How I started figuring out what I want in life (and a question for you at the end)
Nick Sunday, July 3, 2016
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I have been through a lot of ups and downs in my life.
I’ve been married and divorced, had my son, been through lots of job troubles over the years, and am now finally at a point where I’m starting to stabilize things.
Through it all, I’ve tried many different methods of goal setting and achieving those goals, some of which worked, and most which have not. I’ve tried affirmations, law of attraction, and various other metaphysical ways of trying to bring what I wanted at the time into my life, but the one problem I always had was that most of these amounted to wishing about it and my analytical brain eventually told me each time that wishing and luck wasn’t the way to go.
The other problem that I always had is what I usually wanted wasn’t so much for me, but for someone else. It was something my wife or girlfriend at the time wanted or later something my son wanted. I could never see the point of a lot of it because if we’re all going to die eventually anyways, why do all this hard work for something that is so fleeting?
I’ve thought like this for years and still struggle with it some today. The difference now though is a simple decision on my part. Here is how it goes in my head:
“If there is no real point to life, then that means that ultimately we decided our own purpose. Our purpose can be to work for 40 years and die after a few years of retirement and live a “normal” life or we can decide to be abnormal and work to make our lives based on our own joy and happiness.”
The hard parts to this for most people is:
1. Thinking that it’s even possible to break out of the mold society has us in.
2. Thinking that we deserve more than the people around us think they deserve.
3. Realizing that just because we have something, it won’t take away from others if we are creating value for what others are giving us value for.
4. Figuring out what gives them joy and happiness.
I had to go through all four of these barriers to get my mindset where it is now and actually start taking action not just for those around me, but for myself as well.
The first point wasn’t too hard for me. I’ve always been a bit of an odd duck like that and I quickly realized in my teens and early 20s that I wouldn’t ever completely fit in to most societal norms. I often think that I was born 10-15 years to early as the people who I generally fit in with best are younger nerds (like myself) who also don’t really worry about fitting in and are proud of their intelligence.
Likewise, point three for me was a pretty easy one. After all, when you build a house, you create new value on the land it’s built on and give value to the people who do the work and provide the materials, but you still have the value of the house there as well. Value can be created just like a tree can be grown. That was logical to me.
It was points two and four that gave me the problems.
I could sometimes think of different things that I wanted, but pretty much never took the initiative to do anything to get them unless it was an immediate thing, something I could go out and get right then. I was generally happy just sitting around after work watching TV or doing things with my son.
The truth is, I wasn’t necessarily happy, but just happy enough. I’ve fought long and hard to get back to a level of stability in my life due to a number of bad mistakes that I’ve made. I’m scared to risk that stability.
What I finally realized though is that while I did have moments of happiness, I also had a ton of stress and a lot of times where I was miserable and putting on a happy face because lots of people live this was and what right did I have to be different?
I kept thinking about this over and over. There was something about it that just didn’t click logically, but I couldn’t place it.
My logical fallacy was that I could choose to change things any time I wanted. It wouldn’t necessary be immediate and I may have to work for a long time to make things better, but if I didn’t do something to make the change no one else would.
If I wanted to be able to show my son some of the nice things and places I have been able to see and experience through my work, then I had to change, I had to do the work to get us there, because normal people don’t do stuff like that.
Even more so, if I wanted to keep experiencing new places and get rid of the massive stress of my job, I had to do the work necessary to find another way.
My problems on points two and four started melting away the more I thought in this way. I’ve also found that the best way for them to be kept at bay is by taking action on those thoughts. Doing just a little bit every day as much as I can.
I’m now planning a vacation with my son to Chicago this year (already got it booked and paid for), San Francisco next, and am stretching right now to figure out a way to get us to Australia for a month the year after that.
Work is as stressful as ever and day to day problems still abound, but having something to work towards makes things a little better. I’m no longer just looking at how to get my head above water like I have for so many years, but am looking at what I can do to really enjoy the life I have and enjoy my time with my son before he grows up. I’m not even close to where I want to be yet, and honestly I’m scared about what things might be like when I’m there, but I know that I have to at least try it if I want to have a chance for my life to be happier.
Now my questions:
What is it in your life that you see holding you back? What have you already overcome? What are you doing to make your life better? How can I help?
Hi! I'm Nick!
I've worked in both IT and Sales over the past 20 years and have had to study human psychology and personal development to help with both. As a manager, I've used these skills to help grow my team from what I've learned myself and helping others to grow over my time in these two professions. Now I'm here to help you!