All our lives we are told what we can’t do and what we have to do. It’s time to focus on what you can do and what you want to do. I’m not talking about a hedonistic life that is ‘all about me.’ I’m talking about living the kind of life that is most who you are. A life that is aligned by your values – the things that are most important to you.
But we are slaves to the system. Our lives don’t look the way we want them to. Many of us have jobs we don’t care about. We are over our heads in debt with stuff that doesn’t satisfy, and we would be doing something different if we could. If others could look inside of our heads they would see that we are dissatisfied, often unhappy, stressed, frustrated, even angry.
And yet life continues to pass by.
A Harvard Business report said that job satisfaction was at a 23 year low. Young adults are refusing to grow up with 32.1% still living with their parents. Antidepressant use has surged almost 400 percent in the last 10 years and a report that just came out on August 4th said, People living in the U.S. are less happy than before the recession.
So who is in control?
“Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? ~ T. S. Eliot
Now, most people will say there are external reasons for this: not enough money, wages aren’t keeping up with inflation, we are stressed and leaning on games and gadgets, we are tired, we are scared, the world is an unsafe place, etc. And while these things may be true, I’m going to call B.S. on these reasons being responsible for our unhappiness and ultra-low satisfaction with life.
There’s only 1 primary reason people are feeling this way.
We are unhappy because we are not living for the things that deeply matter to us. We know it deep down inside and it haunts us. We aren’t living for our values and we don’t know what to do about it. In other words, these issues are internal not external.
Prospect Theory, formulated by Psychologists Daniel Kahneman of Princeton and Amos Tversky of Standford, proves that we make decisions mostly out of emotional and social pressures. These decisions are often flawed because we are rarely emotionally healthy and the decision is mostly about what we want in the short-term.
As people we are primarily loss-averse and risk-averse. So we will take the short-term deal any day over the long-term. That’s why we eat too many donuts instead of getting in shape. It’s there, it’s easy, and it makes me feel good temporarily. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? We know if we said no to the donut and went on a run, we would feel 10X better. But the donut wins.
This is also why we don’t live for our visions. Instead, we live for the moment. The moment is easier, it gives some sort of satisfaction in the present, even if it may cause me harm tomorrow. In other words, I’ll take todays pleasure over tomorrow’s misery.
The good news and bad news is that we know the culprit of our demise. He or she looks us in the mirror every single morning. Until we find a place of bravery and do two things, none of this will change.
Here’s What You Must Do
(1) We need to take 100% responsibility for where we are in our lives. Our lives are byproducts of the decisions we have made. (Besides a few people reading this who have had tragic things happen to them beyond their control. Even then, those folks cannot afford to live in the past. They must get up, take really deep, courageous breaths and move forward.)
When we blame someone or something, we give our power away to change. The truth is, it’s our fault. There is no need to blame others or circumstances. A victim points the finger. Someone who longs for change looks inside, picks up their power to make different decisions, and moves forward. This is called, “Proactive Living.”
(2) We need have a clear understanding of what is important to us, choose which direction we want to go, and we must have the courage to throw caution to the wind and pursue this path with all of our heart.
Our lives are a blueprint of our design and we are filling in the blanks. STOP LEAVING THAT TO CHANCE. 97% of people live this way. It’s called “Reactionary Living,” and it can feel pointless, hopeless, stagnated and boring.
The answer is to do what the most successful 3% do, live out of a personal vision that burns in your heart like an insatiable bonfire.
I want to encourage you that the fight to get to this place in your life is worth EVERYTHING. Your life matters to the world and to the people around you. You are an incredible gift and the fullness of that gift needs to be revealed and that story must be told.
And most important, YOU CAN DO IT! I believe in you and the people that matter in your life believe in you too.