Firstly a big thanks to you all who are not only reading, but have followed and even commented on my previous posts. It’s pretty essential for writers to be critiqued, so don’t hold back folks – let me have it – and I promise to return the favour some time.
Last year was pretty big for me. In short, I worked my butt off, got really stressed out and ended up loathing the person I had turned into to cope with that stress, so I resigned.
The decision to resign did not come easily, it percolated in my mind for months. I don’t like the idea of quitting and was naturally worried about my future. What would I do? Who would ever hire someone who can’t hack the pace? What about my goals and aspirations?
Eventually the certainty that I couldn’t get any unhappier overwhelmed all doubts, and the decision to throw in the towel came with a wave of relief. The negativity and self-doubt I had been submerged in drained away like a plug had been pulled from a bathtub. A huge weight rolled off my shoulders, the pressure in my chest released and I found I could breathe again. Whew!
It only dawned on me a couple of months later, after a I rediscovered my happiness, how unhappy I had actually been. Once I returned to a state of ease I started getting restful sleeps, wanted to hang out with my friends, go running and practise yoga and felt happy and optimistic again. Just the normal stuff that means the world to me, and what a euphoric feeling these simple pleasures give!
It wasn’t until I read an article by Dr George Blair-West that I gave last year’s experiences more thought. While his article is angled at aiding weight loss, the study of meaningfulness leading to happiness (with weight control apparently a very delightful bi-product of happiness) really resounded with me.
The Australian doctor says finding meaning in life is not about quitting your day job and going in search of your soul in a third-world country: “This journey begins at home. It begins with a detailed examination of what you found meaningful in your past and which aspects of your life and work now are meaningful.”
He gets his patients to look at their dreams for the future, to help them find meaning in their existence. “Once we have found what is meaningful we look at what purpose this guides us to. “This all takes time, self-exploration and regular reflection.”
I’ve never given meaningfulness much thought, but I know what makes me happy – connecting with my family and friends, spending time in the outdoors, and having a purpose in life and at work that is greater than I. So one of my goals this year is to try and identify what is truly meaningful to me. Because being happy makes me, well, happy!
That, and go easy on myself a little bit, you know, stop thinking so much and trying so hard, and just live a simpler life. (This, coming from someone famous for over-complicating things.)
I watched Jobs a couple of days ago, and thought the Apple founder’s off-the-wall approach to his life’s work, and refusal to conform or be merely better than the competition, really inspiring. (Despite the movie’s pitiful reviews, I thought it was pretty good although Ashton Kutcher’s depiction of Steve Jobs’ gait was just a tad too affected.)
So here’s a nice quote from the late Steve Jobs: “Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you’re there you can move mountains.”
Hmm, working harder to make life simpler is not exactly what I was intending, so maybe this quote by author Marty Rubin is better suited: “Life is simple. You just have to stop trying to figure it out.”
And what about yourselves good people? What is meaningful in your life? Do you believe it brings you happiness? And have you made any changes in your life (inadvertently or otherwise) in pursuit of these qualities? Please share your thoughts, or connect with me on Twitter or Facebook.