are you putting off out of fear?
6. What is it costing you, financially, emotionally, and physically, to postpone action?
7. What are you waiting for?
Point of View
What then if none of the above apply, and you’re still unhappy? There are some things that can’t be helped, some things we have to do or we cannot change. Then Lifestyle Design tells us that we need to change our way of thinking about it. Oftentimes, our misery is also caused by the way we perceive our challenges or responsibilities.
At the risk of oversimplifying things, happiness comes from within. And sometimes, what you seek cannot be found outside of yourself. It must come from you. Perhaps it is a continuous search for acceptance of yourself, or an insatiable thirst for power you are trying to quench. That in itself can be a losing battle that you need to be wise enough to walk away from.
Sometimes, the solution isn’t out there, it is inside you.
So perhaps now you can take that gander and venture into the unknown. Could that be your path to living the life that you want?