“Each morning I would look in the mirror and ask myself ‘If today were the last day in my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?’. Whenever the answer has been “No” too many days in a row, I knew I had to change something.“- Steve Jobs.
We all face times when we find ourselves having to do things which we don’t necessarily particularly enjoy; it’s just one of those facts of life. Of course, even those can be useful in their own way – perhaps they might afford us an opportunity to learn or an opportunity to meet people we wouldn’t otherwise encounter, or to ultimately help us in some way in the long run.
But, what if one found that one is spending every day doing a great many things which one does not enjoy and which one most definitely would not chose to do if today were one’s last day? Not just finding oneself in that position from time to time, but every single day.
Now, I don;t know if you can relate to that sort of situation? I know I can, and you almost certainly know people in the same situation (you might know them very well indeed…)
The big question you might ask someone who found themselves in that position would be “Well why do it then?”.
And it is a very good question indeed!
Life, as we all know, is too short to waste by focusing on doing things we don’t like or enjoy, yet so many of us do exactly that; so many of us go through life doing things we don’t like, things we don’t enjoy, without questioning why we are doing them and without examining the alternatives.
What is it that you are doing which you don’t want to do and yet which you find yourself continuing to do anyway?
Perhaps it’s a job you hate (boy is THAT a common one!). Or some social activity you really dislike but in which you take part every week regardless. Or some other activity entirely.
Whatever it is, really think about it, and I’d like to invite you to consider this : if you dislike it so much, then why do you continue to devote so much time and energy to it? And what more enjoyable thing could you be doing with that time instead?
What is it that is really stopping you from stopping that task or activity?
It may be worth spending a little time reflecting upon that particular question, because the immediate answer may not actually be the true answer. Whatever answer you come up with at first, ask yourself why. Keep asking “Yes, but why…” until you find the real truth behind it all. You’ll know when you hit that truth, for it will stand out above all the previous answers. I don’t know whether you’ll reach that answer quickly or whether you will have to take some time to really ponder it, but however you reach the answer if absolutely fine.
And when you DO find that underlying answer to the question of why you continue to do that thing you dislike, I am willing to bet that it is almost certainly due to a fear of some sort or other. A fear or even in some cases a phobia, a deep-seated irrational fear (and knowing it is irrational makes no difference at all, does it?)
It might be a fear of not being able to earn enough money any other way, or a fear of losing one’s house if one’s income were lower, or it might be a fear of losing contact with acquaintances, or any number of possible fears. It may be an obvious one, or it may be something completely unexpected. But either way, its very existence is causing you to continue to do things you don’t like, wasting your valuable time in the process.
And once you know what that fear is, you are in a more powerful position to be able to address it!
Decide what it is that you would rather do instead. Really think carefully and deeply – you are wasting your life doing something, what would you rather do instead?
Then it is time to carefully consider 4 questions. Take as long as you need over each one, really contemplate your answers, dig deep, question the reasons behind those answers. And if you hit a blank and can’t answer, then that’s exactly the place you need to reach for the next answer (which will come – you know the answers at the unconscious level, they will come to you) is THE answer!
So, the 4 questions to ask yourself are –
- What would happen if you took this new course of action instead?
- What would not happen if you took this new course of action?
- What would happen if you did not take this new course of action?
- What would not happen if you did not take this new course of action?
Take as long as you need to consider fully those questions and their answers, for they will provide you with a lot of insight into what you ought to do next if you are not to continue wasting your life!
I remember when I was looking to change my work because I really did not enjoy what I was doing. I was umming and ahhing about what to do, and I liked the idea of self-employment but I didn’t know if I could take the leap. And as I asked myself those same questions, “Why…”, I came to realise that the underlying answer was a fear of not being able to afford to keep my house. I carefully considered the 4 questions, and came to realise that hey, if I could not afford to keep my current house, which was the worst outcome, then I would still survive, I’d just sell up and rent somewhere smaller and cheaper and it would not be the end of the world.
Which, when I look back on it, is obvious, but when you are in the moment it’s a lot harder to see.
And once I realised that my greatest fear was not actually that big of a deal, I was able to set in motion the things I needed to do to enable me to stop doing the thing I didn’t like and instead to do something I enjoy!
I’m not saying it’s necessarily going to be easy or quick for you to make the change. But it’s gong to be a lot easier and quicker for you to make the change if you decide to do it, than if you don’t even ask yourself whether you want to do what you are doing.
So, do you enjoy what you are doing? And if not, what’s stopping you from making the change? What fear is holding you back? And what if you made the change anyway?
Because, let’s face it, life is just too short to waste it devoting our time to things we don’t like doing!
So what to you think? Leave a comment and let me know!