As a kid you’ve been told that you can be anything you want to become.
That the sky’s the limit and as long as you work hard enough and graduate from a good college, you’ll be just fine. That life will just hand you it’s gifts in the form of money, a job you love, and a wife that’s the envy of the world.
We’ve all been told this story countless of times.
But as we get older, things start to change.
The story starts to change.
It goes from ‘you can be anything you want to become’ to ‘you need to be realistic and get a job’. Or maybe even ‘you are a fool to think your dreams will come true’. I’ve always believed that one can only find their inner happy if they find the work that they love to do.
That without it, life wouldn’t have any other meaning or sense of joy.
And as much as doing work you actually enjoy would be the ideal situation for anyone who is currently in a job they hate, it is not always the case.
In fact, most people will attest to not having the slightest idea of what it is they enjoy doing the most, the work that they can’t live without – let alone to be already doing it. And being an optimist (well, sometimes) – I refuse to hold on to my previous belief.
In other words, what if I never get to do the work I love to do – what then?
Will I be destined to a life that is void of any meaning?
Does that mean that a life of fulfilment is simply not an option?
To some extent, maybe.
But in the grand scheme of things, I believe there is a lot more to life than your work. Let me take you back a few years…
The Happiest Person I’ve Ever Met
It was a Sunday morning.
I can still remember the sweet smell of fresh bread from the local bakery as the sun finally made it’s way out after a cold and rain-filled night.
They say that the rain is a blessing.
It’s Gods way of providing for our beautiful earth.
A world that is abundant with wealth.
A world that has enough resources to feed the entire world many times over.
And yet, there are people who starve while others profit.
The local bakery was open as always, and as I walked towards the fresh smell of baked goods I saw a familiar face. A man that I had crossed paths with many times. But it was the first time I had seen him like this.
He was calm and peaceful, perhaps even in a state of bliss.
What was he doing awake at 6 am?
And why was he so happy?
As it turned out, he would wake up at 6am everyday and tend to the plants in and around the building where I live… watering and trimming them.
Keep in mind that he wasn’t getting paid for this.
I should also mention that this man is homeless.
That’s where I had seen him before.
Tucked away in a box where dreams go to die.
But for this particular man, his box was his castle.
The less stuff he owned the more he was able to enjoy life.
He was happy.
A happiness that radiated far and wide, not unlike the smell of fresh bread and baked goods that reminds us of how beautiful our senses are. How blessed we are. This is a lesson we can all learn from. The simpler, the better.
The Common Thread
Over the years, the happiest people I’ve ever met were rarely the ones who did work they love. In fact, they weren’t even the ones with the most money.
The common thread between those who seemed to find meaning in their lives was a sense of pure joy and peacefulness that rooted from a deep passion for gratitude. They were thankful for both the good and the bad in their lives.
And if a thing wasn’t going the way they wanted to, they refused to let it bring them down – and would hold on to the firm belief that this is only happening to them because something better is coming their way.
They were rockstar optimists who saw every single thing in their lives as a blessing. Gratitude was an emotion they would practice on a daily basis.
And the more they would practice it, the easier it would be to use in their lives.
If we were to compare them to athletes – these guys would be the Michael Jordan’s and Christiano Ronaldo’s of the world, sporting rock hard abs and tightly defined muscles.
We’d be the flabby depressive manic who sits on the couch and watches TV all day. I guess nothing good ever comes easy.
And I guess that gratitude is never glamorised, unfortunately.
When Your Day Job Sucks
If there’s anything I’ve learnt from travelling the world and exploring different cultures, it’s that human beings are pretty much all the same.
Regardless of where you live or where you’re from – we all have the same emotions. And because of that, we all want the same things.
Enough food on the table…
A love that lasts…
If your work sucks, that’s ok.
It’s not the end of the world.
If you have the things above, then you’re better off than most people.
You should be grateful for that.
Sincere gratitude will make you a better person.
A happy person.
And hey, who says you can’t do work you love on your time off?
You can do anything you want to do.
And you can be anything you want to be.
And if your side-projects take off, then that’s amazing!
If they don’t, then at least you have food on the table and a stable internet connection! On your time off you can also:
Pursue your passions regardless if they make any money…
Love yourself more deeply…
Serve a purpose while you’re still here…
Spend time with family…
Participate at community centres…
Spend less time on Facebook…
You’re Not Special
Work in a traditional sense is a man made concept that benefits the wealthy.
I don’t think we were made to work in the way corporations have made us to believe. Eight hours is way too much of your time.
I’d rather watch Shark Tank with my wife and read a Seth Godin book.
Maybe even write this blog post for you.
Most of us have our priorities all wrong (including me).
We value money over people, and material things over compassion.
We need to shift our priorities.
And if that means you need to move into a smaller house – so be it.
If it means that you need to skip college altogether – even better.
Who gives a damn anyways?
At the end of the day, we will all be dead in the next sixty years – and the world would just move on without us.
Money doesn’t mean anything when you’re in the grave. Your kids would probably just spend it all on things that don’t matter. We’re just specs of dust in a universe that will continue to exist for billions upon billions of years.
We need to get over ourselves, because none of us are special.
But special? No no no.
There are over seven billion people who exist today.
Several other billions who have come and gone.
We’ve all been given the same two hands, the same two feet, and the same organs. The only difference might be our colour. But that doesn’t mean anything. We’re all the same. And we can do anything anyone else has done.
There are no geniuses out there.
Only people who work harder, who read more, and who think better.
Let’s think better.
And then we’ll get over ourselves.
Or at the very least, let’s just try to be grateful.
Then maybe life would start to make sense.
Maybe you wouldn’t mind being homeless.
Perhaps you’ll find joy in tending to plants.
Maybe that’s your calling.
But let’s just start with gratitude.
That way you’ll be fine.