You're Not Your Job And You Shouldn't Be Completely Consumed By It
I’m a big advocator of finding and following your passions. But who isn’t, right? Well, although most people may say their goal is to pursue their passions and follow their dreams, the fact is that most individuals either aren’t clear on what their passions actually are or they're too afraid of trying to live them.
The fear is completely unwarranted, of course. It’s not only a fear of failure that haunts us, but also a fear of having to give up our current lifestyle – giving up the things we enjoy doing or have made habits of doing – and adapting a new lifestyle.
It’s true that in order to be happier you must change the way you live. However, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to drown yourself in your work.
Even if your job defines you, it only defines part of you. Our real work isn’t done in the office; it’s what we do with our lives as a whole. The work you do, your main passion, doesn’t necessarily need to be your only passion. In fact, it’s recommended that it isn’t.
I believe a happy life is a well-rounded, balanced life. I can’t say this goes for everyone; I have heard of people being rather happy as one-minded and putting all their eggs into one basket. But I wouldn’t recommend it.
Life has a whole lot to offer if you allow yourself to take advantage of it. But you have to actually take advantage of it. This poses another difficult problem; too much of a good thing, or too many good things, does result in an unpleasant outcome.
Our minds aren’t built to juggle too many problems or too many focuses at once. We are really only able to focus on one thing at a time. And while most people think of this as literally focusing on a task or object, we can only focus on one reality at a time, as well.
The life you live can be narrated as a story. In fact, that’s what life is: a story you’re writing as you go. Now, you may think no one is reading this story, but the fact is, you are reading it constantly as you go and, more importantly, you are re-reading it regularly.
The things you do and experience create memories that later affect your decision-making. The person you are now, what you are thinking and feeling is the most recent link in the chain of your existence.
The life you have lived highly influences the life you are going to live. It’s what you believe to be the reality of the world. All the little pieces that make up your life, that make up your story, are the reality you are focused on.
If this is a reality you aren’t happy with, then you have to lose focus of it entirely and create a new focus from the bottom up. This is not an easy thing to do, but with enough dedication and willpower, it can be done.
What discourages most people from making this drastic change is, once again, fear. People believe that the life they think will make them happy will, at the same time, make them unhappy.
They covet the idea of being wealthy, successful, diligent, healthy and intelligent, but believe that getting to that state and staying in that state isn’t worth the tradeoff – the tradeoff being that there isn’t room for all our habits in that particular reality of living.
We are under the notion that succeeding in living the lives of our dreams requires us to give up all the things we consider to be fun. This, however, isn’t true. You are not your job. Your job is only one part of you.
Fun should always be a part of life. If life isn’t fun and enjoyable, then why bother living it? The truth is, the life of your dreams does not require as much sacrifice as people would like you to believe.
The only thing you’re actually sacrificing is the lifestyle you have grown accustomed to. You will have to give up a lot of things you believe to be very enjoyable, only to find other things you find to be even more enjoyable.
It’s not about downgrading the pleasure you get out of life, but finding more pleasure in the things you have room for in your new life. You don’t have to give up everything to follow your passions and pursue the line of work you want to pursue.
In fact, if you can’t be happy living the life you believe you want to live, then you need to sit down and rethink things. A life you can’t live happily isn’t a life you want to live. If that really is the case, then you need to reevaluate your life and your goals.
Just be sure that you have a clear understanding of the life you are signing up for. Be sure you are clear on what you will be giving up and what you will be gaining.
This is difficult to do on our own, so reaching out to others who are now in the position we want to be in is a good idea. Make sure to take what they say with a grain of salt, as well – just because they are living the life you are pursuing doesn’t mean they are living it correctly.
Remember, just as you will find those seemingly miserable with their careers, you’ll find other individuals loving theirs.
Some people get lost in their work and suffer for it while others are capable of balancing their lives. This can only be done by removing the waste in your life and filling that space with things that matter, things that add to your life.
Your job is not enough to make your life fulfilling; humans don’t work that way. We are always in search of something greater and more meaningful. Our work is a part of it, but not the whole story.
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