Taking action in the face of uncertainty is your best bet for moving forward and living a fulfilling life
I read a book recently which turned some of my beliefs about how we make the most important decisions in our lives on its head: What pain do you want in your life? (ouch) the author asked. Even the phrase feels yucky. What do you not want? What hurts the most? What do you avoid?
Unfortunately, this is the route we often take as teenagers and young adults when deciding what career choices to make. We use the elimination factor. Well, I didn’t like physics, so let’s try chemistry! Oh, that didn’t work, how about biology? And on it goes.
What if we chose the best route for us from the get-go? What if we made the right decision from the beginning? Or, what if that decision was fine for the first 20 years or so and now it can use a tweak? What’s the harm in that?
I’m not sure this is the best strategy when deciding what to do with your (already pretty awesome) life. Mark Manson, the 30-something who wrote The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, has written 212 pages on what’s worth caring about and what isn’t. He writes about happiness being temporary and how you will actually never be happy unless you have hardship.
I have to agree that often my moments of greatest happiness and accomplishment came out of moments and long periods of hardship and challenge.
Think finally landing that dream job after looking for a long time.
Think going on a holiday you have saved every penny for and planned for years.
Think relief after a suffering of some kind.Hardship and struggle often lead to moments of great happiness and accomplishmentClick To Tweet
Manson contends that “pleasure is not the cause of happiness, rather it is the effect.” So once you have figured out how to solve your problems, you will be happy. AND if you have achieved a little bit more in your life, it’s not the same AMOUNT of happiness as when you achieved that much the first time.
Good grief. Let’s just cut to the chase.
If you know what you believe in, and what you value most in life, you will make decisions – repeatedly – that continue to align with your values and your truth. Some of it won’t be fun. Some of it will be hard. But if you are making decisions aligned with your values, that you believe in, they will be your truth, and ultimately you will be happier.
Manson did make a really great point, however. In the midst of all his mumbo-jumbo about the many girls he’d been with and the many countries he’d traveled in before he realized that ONE girl and ONE country would give him the DEEPEST happiness, he talks about not being afraid.
That NO ONE really knows what they’re doing.
That EVERYONE is afraid to mess up their status quo and have someone think differently of them.
Which gets me to that “mid-life” point of mine: What if you don’t make the perfect decision for your career and for your life at the age of 20-something? What if you get to decide again, and again, every morning that you wake up? What if, as Manson says, “life is about not knowing and then doing something anyway?”
Nike had it right: Just DO it.
Even if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, the simple act of doing SOMETHING will help you get there.Don't know what you're doing? Just do somethingClick To Tweet
You don’t need to wait for a sign. Knowing you’re unhappy is sign enough. And when you’re ready to admit you’re unhappy, make a choice to change your lot, and see what happens.
Action is better than inaction.
What are you waiting for?
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Enjoyed this article? Please share it to your Twitter followers!New from @susanelford: 'Why Just Knowing You're Unhappy Is Sign Enough (and What to Do about It)'Click To Tweet