We all claim we want happiness. And yet, many of us are unhappy.
We complain all the time. We fight with family members. We play dirty office politics with co-workers. We shout and scream at other drivers in traffic. We give random people on the street judgmental looks.
“Well, not me! I don’t do that stuff.”
Yes, you do. Why? Because you’re human. I do it too.
Look, we all know how to live a happy life. The recipe for happiness is not some kind of secret.
We all know that money, status, fame, or respect does not make us happy. Happiness is a state of mind. It’s something that comes and goes.
Human beings are quickly distracted by shiny objects. How often do you see that in your daily life?
The world is filled with interesting things to pursue, do, or acquire. We all have something that we want at any given time.
We want more money, a new house, car, smartphone, travel the world, get married, write a book, start a business, get a new job, a six-pack, invest in the stock market —and preferably, we want to do everything at the same time.
That’s how most of us behave. We have an endless list of things we desire. And we’re bad at making decisions. The result is that we have to deal with an inner battle.
I think we all know that we can’t achieve everything. An that’s especially true for your career. We all want to have a career that we love. We want to turn our passion into a career.
But because we want it all, we’re not going anywhere close to that goal. One of the main things I’ve learned is that more does not equal better.
Here’s the challenge everyone who starts their career faces: You can’t get a job because you don’t have experience, but you can’t get experience without getting a job.
It’s called the experience paradox or Catch-22 of getting a job. It’s a real challenge. And if you can’t overcome it, you can easily set your career 3 to 5 years back.
Worse, I’ve seen young folks and people who switch careers destroy their potential by making the wrong decisions early on.
I don’t want to scare you. You can still overcome the Catch-22; but not with conventional career advice. Because what’s the standard advice for people who want to build a career?
“Create a resume, browse job boards, and respond to job applications.” Sorry to disappoint you. If you take that route, you will end up like most people: Frustrated and underpaid.
One of the most important career lessons I’ve learned is to pursue a career and not a job. At first glance, you might think, “What’s the difference?” I also didn’t get it for years.
That’s how I finally ended up in an IT job that I wasn’t passionate about. At one point, I was reflecting on my career and life by writing in my journal and thought, “How on earth did I end up in this job?”
The first time I realized that technology has a downside was in 2015. Like almost everybody else, I had a smartphone and thought it was improving my productivity.
By that time, I was already using a smartphone for several years. In the beginning, I only used my device when I needed it—to make calls, send messages, navigate with Google Maps, check the weather forecast, and answer emails when I was on the road.
But gradually, I went from “using my phone when I need it”to “using my phone all the time.”
And that, my friend, is dangerous. Why?
Well, if you don’t watch it, your phone will control you, instead of the other way around. Remember that the purpose of a smartphone, or technology in general, is to SERVE us—not to control our lives.
Have you ever thought about how long your career actually lasts? If you ask me, your career ends when your life ends.
Our work plays such a big role in the quality of our lives that I’m surprised why people stay in jobs that they hate.
I understand that sometimes you feel like you don’t have a choice. Maybe your parents want you to become a doctor. Or maybe you feel the pressure of social media to make money so you can have the life of famous people.
Whatever the reason is, many of us only work because we need the money. If you ask me, that’s a sad way to live.
Several years ago, I was no different. I thought a career was about status. I wanted to have a job that made me look good. But when my grandmother passed away, I started thinking about what I was doing.
“Invert, always invert.” That’s my go-to strategy for finding solutions to challenges in my life and career.
In fact, that’s how I got started with blogging. While most bloggers focused on the “habits of billionaires,” I focused on the habits of unsuccessful people.
It’s a common thinking error to assume one can replicate success. “Well, if I do the same things as Elon Musk, I’ll be successful too!” To some degree, I think many of us would want that to be true. But one look around you will tell you it’s not. There are simply not that many billionaire entrepreneurs.
You’re more likely to succeed in life by looking at what unsuccessful people do. And then, simply avoid doing those things.