In a world where our success is measured by how much money we make, our next job promotion, or how well we did in school, we can easily lose focus on what it really means to live a happy and rewarding life. Many of us will chase down a college degree only to a.) not find a job, or b.) find a job that provides little fulfillment. This is the American dream. We have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But are we really pursuing happiness?
I want to make clear that I am not saying that a college education won’t pay off. It can provide you with a career that you will truly love. I’m only saying that we should put our focus on what we want to do, and not the shiny things a job might afford us.
As Alan Watts (British Philosopher) puts it; we should chase our dreams no matter what they are. If money becomes the most important thing in life, we will be sure to lead a miserable life. “To go on doing what we don’t enjoy, just to make money to keep living, is absolutely stupid.” he says. The video below is part of one of his lectures where he asks the questions, “What would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really like to spend your life?”
This made me question what it is that I’m chasing in life. Have I put my wallet in front of my dreams? Should I consider stepping off the beaten path that’s been laid out before me?
To better visualize my dreams, and point myself in the right direction, I took this three-step approach. You can do this too. It’s very easy and will only take you a matter of minutes.
First, I made a list of the things that truly make me happy.
- Helping Others
- Being in Nature
- Creating Things
- Working For Myself
Then, I listed things that I already have knowledge about.
- Building Computers
- Designing Web Sites
- Computer Programming
Finally, I wrote out several career paths that conformed to the above lists.
- Web Design (You can take a laptop anywhere)
- Professional Trainer
- Health Coach
- Write Computer Software
- Work for a non-profit organization
With this three-step approach, I had a clearer idea of what I could do to survive, and be happy. And I believe that’s all we really want to do in life. Of course, there are many other things that I could have added to any of these three lists. But this should give you an idea of where to start plotting out your own road map to happiness.
Go ahead and give my three-step approach a try! Did you find a dream of yours that had been buried beneath other motives? Let me know by writing a comment below.
Photo Courtesy: FreeDigialPhotos.net/suphakit73