Written in February 2016.
Health before productivity. Choose your health.
This sentiment has been lost in the corporate shuffle that is our modern world. We are witness to the workaholic CEO that says, “I would work 30 hours a day if it were possible.” Whoa! Really! I would work ZERO hours a day if it were possible. But, isn’t it?
We all dream of finding that perfect ‘job’ that fits with our passions and doesn’t feel like work when we show up every day. My reality and I wouldn’t doubt that others share this feeling, is that my ideal, dream job might not currently exist anywhere. So, it is up to me to create it. Just because what I want to spend my time doing is not readily available certainly does not mean that I should alter my passions, dreams, and goals to fit into a corporate job that leaves me feeling overstressed and under-satisfied.
We are the creators of our own destinies. And the prospect of creating my own job, developing my own ‘work’, and feeding my desire to do something groundbreaking is extremely exciting. After all, what is exciting about fitting into a previously defined box, circle, rectangle, or whatever shape they want you to fit? For me, there’s not much excitement associated with that idea. Sure, some jobs sound cool or fun to try out. But, my experience tells me that I will not find that true level of satisfaction that I am searching for until I figure out how to create the work that I want to do.
As we get older, our world slowly kills or stymies our creativity and forces us to place our passions on the back burner in the pursuit of financial security and a healthy social standing. Some of us are forced into these responsibilities as a result of poor past decisions. Relationships, kids, peer pressure to move up in the workplace and many other factors cause us to reduce the number of chances they take, to play it safe in the hopes of finally finding relaxation and happiness upon retirement.
Sweet, when I’m 60 I’ll finally be able to do what I’ve actually wanted to do for my entire life. When my body is breaking down, I’m not as physically fit or able as I was when I was in my 20s and 30s, then I’ll do all the crazy, fun, adventurous things that I’ve always wanted to do. Unfortunately, this doesn’t end up working out for many. By the time we get to retirement, we are beaten up and broken down from doing passionless work our entire lives and all we want to do is sit at home, or on the beach, and do absolutely nothing!
But we should be able to spend time doing nothing whenever we want. After all, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. You don’t have to do anything! And, yes, doing nothing involves a certain unfounded and unnecessary level of societal judgment or, rather, perceived societal judgment. We stop ourselves from doing what we truly want to do because of a perceived judgment from other people. I want to travel, live frugally, find employment when and where it’s possible, and write as much as I can about life, love, happiness, travel, tourism, and whatever else sparks my fancy.
But, sometimes, I feel bad about this. Sometimes I tell myself that my dream lifestyle is not possible because of the societal pressures that I’ve been exposed to all my life that tell me I need to get a good, steady job with solid benefits, put in my time, slowly move up the ladder, and, by the time I’m 40 or 50, maybe I’ll finally be doing a job that I want to do. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t sound like a great plan to me. It sounds like a waste of the next 25-30 years of my life is what that sounds like. And, ultimately, we never know how much time we are given here on this beautiful Earth. Wasting any of that precious time is one of the worst things that we can do in life.
Do what you want, be who you want to be, have confidence in yourself to make it where you are trying to go, and, most of all, love yourself and everyone around you throughout the entire process. Living with love and hope is much more satisfying in the long-term than living in fear and seeking comfortable safe spaces. Take risks, experiment with your passions, and live unhindered. You will find ways to make money through your passions.
Money does not rule our universe. We rule our universe. We have the power and control to make the changes that we wish to make. It just takes dedication to ourselves, our health, and our happiness. It takes a relentless unwillingness to succumb to the societal pressures that are all around us every day. It takes strength and perseverance. It takes a commitment to go against the grain and finding our own path. And, if we can do this, it will bring about a deep sense of satisfaction and gratitude. Something that I was told playing high school football comes back to me here. I won’t be able to directly quote it so I’ll paraphrase:
“Always give it 110%, even if you’re unsure about your choice, commit to your decision with all you’ve got. Even if you make a mistake, make that mistake at 110% because, if you do so, you will always be able to find satisfaction and learning from that experience. Even if you fail, you gave it your absolute best shot and, most likely, you learned something incredibly useful from that experience. At the end of the day, giving your best effort, either in success or failure, is something that you should always be able to be proud of.”