Don’t Just Follow The Paper Trail, Do Something That Makes You Happy Instead

Haley Phelps
Haley Phelps

No matter what you choose to do as a career, you’ll have to jump over countless number of obstacles and go through stresses along the way. It’s okay if you’re going from job to job figuring out what you want to do and even if you find your perfect job the first time (lucky you). But no matter how many bumps along the road, when you’re doing what you love every single day, it won’t matter. You’ll go above and beyond the call of duty to get things done, put in more time without it feeling like a chore, be better at your job and most of all you’ll be happy.

6-years old, dreaming about when you’re a grown up you want to be an astronaut, a pilot, a fireman or a princess perhaps. Such imaginative beings, weren’t we?

Playing, ‘what do you want to be when you’re a grown-up?’ was always fun. Forget logistics, those days as young’uns we had a free way of thinking – no boundaries. We had far-flung hopes and dreamed improbable dreams – Some people see the improbable to be the impossible, but what if we actually took these hopes and dreams and made them come true? That’s a big debate of today.

When we grow older we’re torn between academia and this so-called “dream” of ours. We’re always encouraged to go for the career that will give us the most money (we need money of course to survive) and we’re bought up to believe that life isn’t always about doing what you want; it’s about making yourself useful. While some people do choose to follow the paper trail, they might actually be going down a road that isn’t right for them, that doesn’t make them happy and will lead them to a life of dissatisfaction.

Let’s look at some facts; we spend most of our day at work. In fact, in one year we spend approximately 3000 hours working! The Trade Unions Congress (TUC) says, within the UK we work the longest hours within Europe, take shorter lunch breaks and don’t enjoy public holidays as much.

Working hard ensures that we pay our mortgage, bills and are able to provide our families and ourselves with basic necessities like food and clothing. But what if we’re doing something that takes up all our time and that we don’t enjoy?

Working for money seems like a good enough motivator for you to stick at that career, but if every day you’re at a constant battle to get out of bed, counting down the hours and minutes until your day is over and bringing home all that angst from work then that’s a pretty big problem.

Life is incredibly short to be wasting time, yes, we all need a pay check at the end of the month, yes, we all like to buy shiny things, but some things are just more important, like experiences, and time is our most valuable asset. If you’ve always wanted to join the corporate club with reckless hours, tight deadlines, non-stop e-mails and perhaps some arguments with your boss, then good for you – but if not then it’s time for a change!

You could spend 10 years making it up that corporate ladder, or you could spend the same amount of time creating a life that could change the course of history for the better. I like the second option.

Passion is the fuel that propels you to travel in the direction that you want to go. It gives you meaning in life. Ultimately, your career defines who you are as an individual.

When you meet somebody for the first time, how do you introduce yourself? Usually with your name and what you do – it’s because we spend so much time doing it.

Many people will say that dreams are just that, dreams. But once we achieve our dreams, it will give us personal satisfaction and the mindset that we are able to accomplish anything in the world. Throw your whole heart into doing something you enjoy and get better and better at it and surprise surprise, you’re successful, and work won’t even feel like a burden.

I’ve hopped around from job to job, had the ‘what am I going to do with my life’ crisis many times and been in the corporate environment, which I didn’t enjoy. Now, I do what I love. I write, I teach yoga and I’m happy.

Whether you choose to follow the paper trail or follow your dream career, make sure you’re not mindlessly wasting your life away in unhappiness – you only have one life, do what you love and live it with experiences! As Steve Jobs says, “your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do – don’t settle.” TC mark

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Image Credit: Haley Phelps

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