Work that doesn’t bring you joy isn’t important — it’s urgent, and you shouldn’t be spending all of your time on urgent things.
Are you feeling a little lost in life?
Do you feel like you’re not following the path that you should be on?
Well, by our life guide 101 right now and won’t map out every place you should be going. Of course, we’re kidding here. Obviously, nothing like that exists in the world, and yet, we often behave as if there is. We behave as if someone has the secret to our destination — if we follow their guide, social media accounts, or their books, we’ll find ourselves just like they did.
It’s kind and generous of them to share their path in the hope it’ll help us, and sometimes these guides DO help, but for them to help, we have to see them as a stepping stone in our journey, not as the map that’s going to outline every move that we should make.
We have to do most of the work on our own — and that’s okay. We’ve done it before, other people have done it before, and we can do it now again because feeling lost isn’t a new or unusual thing. It doesn’t make you less competent human because your friends always seem to have it together and you’re constantly questioning your purpose.
In fact, in his stages of psychosocial development, psychologist Erik Erikson proposed that we’re likely to face off to eight major life crises and these crises stem from Erikson’s theory that our personalities develop in a pre-determined order from infancy to childhood.
During each stage, we experience a psychosocial crisis that could have a positive or negative outcome for us. He says that these crises are psychosocial because they involve the psychological needs of the individual conflicting with the needs of society, and when we successfully complete each stage, we will emerge with a healthy personality and we’ll acquire basic virtues which are strengths that the ego could use to resolve the crisis.
Sometimes though, when we’re in the middle of a crisis — it feels like we’re never going to get out of it, like we are suffering alone, like we’ve dug ourselves into this hole, and now, whichever hardships come with it, we have to face the punishment.
Yeah, life happens, but also it’s our fault, right? No! No, it isn’t!
You may make mistakes or poor decisions, but negative life consequences aren’t a punishment for not behaving like a saint — they’re part of the way our life develops, and if we see them like that, they become a lot easier to manage.
While we don’t believe a single guy can solve all your problems, we have seen the positive effect that these three following questions can have on your life. These three important questions can motivate you to work to get out of the slump you’re in. They’ll also give you reasons to keep pushing so that you don’t have to stay stuck there.
Read also: 9 fun habits that make you more money
Question 1: Who or what matters to you?
This shouldn’t be one single thing or person, rather, it could be a collection of people, activities, and core values that enrich your life.
You don’t need to fight through hard times for them. Sometimes realizing that you’re only living for something or someone else puts a lot of unhealthy pressure on both sides. Think about the things that matter to you. Think about the people that matter. Don’t think about what they did for you or what you can do for them. Focus on their intrinsic human qualities.
Are they good people? Do they bring joy to the world?
Because that’s a beautiful thing to witness, and if you could fight another day to witness the joy that they bring, then it’s worth it. You can value education, traveling, and arts and crafts, and these things are enough to matter, they’re enough to get you through the hard days.
We speak about people in your life and spending time with your friends and family, but we’re also aware that this generation is called the lonely generation.
Between eight-hour work days, two hours of traveling, and your exhaustion at the end of the day making time for other people might be the last thing on your mind, but perhaps you can start working on your collection of values. Maybe you can find value in nature, in caring for people in need, or in creating art and music or writing.
You don’t need dozens of people in your life to motivate you when you’re going through a difficult time. You don’t need to be invited to a party every weekend to have a busy and meaningful life.
Question 2: What’s important to you, but not urgent?
We often tend to run on urgency, and we often confuse what we need to do with what will make our lives better. Our work is often urgent. The whole company will fall apart if you don’t finish this task tomorrow — or will it?
Not everything is urgent. Separating the things that need to be finished soon from the things that are important for you will help you to make time for the important things.
Work that doesn’t bring you joy isn’t important — it’s urgent, and you shouldn’t be spending all of your time on urgent things. If that’s happening to you, then you need to take a moment to look at your workload and see if you were taking on too much or if you’re not managing your time wisely.
The things that are important to you but not urgent could be your cooking, gardening, golfing, or whichever things are around you and balance you.
When you don’t make time for things and you’re constantly running on the urgent clock, you’ll feel lost and directionless. You’re not slowing down. You’re not doing the things you enjoy. You’re running like something is chasing you, and it’s because you’re making everything urgent when it shouldn’t be.
In Billy Joel’s Song “Vienna”, he sings —
Slow down, you crazy child
You’re so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you’re so smart, then tell me
Why are you still so afraid?
We work like crazy when we were afraid of slowing down, when we were scared of what we might be facing on the other side.
But you know what? When you have the things that are important to you at the forefront of your life, that fear of slowing down isn’t so bad.
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Question 3: What do you (really) strive for?
Erickson said that we face these psychosocial problems when our wants and needs conflict with society. So, often there’s pressure from society to have a good job, stay in one place so you can work your way up the career ladder by your own home, start your family, and then live your life. But today, there aren’t just that many people who want to do it that way.
Many of the wealthiest nations in the world are facing what they call “a birth crisis”. The wealthier the people, the fewer children they want to have.
You may want freedom, independence, and adventure — but your family, work, colleagues, and everyone else expects you to put down some roots and resign yourself to just staying in one place for a few years. And when these conflicting ideas of life pull at the same time, it can create this directionless and confused feeling and that feeling doesn’t magically go away.
You won’t wake up one day, and —
[A] Feel okay with your choices, or
[B] Admit that society’s life plan is the way to go.
The only thing you can do is to realize that there are stages to your life. You can’t have everything you want all at the same time. There’s no growth in that. You will have to make sacrifices for some of your wants and needs at one point, and then when those desires change, you’ll have to make sacrifices again.
If you work hard, you will get the things you want, but they’ll come at different stages. It’s only through being okay with that. That the feeling of being lost forever will change into finding a good path for the present.
Read also: How to master your life using three major drivers
We don’t need all the trinkets and decorations they promise us that will bring us joy in life. We just need to know that sh*t gonna hit the fan at different stages of life and all we need to handle is that current state. We need to know that we’ll have the things that we want, but not all at the same time. We need to know that to be “you” is enough.
So, remember that you are enough! Never forget that!
CONTRIBUTED BY Entrepreneurs
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