Life is complex. One day you’re happy, working on your daily tasks, and the next day you wake up, thinking: “What the fuck should I do with my life?”
Am I right? We’ve all been there. When one of my readers responded to an article last week, I asked her: “How’s it going?”
She said: “Am doing well. Been interesting times figuring out which direction to go to next in my life journey.”
Last week I talked to a friend who was in the same position. And everyone will face the same challenge one way or the other over the course of a long career.
I’ve been there many times as well. No one is immune to being confused. Let’s face it — there are literally a million things you can do with your life.
Every piece of personal or professional growth you achieve in life starts with one thing: Self-knowledge.
Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher, who lived in the 6th century BC, put it best:
“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”
Whether you want to make a million bucks, build a strong relationship with your partner, or get in the best shape of your life — you can’t improve yourself without knowing yourself.
Self-knowledge is a skill, not a trait, talent, or divine insight. I used to live my life without one bit of introspection. Naturally, I had no idea who I was. Now, I’m getting better at it with practice. And the impact on my life has been huge.
Today I received the 4765th email from a reader who said they are bored and stuck at work. And, almost all people I know, answer this when I ask how’s work? “Not bad.”
Not bad? You might as well say, “I’m bored. Stuck. And not challenged.”
In today’s economy, job burn-out is not the biggest problem. People are more likely to get bored instead of working so hard that they get a nervous breakdown.
People are also more likely to get an emotional crisis because they are bored out of their minds. Sounds familiar? If this is you, you must be careful if:
Do you sometimes struggle to be happy despite knowing that you live a good life?
I get it, we all chase happiness because it makes a difference on the quality of our lives. I’m no different.
But I also believe we should be careful that we don’t mix up happiness and pleasure. Otherwise, you end up on the Hedonic Treadmill: A state of continually chasing pleasure to elevate your happiness levels.
But the problem is that pleasure only gives us a temporary boost in happiness. Drinking alcohol, smoking nicotine, having sex, buying the latest iPhone—it gives us pleasure. But we always go back to our set level of happiness.
Last year I decided to make a list of the most important life lessons I had learned until then. I had no idea that two million people would read that article.
The article is a reader’s favorite. And I still get emails about the article almost every week. So I thought I’d create an audio version of it, narrated by me.
After the audio article, I talk about how and why I wrote the article. So if you’re interested in behind the scenes, stick around until after the audio article.
If you want to read along, you can find the post below the audio. Enjoy!
Subscribe to The Practical Podcast:
Hi there, superhero! How are you? Working on a lot of projects simultaneously? Planning a holiday? Taking care of the family? Paying the bills? Hitting the gym every day? Going out with friends? And always solving problems that are not even yours?
I bet you’re doing it all. But here’s the thing: You’re not a superhero. So quit acting like one. You can’t do everything by yourself.
For a while, I thought I was Superman by doing almost everything in my business. On top of that, I also thought I could write blog posts, create online courses, podcasts episodes, and YouTube videos.
When I grew up, it wasn’t cool to read. These days, every coffee shop is packed with folks that are reading a book while sipping on a latte.
That’s a great shift. I’m also reading more books than ever. But here’s the thing: It’s not about how many books you read, it’s about how much you retain from what you read.
Most people I talk to don’t have a reading strategy. They just pick up something and start reading. I used to be like that. But now, that’s unthinkable to me. Sure, you might read a novel for entertainment.