“Yesterday I dared to struggle.
Today I dare to win.”
- Bernadette Devlin
How many hours per week you spend working at an unfulfilling job? How many hours you invest doing something you truly feel passionate about? The comparison of these two numbers might make the difference whether you live a long, vibrant, healthy life or die of a heart attack the morning after your retirement party.
So many people spend the majority of their precious time on the planet slaving away at a job they find totally depressing. Their one and only goal is to make money so they can acquire more stuff and perpetuate the illusion of material security. For many people, the time they spend away from their job involves compulsive behaviors such as shopping, eating, drinking, or gambling. They use these activities to distract themselves from the subtle inner voice that is constantly reminding them that they are free to pursue their passion, if and when they really want to.
It doesn’t help that they are immersed in a culture that re-enforces an imaginary gratification process called the American dream. Following the well-trodden path of the American dream will not make you happy. Sure, you may finally earn that picket fence or that shiny boat. But you’ll sit behind the fence or on the boat just as bored and frustrated as you are today in your meaningless occupation. If you don’t find a way to escape your boredom and frustration right NOW, you never will.
If everyone is free to create a job they love, why don’t they? Why are so many people stuck in a hamster wheel of dissatisfaction? I believe it has to do with the way a person thinks.
People who are not following their genuine aspirations are controlled by thoughts of fear, insecurity, doubt, and worry. They are preoccupied with survival and security. When fear is unconsciously controlling your actions, you’ll choose a life of frustration over happiness because the frustrated life always involves safer choices. “I might as well stay at this lousy job even though I hate it, because I’ve already been working here 15 years. I have seniority, benefits, and 4 weeks of vacation per year”. Fear is the number one reason that people don’t do what they really want to do. They’re afraid of losing what they have. They’re afraid of failure. They’re afraid of extra responsibility that comes with stepping out of the box. They’re afraid of what other people might think.
On the other hand, passionate people who are following their calling are courageous thinkers. They confront fearful thoughts and transmute them into confidence because they accept that the only true failure in life is the failure to try. They’d rather spend their entire lives following their deepest heart’s desire and fail rather than lie on their deathbed wondering “what if?” Thinking and acting courageously doesn’t mean they weren’t afraid to follow their heart; they just decided to feel the fear and do it anyway.
Many people are full of excuses in order to justify why they remain at jobs they hate. They think they have to “add more to themselves” in order to make the move. They require more experience, more education, more money or more time. They don’t see that Life is just waiting on them to jump in and learn as they go.
Innovators, entrepreneurs, and visionaries take advice from Nike and “Just Do It”. They realize that excuses are just a trick you play on yourself which postpones the life of your dreams into a future that never comes. Many of these people do not start out any more qualified than you are right now. All you need to be successful in your own way is an idea, and the courage to follow it. Why spend years working your way up the corporate ladder when you could make yourself CEO of your own company tomorrow morning?
The Delusion of a Happy Retirement
There is a cultural spell in our society which encourages the idea of working hard at an unfulfilling job until a point in time at which you “retire”. I don’t believe in retirement. The highest purpose of your presence on the planet has nothing to do with perpetuating a mediocre yet secure existence until some point in the future in which you finally get to enjoy your time. The highest purpose of your presence on the planet is to remember who you truly are, grow, evolve, experience Life from your unique perspective, and make a continual contribution by utilizing your unique talents and gifts to fulfill your life purpose. Following this path will thereby create an unending flow of abundance and joy, so it’s not something you’ll ever want to “retire” from.
I recently read a National Geographic article about several regions on the planet whose inhabitants share the longest life spans on earth. The common denominator is that the people in these locations are respected and valued as important contributors in their society. They have a purpose in their community. Yes, their diet and lifestyle is also a factor, but wouldn’t you be more motivated to take care of your physical body if you thought of it as the instrument you were given in order to fulfill a purpose? Wouldn’t your body also exhibit youth, health, and vitality if it were constantly immersed in a state of happiness?
Many people in North America are not happy because they slave away at lame jobs non-stop, banking away their leisure time for the day they turn 65. Doesn’t it make more sense to incorporate some free time and fun activities into the life that you’re living NOW? Innovative people find a way to earn a living doing what they love.
A lot of people who have postponed their personal fulfillment until retirement kick the bucket shortly after they retire anyway, because their heart is so depressed that it never got to experience the life that it yearned to live.
Funding Your Dream
If you have the courage to make the solid decision to pursue your calling, you’ll go through the phase of transition from giving up your old job to creating a new one. This is the most difficult part of the journey, a juncture at which point you’ll love what you’re doing but it’s not yet supporting you financially. Spend a few minutes each morning and realize that there is now a meaningful purpose behind your old unfulfilling job, which is to fund your dream. Therefore any work that you do will feel significant and important, which will give you more energy to put towards your passion. The biggest downfall in this phase is depleting your energy so much struggling at your lousy job that you fall back into old habits and put your new vision on the back burner.
This transformation may not happen overnight. How quickly you manifest success in your new life depends on the amount of inner work you do, not on the amount of your external action. Facing fears, dissolving old habits, visualizing the desired outcome, and raising your overall vibration will change your external reality more than drawing up six perfect business plans will. Your external world is a mirror that reflects the evolution of your internal world, so make your inner work number one on your to-do list.