You’re born, go to school, earn a degree, get a full-time job, get married, have kids, retire, and die. That seems to be the order of things, right?
On the face of it, life appears far too much like a train — you hop on at the start and reach specific stops along the way until the train terminates. There’s not much you can do about it, so we just accept some facts of life.
Life, however, is far too complicated for that.
The future is never guaranteed, so these unwritten rules are no longer applicable — and that’s okay.
I feel like it is time to dispel these ‘facts of life’ and accept that life is too unpredictable — agreed?
Let’s see what they are.
‘I Have to Get a 9–5’
9–5. Why do two numbers fill me with such dread?
The hyphen between them feels entrapping as if its pull is getting stronger and stronger. Ever since I finished my degree — nearly a year ago now — I have been applying for these traditional, office-based jobs, as it is the ‘next logical step.’
Every time I do, however, I think to myself:
“do I want that?”
There have only been a select few applications that have filled me with promise and purpose. I’ll admit that not knowing what I wanted to do with my life did lend to this feeling, but I still maintain that just because a 9–5 is the ‘normal’ thing to do, doesn’t mean you should fall into doing something that makes you miserable.
A Harvard study found that open-plan offices can decrease productivity by up to 15%, and nearly a third of part-time workers state they choose to work less than 40 hours a week because they value the flexibility that part-time work gives them to follow their passions.
Explore your passions — you never know where they may take you. Me? I’m writing, and I couldn’t be happier (and I don’t need to wear a suit!)
Happiness Requires Radical Life Changes
“You look happier” is the best and most surprising compliment I’ve ever received.
Happiness feels so elusive. You go through the constant struggle of life for a slither of true happiness now and then. You can go years without it.
The truth is, it doesn’t need to be complicated.
You don’t need to go on a trip to the far ends of Cambodia or take a 30-day vow of solitude to cleanse your mind. As I’ve written about in the featured article, three steps can set you on the path to happiness:
- Be okay with what you can do because there is so much you can’t.
- Surround yourself with people who you want to be around.
- Stay in a forward-thinking state of mind.
You don’t need to slave away and to earn your happiness. It doesn’t need to be. You and I have every right to be happy, no matter your circumstances.
Money Can’t Buy Happiness
Hear me out on this one.
I agree with the above statement. As Benjamin Franklin puts it: “Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.”
I would, however, like to make a small tweak.
Money can’t buy your happiness, but it can facilitate it.
Moreover, you can seek more happiness from your money, say experts Michael Norton and Elizabeth Dunn (authors of ‘Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending’).
- Buy time (housekeeping etc. — saving time yields wiser investments).
- Spend money on others.
- Buy experiences, not stuff.
- Pay now, consume later (increased enjoyment as you can look forward to it).
- Make it a treat.
As much as you may like to think that money plays no role in your happiness, it does. It’s a hard fact of life that you do need to accept — money matters. It surrounds and motivates a large part of human life.
Some of the best and happiest experiences of my life — music festivals/events — cost a fair bit of money. When you’re in the moment, money doesn’t feel relevant. When you’re happy, it doesn’t. It just helps sometimes.
You Must Hide Your Emotions to Be Seen as Professional and Successful in the Workplace
Why is there an unwritten rule, especially in the workplace, that you must cut off what makes you human to give off a ‘professional’ aura? There is etiquette, but then there is downright denial.
In her research, Susan David — a psychology instructor and doctor at Harvard — stated this:
“When I looked at what helps people to bring the best of themselves to work, I found a powerful key contributor: individualized consideration. When people are allowed to feel their emotional truth, engagement, creativity and innovation flourish in the organization.”
Essentially, being themselves produced better work at a more efficient rate. The more comfortable you are, the more likely you are to get into the state of flow. Don’t lock yourself up.
Saying No Is Impolite
Why does the word ‘no’ feel rude?
It’s a simple word that carries the most weight. The truth is, ‘no’ is a perfectly adequate answer. If you don’t want to attend an event because you don’t like someone there, ‘no’ is enough. You don’t need to sacrifice your happiness, no matter how temporary it maybe, just to appear polite and say ‘yes.’
It can feel quite scary, too. On the one hand, you don’t want to let people down as it feels somewhat selfish. On the other hand, saying ‘no’ is taking ownership of your desires, rather than letting some unwritten courtesies ride them.
Friends Is a Good TV Show
Sorry to all the Friends fans out there, but it isn’t.
These are ‘facts of life’ you may not necessarily have thought about before. That is why I am bringing them to your attention. They’ve been brushed over your head and swept aside with a simple “oh well” shrug.
You’ll notice one underlying theme with my points: happiness. Many of the ‘facts of life’ deny us the chance to be happy, instead of being swapped for cruel, harsher realities. Of course, there are some we can’t avoid, but there is more within your grasp than you realize.
Realizing that you don’t need to accept these so-called facts enables you to take more control over your life. So say no once in a while, let your emotions flourish, seek your passions, and find a better TV show to watch.