It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by modern life. We don’t have enough time, there’s too much to do, self-sabotage and comparison kick in, then everybody ends up suffering from stress or anxiety. It is up to each one of us as individuals to take control of our destiny, start living with intention and do the things that bring us joy in life. This might sound like a fairly major undertaking, but what can you do to start living the life you want?
Is It All About A Career Path?
The fact is we spend one-third of our lives working which would mean that if we were to get this right, then we’re pretty much sorted, right? It’s certainly beneficial to find a career that challenges you and makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something at the end of each day, but we have to prepare ourselves for the fact that it can take some time to develop.
A lot of people want to avoid the traditional 9 to 5 working life, instead opting to start a small business, or working part-time whilst building up their side-hustle. Best-selling Author Timothy Ferriss has written extensively about escaping the 9-5 in his book the 4-Hour Workweek, well worth a read. If you’re in the phase of juggling several jobs whilst developing your side passion, then Marie Forleo has spoken around this in several of her Marie TV episodes. It’s worth watching her episode on ‘How to Pursue Your Side Hustle Without Risking Everything’ where she speaks to callers and offers some great advice.
There’s so much online about becoming an entrepreneur and ‘taking the leap’ but this path does not come without its own challenges, pitfalls, instability and stresses. Fortunately there are so many great resources online that can help guide you in the right direction. You can go to the Aston Online business university and do a course in business administration, which can give you a knowledgable foundation of how to manage some elements of your potential venture. Choosing a career path that you’re passionate about is a great place to start in working towards living the life that you want-even if your juggling several side jobs for a few years whilst you build up your business!
Taking Pleasure In The Small Things
When we scroll through Instagram or Facebook and start that downward spiral of self-sabotage and comparison, thinking who are these people living these perfect lives? this sort of mindset can be detrimental to our happiness. Social Media Maven Katherine Ormerod is working on an anti-perfectionism project to reveal and explore the non-edited challenges that women face behind the fantasy of social media. I recently saw Katherine speak at TED Manchester and her talk really resonated. Katherine has also written a book ‘Why Social Media Is Ruining Your Life’ which explores the pressure-cooker of comparison and unrealistic levels of perfectionism that social media has created.
Living the life that we want is not about achieving perfection or grandiose statements, in fact what might be the key to living the life that you want is something that’s right in front of you all along. Appreciating our family, friends, pets and loved ones is a great place to start living the life that you want. When we look back on our life or we look at things that happened in the past- it can be those little moments that didn’t mean anything at the time, but now we’ve acquired a certain fondness for.
It’s the little things that make up our everyday happiness. Take a moment everyday to practice gratitude, it only has to be the odd thought or second when you’re sat with someone that you love to just feel gratitude for that very moment. You can read my previous post on ‘5 ways to practice gratitude’ for more simple ideas.
Not Feeling Bound By Pressure
Living the life we want is something that we feel we’ve got to get done right away, putting ourselves under this pressure and feeling rushed, might not make for the best decision making. It’s far better for us to take time to discover what we want.
We can feel pressure in so many ways, the pressure to have children, to settle down, or to get the right job, get on the property ladder, save for retirement, this list is endless. These pressures can mean that we have a very skewed perception of what is important in our lives.
It’s far better for you to take your time and really think about what you want. While everybody around you is getting married or having children and you decide to step back from that, some people may look at you with a raised eyebrow. It’s far better for you to take your time and really think about what you want.
Famed Author Bronnie Ware looked after dying patients for many years and published an article listing the regrets she heard most often from those so close to the end of their lives. The Number 1. regret was ‘I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me’ Bronnie has since published a book ‘Regrets of the Dying’ and expanded on her experiences. Take your time, be gentle with yourself.
Your Life’s Purpose Will Evolve
When we think about our life’s purpose, it’s not one almighty thing that covers our entire existence. Our life changes, and as such, our purpose will alter. If you are someone who is on the lookout for the next challenge, or you agonise about what will make you truly happy in the core of your bones, you might be missing the point. It’s far better for every single one of us to avoid this pressure, and take life as it comes. In many ways, living the life that you want is about appreciating the little things, being true to ourselves and grabbing opportunities when and where you can, but it’s also about giving yourself that breathing space to let it go if something hasn’t gone right.
We can get derailed, whether it’s through grief or a relationship ending and these things can cloud our life for some time. There are so many people that feel that they have a run of bad luck and maybe it’s more about viewing these things as challenges? Some people look back on their lives and feel that all they had was bad luck. But is this a really productive attitude to have? Or some of us will feel that we didn’t fulfil our potential. It’s something that’s been said a million times, but you are in control of your own life and if you want to try something, why don’t you? Try it, and if you don’t like it, then at least you’ve tried.
If we stress about finding the “right” career, thinking that it will make is happy, when we get there and realise that we just want the next challenge, and the next one, and the next one, we will forever find life to be an insurmountable entity. As we progress through this adventure called life, things will change. People come into our lives and they also leave, and we can begin to feel that the land shifts beneath our feet and our life takes various twists and turns. The late American comedian Bill Hicks said “it’s just a ride” Perhaps living the life that we want begins with having gratitude for those seemingly unremarkable moments we spend with our loved ones, by making decisions that suit us and not comparing ourselves or being swept along by societal pressures?
‘Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness’ -Bronnie Ware