I think one of the toughest decisions that people will face, and will ultimately result in keeping them from doing the things that truly make them happy, is not being themselves for fear of what others will think of them. A couple different scenarios over the past few months have made me think about this enough to put some thoughts down on paper. With the explosion of social media, everyone has an opinion on everything and no one is afraid to voice that opinion as they sit behind their computer screens. This puts our kids in a precarious position. If they feel strongly about something, which hopefully as parents we teach them to stand up for what they believe in, as soon as they voice that opinion, there will be many who try and tear them down because we have come to believe that there is only one right answer for every argument. My fear is that this will empower a few but handcuff a larger number of kids into being indifferent about their beliefs in order to avoid confrontation or the possibility of upsetting those around them.
The first example of this is something that I have talked about in numerous blogposts, healthy eating habits being scrutinized by family and friends.
Somewhere along the way, it became unpopular to want to be healthy. It is common for me to hear stories of how those doing the Paleo Challenges receive pity and disgust throughout their journey from family members and friends. These feelings create anxiety when it comes time to have a meal with friends or go out to a restaurant and we often dread the interaction with the waiter where we ask if we can avoid certain ingredients that come standard in our meal.
I just spent a week on a small island called Placencia, in Belize. For the entire time I was there, I was able to tweak any piece of my meal necessary in order to fit the way I wanted to eat. Waiters didn’t judge, they were extremely helpful and my family and friends often made similar choices in hopes to alleviate some of the other “not so healthy choices” that were made:) My point is simple, surround yourself with people who support you or have similar desires. If there are people in your lives that are constantly the problem and never the solution, start by limiting your exposure to them and I guarantee things will start to get better immediately.
The next thing I want to talk about is the occupations we choose to pursue. I realize that I am extremely fortunate to do something that I love. Some of this is luck, but some of it is the circumstances that I created for myself because I was unwilling to pursue jobs that I wasn’t passionate about. I took what I loved, fitness, and did everything in my power to build a sustainable business out of it. It certainly wasn’t easy, and there were probably a few other routes I could have taken that may have been more financially beneficial but I was, and still very much am, fine with sacrificing some financial upside to do what it is I love. This is one of the areas that I think people make mistakes in. They think that if they make enough money, they would be happy doing anything. I strongly disagree with this. There is incredible value that should be put on doing what you love. I love my job and more importantly, I love the people that I get to work with on a daily basis. Even when my morning crew ignores everything I say and they decide to do their own program, I still love what I do. I honestly couldn’t imagine doing anything else. On Mondays, I usually wake up before my alarm goes off and can’t get out the door fast enough because I’m ready to get back to the office. Everyone knows that I am not a huge vacation guy, but the true reason behind this is pretty simple. I love my job. I don’t need a vacation from Vitality. However, I love my wife, and if I want to keep her my wife, I will continue to take her on vacations when she tells me it’s time to go. Currently we are on a 2-year vacation cycle so I can’t complain too much….
I read a very interesting book a few months back called, “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Cal Newport. The premise behind the book was that it doesn’t have to be your dream job for you to love your occupation. You just need to set the circumstances that turn your current job into one that you love doing. There are many things that go into this but the main factor contributing to “enjoyment” is control. The more control you have over your job, the more most people will enjoy it. How do you get more control? Simple, be so good that they have no choice but to give you the control you desire.
When it’s all said and done, if you are passionate about being healthy and passionate about your job, understand that you are the anomaly. Surround yourself with others who have figured this out as well and it will make your life much easier. In most cases, those that don’t have these two areas of their lives figured out will just bring negative energy that you don’t have time for. Lucky for me, I have a gym full of people who seem to be way ahead of the power curve when it comes to figuring out these two areas of their lives. However, it’s always good to do a self-audit every once in a while. Come Monday morning when it’s time to head to work, ask yourself how you feel about that. If the answer is negative, it may be time to take a peek in the mirror and see what the issue is……you may realize you’re just being a sissy, or you may realize that you aren’t passionate about what you do. In either case, there is a solution but you are the only one that can make that change and unfortunately, instead of owning it and finding a way out, we have become much better at self-pity and blaming others as to how/why we ended up where we are.