If you are not happy here and now, you never will be.– Taisen Deshimaru
When I was young, I had big dreams. I wanted to live an adventurous life, follow my heart, be fearless and passionate… and I wanted to travel the world as soon as I finished college. Why would I sacrifice my happiness for anything less?
When I finished college, I already had a job offer waiting. It was at a local company where I worked as a student during the summer holidays.
I didn’t really feel very good about the offer. The job seemed rather boring, there weren’t many possibilities to develop and move forward, and above all, I wanted to do some traveling.
Unfortunately, back then, the economic situation wasn’t really that great and everyone tried to convince me to take the job.
I should have listened to my heart…
My heart was saying: “No, that’s not the right job for you, you’ll get something better, something you will really love, a job where you won’t sacrifice your happiness…”
But the rational part of me, my left brain had a different story: “You are crazy, the economy is going down and you think about traveling the world? you won’t even find a job when you come back…”
I got scared, I cracked and I accepted the offer. I wasn’t happy at all. If at least I would have liked the job, or if only I would have felt at least some passion for the work I was supposed to do…
Fear was stronger than my biggest dreams. I never really worried much about the future while I was in high school and even later in college. How come I got so scared about my future security within such a short period of time?
Was it because of all the conversations I had with friends and family members about how bad the job market was, about how difficult it has become to make a living, the constant negativity in the mainstream media…?
Trapped in a life I hated…
Well, there I was, in a job I didn’t like at all, bored most of the time, underpaid… but at least, now I was integrated into the corporate world and I had secured my future.
Secured my future? Well, at least that’s what I “forced” myself to believe back then to make the pain of not doing what I really wanted to do a bit less heavy.
Anyway, two years later I had enough of the job and I left the company. To travel and to do what my heart was longing for? No, over those last two years, my worries about my future security have grown even bigger.
Now, I was firmly integrated into society. I was reading the newspaper every day, I watched the evening news and during my lunch breaks, I discussed gloom and doom with my equally worried work colleagues.
Wow, how could I have changed so much in only two years? I turned from a lively, passionate young man with big dreams into a scared chicken who was worried day and night about his future security.
Even more problems to come…
And that’s why I applied for a job at a big, prestigious company with excellent development opportunities and a great salary. Fear was my motivator and I got the job. I was relieved, but I didn’t feel happy.
The job seemed equally boring than the one in my last company, but hey, after two years I got used to living and working without any passion. The money was great and that’s all that really counted.
The money was great? Heck, I never even cared much about money. What was going on, where have all my dreams gone? No, the money was only good to create the illusion of security and to feel less fear.
All my joy and happiness was gone…
I spent almost 8 years with this company, 8 terrible years. I worked more and more and I worked harder and harder. I started climbing up the corporate ladder and I made more and more money.
But, as the years went by, I felt worse and worse and I slipped into a depression. All the money and the fancy stuff I bought didn’t help. I felt empty and tremendously unhappy.
I didn’t live my life and I didn’t live my dreams. Actually, I didn’t live at all, I was merely existing.
Finally, the turning point…
The fear of living an unhappy future made me sacrifice my happiness in the present. This ironic realization hit me hard. How had I been so blind?
After my realization, I spent several weeks reflecting on my life and what I really wanted. I started reading tons of books about happiness, personal development, self-empowerment, and related topics, I started going to the gym, and I cut down on my working hours…
And finally, 4 or 5 months later I quit my job. I didn’t have a clear direction for my future, I just wanted to live. I did some traveling for a few months, read more books, enjoyed being in nature, and continued my process of self-reflection.
Half a year later, I started a small business. I didn’t make a lot of money, but I had a lot of fun and I was really happy.
Now, I was living again – what a feeling!
If there is only one advice, one tip I could give you, I would say:
Be happy NOW! Follow your heart and live your passion. Be yourself and live YOUR life. Don’t sacrifice your happiness worrying about the future or letting fear control your life. If you live life like that, you will find a lot of joy and happiness and in such a state, absolutely nothing really bad can happen to you.