No matter how hard you work, life can get you down sometimes.
And why wouldn’t it? We live according to a system that squeezes every last bit of energy out of us, in return for a distant promise of rest and reward.
But you don’t have to live according to The System’s rules. You can live according to your own, and it’s easier than you might think.
All you have to do is follow these simple steps.
1. Surround yourself with the right people.
This may sound obvious, but you would be amazed how many people fail to do this. People stay in relationships—romantic, familial, friendly—that are comfortable or familiar, sometimes in spite of them being unhealthy.
The people you surround yourself with should bring out the very best version of you.
If your friends bring out your sense of humor and leave you smiling hours after you say goodbye to them, they’re the right people to have around.
The people in your life should challenge, inspire, and support you. This can be as little as them encouraging you to ask for the raise you deserve at work or as big as helping you make the decision to leave your job entirely for the possibility of something better.
No matter the situation, the people you spend your time with should make you stronger.
2. Dream of the future you want.
Again, this sounds simple, but many people fail to do it.
Sure, everyone has distant ideas of a different life they wish they had—but how much have you really thought it through?
Maybe you want to relax on a tropical island for the rest of your days. Sounds great, but how would you do it?
Where would your source of income be? Which island would you want to live on? Would you have a house there?
If you ever want your dreams to be reality, you have to start thinking them through.
Consider how much time you spend thinking about the life you have now. Planning your savings and retirement, commuting to work, sorting through the dull tasks of the day in the office—now imagine you put that effort into chasing your dreams.
3. Do what you love.
Whatever you truly want in life is likely not the same as what everyone else wants.
We are spoon-fed the future we are ‘supposed’ to want, and the life we are ‘supposed’ to live, but how likely does it seem that every person wants that exact future?
Let me put it this way: if The System told you and everyone else in the world to walk off a cliff, would you listen?
Of course not!
So why would you listen when it tells you to work a job you don’t love for a retirement that’s too far away to bring any joy or relief?
Sure, we all want security, success, and happiness, but that doesn’t always mean a 9-to-5 job, a mortgage, and a slowly growing retirement fund.
For you maybe it means traveling the world, or working with underprivileged children, or just having the time to see your own children more. Maybe you want to retire early or run a successful business.
It doesn’t matter—all that matters is that you love it.
4. Work for the life YOU want.
Don’t let The System tell you what you want out of life. That’s a one-way ticket to failure.
If you spend all of your time chasing after the expectations of other people, you’ll find yourself exhausted and out of time, having spent your life trying to please everyone but you.
If you don’t spend your life seeking your own happiness, what’s the point?
What you want and what you love is inherently right for you—that’s why it brings you joy!
So hold on to that and make every decision thinking about what YOU want. Not what is expected of you or what you are told to want.
Personal fulfillment is commonly defined as the achievement of life goals that are important to the individual rather than the goals of society, family, and other obligations of the collective.
Make sure you keep that in mind whenever you start to let go of your desires!
5. Stop and smell the roses.
It’s important along the way to take a moment to enjoy where you are, even if it isn’t the end goal.
After all, most of your life is the journey towards an ultimate goal, whether that’s a certain amount saved, a certain career achieved, a certain skill honed, or whatever else it is that drives you in life.
But it’s important to acknowledge that the big goals are reached by achieving lots of smaller goals. Take a moment to celebrate every time you reach one.
Plus, even if you’re between goals and working hard, if you’re working for what you love, I think you’ll find it easy to find something to be happy about!