You have limited time here on this earth, and you shouldn’t settle for feeling miserable or uninspired on a regular basis. It’s easy to look at that quote above and dismiss it as being too idealistic, but it shouldn’t be. You will inevitably hit moments of sadness, despair or anger in your pursuit of happiness, but the ultimate goal is to live a life where those negative feelings are fleeting, and you are happy the majority of the time. But in order to do this, you have to be open to change.
We’re born with an innate fluidity. It’s the natural norm: we grow, we change, we explore. But as we get older, that flexibility that we instinctively possessed dwindles down, and is replaced by fear. We’re afraid of criticism, afraid to fail, afraid to feel hurt. So, to avoid these things, we stick to what we know. The things we’re already familiar with are not only comfortable, they’re safe. We put a lot of hard work, sweat and tears to get to where we are now, so why risk what we have for the unknown?
But that’s not the way of nature. It can be enticing to stay still once you reach a decent level of comfort. It’s safe. If you keep things as they are, they can’t unexpectedly shift.
But don’t forget that water that sits motionless becomes stagnant.
And just like the ocean that can send a gentle tide crawling to the shore one minute, and thrashing waves the next, just like our moods that can shift from happy one minute to sad the next, we are all constantly changing. But we still continue to fear it.
Because even if we aren’t happy with where we are in life, at least we know what to expect. It’s stable, it’s predictable, and there is no room for bitter surprises. We sit at our desks and daydream of things we would want to do, and we scroll through social media, glancing with envy at the lives we wish we lived. We think, “one day,” “maybe,” and “I wish” more often than we’d like to admit. We might even get spurts of courage, and decide that we really do want to go after something different. But after the initial bout of excitement comes the dark pessimism of our brain. The fears, doubts, and insecurities cloud the rays of light that finally, for a split second, your true desires were able to emanate.
So, we put it off. After all, we have plenty of time in the future to travel, or change jobs, or pursue a relationship, and that brings us a sense of relief. There is no scary risk in dreaming, only in bringing those dreams into existence. But the ominous reality is that one day that time will run out, and we will sit there with regret, wishing that we would have had the courage to change.
Change is not to be feared- it’s what makes life interesting. Remember: you had to go through many changes to be where you are now. Think about where the new ones will take you, and try your hardest to replace the negative thoughts that creep in with excitement. Yes, you could make the change and things could go wrong, but they could also go very right. Don’t ignore that possibility.
Listen to yourself, and be your own guide: if you begin to experience more moments of happiness, then you are on the right road. If you do not, then you need to make another adjustment. And the good news is: if you don’t like the new direction that you’re headed in, you can always change the route- you can even turn back.
But chances are you won’t want to.