In modern society, we have the option to do just about anything. With the advent of the internet, we have the opportunity to teach ourselves about whatever we desire and connect with those interested in the same things. This is an amazing opportunity, as well as a daunting one.
It can be scary to take a leap of faith from whatever wheel you’re currently a cog in to building a wheel of your own. Instead of taking a leap of faith, take a calculated leap into your new future. Let’s look below at how to do just that.
Above is a basic diagram showing the known area of all things you could create, make, do, pursue, and achieve in life and at any given moment. The point is, we have almost endless options where we could focus our attention. So where should we spend our limited time on Earth?
Within the area of all things that you could spend your time on, there is a section that fulfills you as an individual. I cannot answer for you what exactly those things are. Only you have the answer to that. But I think it is pretty obvious that we all spend our time doing things we don’t want to do.
We also spend our time doing things that bring us feelings of joy, satisfaction, achievement, belonging, and many other fulfilling emotions. Ideally, we should spend more of our time doing the things that bring us these meaningful feelings and less time in those that bring us down. How is this achievable?
Within the sphere of what you could be doing, there is a section that other people are willing to spend their time and money towards. In this sphere is where the majority of us work. There wouldn’t be much work if people were not willing to pay for what you’re creating. For some of us this sphere of what people are willing to pay for intersects with what fulfills us as an individual. For most of us, sadly, it does not.
“Thank God It’s Friday” is a saying for a reason. Because people hate their jobs and cannot wait until they have a break for a few days away from what they loath. When you hate your job, which you spend 40+ hours a week doing, it can easily transition into hating your life and yourself. I believe a large part of our society spends their life in this vicious cycle.
Michael is more blunt with the point while Epictetus is more elegant. The point is that it is all too easy to become a cog in the system. To embrace the safety net, crumble to the social pressure, and live a life that you did not dream of as a kid.
We can all too easily become a walking corpse going through the motions living up to the expectations of others while degrading ourselves.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
To make a living supporting the lives that we hate so much, we turn someone else’s wheel. We progress their agenda forward while sacrificing our own. We sell people cologne not because it makes us happy, but because it pays the bills. Life is expensive and we make money where we can.
A new area of life is created where your work intersects with your passions.When we learn how to get paid to do what we love, we can live a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
I think it is silly that when our society talks about finding meaning in our lives we think it is amoral to add money to the equation. Many of you might be thinking it right now. However, I believe in the opposite.
To live in a state of fulfillment more often, what fulfills us must also support us. They say love your work and you’ll never work another day in your life. I say find what fulfills you and learn how to make a living doing it; then work everyday the rest of your life. Similar, but distinctively different.
When we approach our work with the mindset of seeking fulfillment and meaning, an opportunity arises. When learning for the first time what truly fulfills us as an individual, we discover new found aspects of ourselves that we did not know of before.
By looking inward, we discover that what fulfills us is by extending a hand outward. And because you are an individual composed of a unique set of experiences, skills, relationships, and knowledge, the hand you extend outward has the opportunity to be unique and remarkable.
I believe that if you want to truly be remarkable, you have to live a life like no one else before you has lived. The only way to do that is by being an individual and not being afraid to stand out. By understanding who you are, what brings you meaning, and how you can match that with what people are willing to pay attention to, you can be remarkable while living a fulfilling life.
What does being remarkable mean in this context?
- Being the exception, not the rule
- Not only making a living, but building a kingdom (or queendom)
- That people cannot help but talk about you and what you’re doing, creating, sharing, and innovating
I know if sounds cliche saying that everyone is a unique individual that has the opportunity to be remarkable. But lucky for you, most of us are not willing to do the hard work to become an individual. Most of us are trend followers, not trend setters. Most of us follow the leader and are not the leader ourselves. Fear holds us back from living to our fullest potential; and that fear holds many of us back from doing what’s difficult.
If you are willing to self reflect to understand what is meaningful in your life and have the awareness to know what people are willing to pay for in those meaningful areas, you can live a more fulfilling life. A life that pays the bills while satisfying your needs as a human. If you want to go a step further, you can face your fears and become a remarkable individual. Become a leader and not a follower. Someone that we cannot help but to give our attention to.
You may be wondering where happiness lies in this equation. All this talk about meaning and fulfillment but nothing about the feeling of happiness. Well, the pursuit of happiness is a treadmill of dissatisfaction. The pursuit never ends and you are left unhappier than where you started. Instead of pursuing happiness, let happiness be a by product of pursuing a meaningful and fulfilling life.
-Viktor E. Frankl