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We are living in a time when everything is up in the air. People have lost faith in governments, old values have been overturned, and with that, the old certainties.
For many people, this is a time that seems at once to be full of possibilities and also a time when it seems as if discovering what we are here for has never been harder. We are told to be productive and successful, but to what end?
1. Find Your Values
Success seems like such an objective concept. We use the word liberally to praise people whose success seems clear. But success is not as objective as it first seems. Consider money, for example. Many psychologists believe that after $75,000, any increase in your income won’t make you happy.
If happiness is the goal of life, then making $1 billion a year may be a less efficient way to do that than earning $75,000. A person can be hugely destructive and productive in unleashing misery on other people. They take away the moral side of their actions, and they succeed.
You need to discover your values and build your concept of success from that. Once you know what those values are, you should live by them. They should guide every decision you take and how you choose to live your life.
I suspect that one of the reasons that millions of Americans have resigned from their jobs is because the global pandemic forced many people to assess their lifestyle and careers, and for many people, that long hard look was horrifying. They have built their careers, indeed, their whole lives, around things that go completely against who they are.
2. Reconfigure Your Life
Marie Kondo introduced the world to the idea of decluttering your home and filling it with things that spark joy in your life.
I think that we need to take that notion into the rest of our lives. Guided by our values, we have to remove everything that goes against them and fill it with everything that accords with them and makes us happy. This is not about a kind of lifestyle minimalism. It’s about aligning our lives with our values.
Perhaps you always wanted to be a lawyer but life got in the way, even though your passion for the law remains. It’s time to reassess your life and think about going to law school.
You can get financial aid from the federal government or a student loan from a private lender to finance your studies, and pursue that career you always dreamed about. Stop living someone else’s life. It’s time to live on your own.
3. Change Your Habits
One of the biggest obstacles to change is our daily habits. Regardless of how big our goals are, eventually, we are what we do every day. So, it follows that to be who you want to be, you have to change what you do every day.
There will be bumps along the way and finding stress management strategies that help you cope without discouraging your forward movement is crucial. Now that you have reimagined who you are, you need to build that person through small, daily habits.
For instance, if it matters to you to be well-informed, then you have to build the habit of reading and the easiest way is to start with the smallest version of that habit, say, reading just a page or even a paragraph on the first day of your new you, and then building that habit incrementally until you have been completely transformed.