I read something the other day that made me sit up and take note.
The premise of the piece was that most of us want our lives to be a particular way. We want the great job, loving relationship, big house, interesting and exciting lifestyle and, of course, the work-life balance – we want these things to make us happy.
When asked what we want to get out of life, we revert to, “I want to be happy and have a fantastic job and live a fabulous lifestyle”, but it doesn’t really mean anything. Because they’re just words unless we’re prepared to make a huge effort to get there.
When we break it down to, “how are you going to be happy?” and, “how are you going to have a fantastic job and live a fabulous lifestyle?”, then it usually means that something has to give to get us to that place. These things aren’t handed to us on a plate, which means we have to work hard to get them.
No matter how many times you say something, it doesn’t make it come true. But action does. (feel free to tweet that.)
So we want these things that will supposedly make us happy but we’re often not prepared to go to the effort necessary to achieve them.
For example, we want the great work set-up where we’re earning fantastic money and working the way we want to in order to get it – probably working for ourselves in an entrepreneurial spirit.
The problem is we’re not prepared to work the long hours and weekends to get our own business started, we’re not committed to embracing uncertainty and risk, the struggles, rejection and cash-flow hold-ups – all the things we need to do so that one day we’ll be financially independent, able to work where we like, do what we want to do and not answer to anyone but ourselves.
We want the healthy and active body where we run for miles upon miles, slip into the latest fashion gear and feel at one with ourselves, confident that our bodies are looking and feeling their best.
The problem is we can’t be bothered to do the work to get there. We’ll sit in front of the TV or put off exercise until another day, crack open another beer or bottle of wine rather than spend hours every week training in a room with other sweaty bodies. Because that’s what it takes to get into that kind of shape.
We want the interesting and exciting lifestyle where we spend more time with family and do all sorts of unusual things – new hobbies, exploring corners of the world, trying activities and adventure we’d always wanted to do but only ever dreamed of.
The problem is this kind of life can be scary and full of unknowns. There are no guarantees and we could be out there on our own, away from trusted support and established friendship. We’re fearful of change and would rather watch what others do because to do what they do will mean changing our home and that’s something we couldn’t ever really do.
Reading the article last week, I realised the most interesting part was not what we want and why we want it, but the problems we have to overcome – the pain we’re prepared to go through – to get there.
We all want something. We dream and fantasise. We encourage notions of a better life in which we’ll be happier and more content. But do we want it badly enough and just how much are we prepared to give up to get it?
The author asked whether we really want these things or whether they are only fantasies. We talk a lot but action speaks louder than words. Without action, it becomes clear we probably don’t want these things at all unless we’re willing to suffer something in the process.
Some of us cope better at giving things up. There are those of us who realise we’ll go through pain to get to where we want to and that’s okay… most of the time.
Whether it be flogging ourselves on a beach at 6am knowing we’d rather sleep in but we’d instantly regret it. Or trying umpteen careers, never feeling comfortable with any, realising our own business is the only option but that it may very well not work. Or leaving home years ago not knowing when or if we’d return, saying goodbye to those we love when we’ll soon be out there alone, but then we’d rather die trying than admit to never having tried at all.
These are a few of the things I’ve been prepared to give up, the pain I’ve accepted I have to go through to get to where I want to.
What are yours? What have you been prepared to give up to get the life you want?