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The Pursuit of Happiness – Following your Bliss

“Do this, not that”.

“Be this, not that”.

“You’ll never make it doing that”.

“Why are you chasing a foolish dream?”

Unfortunately, many people are bombarded with statements like these from a very young age. Virtually everyone has at least one story to tell of someone in their life that told them how they should live their life, and what they should do and/or be without any consideration for what the recipient wants for themselves.

Unfortunately, the fallout from this kind of behavior is significant. In that it plants the seeds of fear & doubt within the subconscious of the recipient, which continue to grow over the years into adulthood.  A person may not even be aware of it for some time as the effects can show up in other ways, such as when a person rationalizes away the things they want.  This can then ultimately cause lifelong apprehension toward trying or doing anything new beyond what is deemed “acceptable” in the minds of those in the affected person’s life.

How does this then translate into affecting a person’s career? Well, if a person ultimately becomes afraid of pursuing a career path that is considered “unacceptable” by the people in their life (parents, siblings, friends, etc.) they will ultimately fall into the trap of doing what they think they “have to do” to please everyone else instead of realizing that they should be following what they are passionate about.

Afterward, it happens and time again, many people who reach a certain point in life come to have significant regret when it comes to the career that they chose. They then may find themselves living the rest of their lives in a swirling in a pool of – “what if”?  This is a tortuous way to live, and many people have missed their callings in life (and yes, a person can have more than one calling) due to the negative influences of those around them.

So, how can this situation be avoided and/or mitigated? Well, there are several steps a professional can take to help themselves.  However, it must be noted that these steps will require a lot of courage and tenacity, but always remember, it is ultimately YOUR life, and you are responsible for its direction, or lack thereof.

Tips & Techniques – Passion for Life

  • Do Your Homework

Remember that you still have to make a living, so before you embark on any professional endeavor/career path, you must learn as much about it as possible.  This can include taking classes, going to seminars, doing research, talking to mentors in the field, etc.  In this age of technology and instant information, there are no excuses for a lack a preparation, so start digging into it.

Also, remember that almost nothing is ever in a straight line, and you will find that some things are not what you thought they would be.  So be prepared to make adjustments to your plans when necessary as being flexible can save you a lot of stress on the journey.

  • Be Honest with Yourself

Many say that – “honesty is the best policy”. And it is true, however usually this saying is used in reference to a person being honest when dealing with others.  But it should be noted that being honest with yourself is key as well.

However, since many people bury the truth and continue to live in their illusions, this step is one of the toughest things that a person can face – their own bad choices and/or disregard for their own well-being in order to please other people.

Now it is true that taking charge of your own life and its direction can be daunting. Particularly if you have been surrounded by domineering and negative people for much of your life.  So always remember that if people truly care about you, then they will support you in a well thought out career path/endeavor (by doing your homework as described in point #1).

So, if a person in your life continues to be negative even after you have demonstrated a clear, effective plan of action to achieve your goals, then you must proceed to minimize or remove that person’s influence from your life.  You see, what these negative individuals fail to realize is that when a person is doing what they are truly passionate about, it doesn’t feel like work.  That individual doing what they love could have a thousand things to do every day, which would appear overwhelming to the outside observer.  But instead of feeling overwhelmed, that person will feel incredibly happy, and isn’t that the point in life, to be happy?

So, quite bluntly, anyone who tells you be something or someone other than who you are is a person who doesn’t belong in your life. If this does happen to you, don’t let it get you down, you are not responsible for other people’s happiness.  Instead, be positive and let it motivate you to be even better, and show all the nay-sayers just what it means to succeed.

  • Put your Heart into It

There are many times where it seems that people have become major successes overnight.

In this age of instant gratification, this in turn has caused many people to become enamored with the fantasy of immediate success with everything. While immediate success does happen to a select few, it should be remembered that it is a VERY rare occurrence.

The belief in this illusion subsequently causes many individuals to fail to realize just how much commitment it takes to follow their passions. This is the crux point for many professionals, and it goes hand in hand with the point of being honest with yourself, that is – Do you want something bad enough to put in all of the required work?

Before you begin the pursuit, you must be able to answer this question honestly. If you ultimately find you aren’t ready for something yet, that’s OK.  Then put your energy into doing what will get you ready.  Anything less would be a waste of your time, and since time is the most precious thing we have been given, make sure you don’t waste any of it.

  • Gather your Tribe

It’s time now to repeat this phrase – It is NOT weak to ask for help.  Remember that no one can do it alone, and no one person knows it all.  So, it is imperative that you seek the support/mentoring and insight of individuals who are working toward goals similar to yours, and/or those who have already achieved what you are seeking to do.

That said, truthfully, in this age of technology with so much information available, there simply can be no excuses for not finding support. The only major obstacle would be a person’s own fear of reaching out.  So, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

  • Be in Control, without Controlling

There are times where you will have to trust others to do their part in order to get what you want. If you continually try to force things to happen, it will only cause things to backfire and alienate the very people who are helping you.  So, keep lines of communication open, set due dates, and seek regular updates when necessary.  Just be sure to give those working with you enough time & space to get things done.

  • Don’t get Stuck in Transition

This statement seems like a paradox at first. How can a person be stuck when the word transition means movement?

Well, it happens much more often than people think. For example, a person may be working a particular job while trying to figure out exactly what they want to do, or they could be working a job they don’t like in order to get the money they need to pursue their passions.  This is fine up to a point.

Where it becomes a problem is when a person gets so caught up in the day-to-day work, they seemingly forget about their long-term goals. In the blink of an eye, they then suddenly realize that time has flown by, and passed them by in some cases.

Let’s give a pop culture example. In one of the later seasons of the famous television show Friends, the character of Rachel (played by Jennifer Aniston) has a heated discussion with her boss about her lack of waitressing skills in the coffee house where she works, even after she has been working there for quite some time.  This leads her to ask herself the question – “What am I still doing here?”  In that moment, she suddenly realized that her goals of working in the fashion world had completely slipped away.

This realization then prompts her to quit waitressing and go find a job at Bloomingdale’s, helping people choose fashions that suit them. In later seasons, she moves even further up the Corporate Ladder.

While this may seem like just a plotline in a show, it is very real occurrence.  To avoid this trap of losing time, always keep your goals in mind, and tell yourself each day – “I am now one day closer to achieving my goals”.  This kind of positive reinforcement will ultimately help keep you focused and upbeat.

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