Create A Life You Love

Oct 22, 2012 by

Early on in my professional career I worked with a guy who everyone thought was a beast, a true company man.

He had been with the company for over 20 years at the time, and while its true that I would have certainly taken my own life before staying in that particular job anywhere near that long, I still had to admire the long term dedication and commitment he showed.

He was always the first guy in the office in the morning and the last to leave at night.

Literally no matter what ungodly time you showed up, thinking you were getting in early to catch up on some things - he was already there.

It was uncanny.

We all thought - here's a guy who truly loves his job!

Correction: that's what they all thought, I actually felt like he was so far up the bosses ass that someone needed to hurry up and tie a rope around his feet before we lost him for good.

But we digress...

Our company Christmas party rolled around one year and naturally, someone spiked the punch bowl. Towards the end of the night I found myself sitting by the bar where I had the 'pleasure' of involuntarily talking at length to our suddenly unusually chatty friend.

Amidst a torrent of semi slurred words, regrettable breath and occasional Tourette like exclamations of 'man love', I came to understand that about the only thing in life he hated more than his goddamn job was his goddamn wife!

In reality the poor bastard was always at the office because he simply hated going home.

It was a strikingly sad and profound revelation, but one which taught me many things about life.

In fact the lessons I learned from considering his situation are probably far too numerous to expound upon here in just this one article, but the following is a portion of what I took away from his plight:

In a free society such as ours, true misery still exists, but it is often the product of personal inertia, indecision and weakness more than anything else.

Even with all the autonomy in the world at his disposal to do with his life as he would please, he was spending 90% of his existence going back and forth between two environments he hated.

His life had become very much like a prison, with invisible walls made of societal expectations, self doubts and crushed dreams - and he was evidently resigned to the fact that he was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
 

The thing that stuck with me the most about his situation was that last bullet point.

The poor guy was miserable and presumably he knew why, but was powerless to make the necessary changes and bring his life back to a happy place. 

I've always believed that we are all uniquely responsible for our own happiness; yet unfortunately too often I see people falling into the trap of living a life they hate. 

The thing is - it really doesn't have to be that way!

I have a philosophy that every second spent in a miserable life situation is wasted time unless you're actively taking steps to change your conditions to something more to your liking.

 How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. – Anne Frank

They say life is short.

I say not necessarily - not if your every waking moment feels exactly like being locked down in a Turkish prison while chained to an unbelievably flatulent donkey - because then my friends, then life is long, life is veeerrryyy llloooonnnngggg indeed!

We all know that sometimes the cosmos can have a mind of its own. Maybe things won't always go the way you'd like or turn out as you originally planned. It doesn't take much for a person to look around and find themselves in a place that is just not right for them.

It also doesn't take much for complacency to set in and you find yourself passively playing out your days like a hand of spades where all you have are hearts, diamonds and clubs and none of your cards have faces on them. The analogy ends there though because life is not a game of cards is it? When you run out of cards you can always play another game but when you run out of days its literally game over; clearly then, the passive and complacent approach is ill suited as a life improvement tactic.

So if you find yourself in a rut, unhappy with the direction your life is headed or just in desperate need of a change for the better, remember you have the ability to make what you will of your life. The most important thing is realizing that fact and then overcoming inertia by taking action to move in a more positive direction. 

Begin at the beginning.
Identify the root cause of your unhappiness. Write down everything about your life that you feel needs to change in order for you to fully enjoy your path.

Make a plan.
Once you've honestly assessed your situation and determined where you want to be, you need to decide how exactly you can change course and take yourself from Point A, where you find yourself currently, to Point B, which is where you would ultimately like to be.

Set your goals.
Any plan is only as good as the steps to complete it, your goals are those steps. When setting goals I like to work backwards a lot of the time, for instance if I hated my job, I would ask myself what job I would really love to do, then assess why I don't already have the dream job. Perhaps its because I'm not currently qualified. Then the first goal would be 'attain necessary qualifications for x job by x date'. The next goal would be to go get that job once I was qualified, and so on. Each of those major goals would need to have sub-steps or smaller goals along the way but you can see that there will always be things which you can do immediately to start moving yourself in the right direction, and other things which will have to wait or be dependent on the first steps in the process.

Live your life.
There is power to be found in taking responsibility for your own happiness, just by setting foot down the path of improvement - even if the ultimate goal is not something which can be realized overnight or even in a few months - you'll naturally begin to feel better about yourself and enjoy your life more, because now you're the steward of your own ship.

The real key is believing in yourself.

What could possibly be more important than actively creating a life that you love?

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