Forget Balance — Here are 3 Ways to Find Happiness in a Chaotic World
We’ve all been there. We want advice. We want direction. We want a proven path. We want to be the best we can be in the pursuit of our passions or within the field of our chosen profession.
I’m sure you (much like me in the past) have spent countless hours performing Google searches searching for guidance…for answers. And by virtue of being out in front of Stage 32, I often speak with people who all seem to be trying to solve two problems with these efforts:
They’re starved for happiness
They’re seeking balance
Let’s take a look at the latter. Balance, to me, is a fallacy. And the pursuit is a fool’s journey. We spend so much time using the 24 hours allotted to us each day seeking this fairy tale existence; we don’t realize that we’re impeding our path to success instead of clearing the way.
This is not the way to live.
Balance has nothing to do with time. It has everything to do with happiness and contentment. You can’t have one without the other.
So let’s tackle that happiness issue, shall we?
Because that’s something that’s completely in your control and firmly molded by your choices.
Here’s what I mean….
1) Do Work You Love
Because of my job and my creative pursuits, I spend a large amount of time on the road. I love it. It feeds my soul, connects me with like-minded people, and allows me to see how the rest of the world lives. Yes, it sometimes can be a grind. But when I have that feeling, I simply examine my upcoming schedule and make choices on what’s important and what’s not. I may decide that one trip may not be worth the time investment. I examine and readjust accordingly. That’s a choice in my control.
Going in, however, I recognize that the travel is a crucial component to my work and toward other personal creative goals I wish to accomplish. And for that reason alone, I not only embrace it, but seek ancillary benefits within to nourish my mind and soul. In other words, I look for benefits while travelling that fulfill me beyond the job.
Sadly, over 50% of Americans live their lives doing work they hate. They decide that there is nothing more beyond their job. If this is you, you’re likely armed with an excuse that looks something like this:
“I have no choice”
“This is all that’s out there”
“I can’t just get up and leave like other people can.”
“I have bills to pay.”
“Things are difficult for me.”
“It’s just not possible.”
I spent the first few years of my college life in pharmaceutical school. My father and brother were both pharmacists and I was around it my entire childhood. This was the easy, natural move. I hated it, but I didn’t know any better. I told myself the same stories that you’re telling yourself now. It took a college professor to shake me up and point out that my talents lie elsewhere and that I certainly had a choice to follow my path. If I believed the bullshit stories I told myself, I’d be splitting pills in a white coat somewhere in Brooklyn.
No thanks, my friends. Not for me.
If you don’t love your job, be brave enough to admit that you don’t. Be even braver to leave what you don’t love behind, so that you can begin to experience true happiness.
2) Maximize Your Bliss
I like working out. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and feeds my desire to do better every day. I am healthful, conscious, and aware of my body and my choices while doing my thang.
You may, however, loathe the idea of exercise. And that’s okay.
You can find happiness in mere seconds by doing things throughout the course of your day that contribute to your overall happiness and contentment.
Maybe it’s writing, painting or some other artistic outlet
Maybe it’s a hobby you’ve given up or always wanted to pursue
Maybe it’s coffee with a friend?
Maybe it’s 20 minutes of meditation (Have you checked out Headspace or Calm?)
Whatever it is, do it and then schedule time to do more often.
Your leisure pursuits, lifestyle choices, and who you choose to interact with socially greatly affect how your day will unfold. And again, this is entirely in your control. Make choices that maximize your bliss. And take stock of the things that happen during the day that suck the joy right from your very being. That includes taking stock of your friends and family members who do nothing but bring angst or negativity to your word. Cut them out.
Do you, the way you want to do you.
3) Decide To Do It, and Then Just Do It
Nike nailed it with their marketing tagline, “Just Do It.”
And while it’s a great little inspirational mantra that can lead to great big things, less than 5% of you will actually execute the necessary actions to do anything. You will sit in fear, telling yourself a series of lies that keep you safe, instead.
You will convince yourself it’s too late or too tough or too big to go after.
You will let others dictate how your life should unfold and you will, unfortunately, listen to them.
Look, I’m no guru in the field of happiness but I am a human being who is experiencing life right now and who has been through plenty of challenges and moments of doubt. So with due respect, I’m going to be perfectly blunt when I preach that YOU are the only one responsible for your happiness.
So just do it.
Just say it.
Just experience it.
As I like to say, you only get to go around once — and this ain’t practice.
Do everything that you want and desire and live out loud. Just do it.
If you can compartmentalize the things you enjoy and find a way to maximize the bliss you get from performing a particular activity, you’ll worry less about the impossible goal of finding balance and spend more time simply being happy and fulfilled in all pursuits.
Of this, I have no doubt.
Putting time and effort into doing the things you love is a promise to be true to the person that matters most: You. And remember what I said at the top, happiness can only be found within. That means it can only be found within you.
In The End…
Sometimes it takes a lot of falling down to discover what it takes to stand back up. There is a Chinese proverb that says: “The glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall.”
Bear that in mind as you venture out into the world today. As you walk past the faces of people you don’t know, stand a little taller. Decide to be a little wiser. Determine to live a little happier. And if that means quitting a job you hate, ending a toxic relationship, or buying an airline ticket on a whim, by all means, do it. Making these kinds of choices are how we find happiness in a chaotic world.
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