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How to Stop Surviving and Start Doing What You Love

How to Stop Surviving and Start Doing What You Love

Clock in. Clock out. Head home. Repeat. Millions of people follow this same predictable pattern for years, or even decades. And while there’s nothing wrong with punching a clock and making an honest living, isn’t there more to life? Isn’t there something you’re passionate about that you’d rather spend 40 hours of your week doing?

Here are a few practical tips that will allow you to start living your life the way it was meant to be lived, by doing what you love.

1. Develop a realistic plan

“I, personally, didn’t want to wake up one day as a 50 or 60 year old and find myself still working at a cubicle, regretting that I never pursued the dreams I had for myself,” says Timothy Lee, owner of a San Francisco tap room. “Taking the first leap is the hardest part, but it’s worth leaving stability for what makes you happy.”

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While some people decide to simply quit their jobs and try something else, it’s not a good idea to give up a paying job without some sort of plan. Create a realistic timeline with sizeable goals that you can accomplish.

2. Find a way to monetize

We all have passions, but the truth is that some passions are more monetizable than others. For example, if you’re really skilled at developing software and want to branch out on your own, you won’t have much trouble finding clients. However, if your passion is knitting, it’s going to be much harder to make a living. It’s not impossible, but you’ll have to get creative. Instead of only selling scarves, consider teaching classes to people who are interested in learning how to knit.

The point is that you shouldn’t naively assume that your passion will sell itself. Before launching head first into your new life, think about the financial side of things and how you will make it work.

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3. Surround yourself with the right people

While the onus is on you to make a move and do the right thing for your life, it helps to have supportive people on your side. This is something Sara DiVello learned the hard way when she left her corporate public relations job to launch a career in yoga.

“Because your colleagues may feel just as trapped and scared, a dynamic can evolve where they can actually contribute to holding you back,” DiVello says. “Some co-workers were overtly discouraging, telling me I’d be back, that I’d miss it.”

If you can find people who are supportive and encouraging, it will be much easier to stay motivated and avoid giving up when things get tough. Thankfully, you will be surprised how many people will praise you for your choice to pursue your passion.

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4. Never take no for an answer

News flash: You’re going to get a lot of “no’s” when you first venture out on your own. People won’t take you seriously. They’ll tell you the industry is too crowded. They’ll complain that your prices are too high. They’ll want to see proof before they take a chance. The key is to never take no for an answer.

The most successful people in the world didn’t get to where they are because everyone told them yes. They got to where they are because they kept pushing through.

It’s time to take control of your life

Can you stand the thought of doing what you’re doing right now for another 20 or 30 years–or more? Or would you rather pursue your passion and be happy? For most of us, we’re just trudging along, paying the bills, and praying for the weekend.

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That doesn’t have to be your life. It’s time to make your dream a reality!

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Anna Johansson

Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends.

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Last Updated on February 25, 2020

5 Rules for Overcoming Adversity and Emotional Pain

5 Rules for Overcoming Adversity and Emotional Pain

“Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world, the disarray. I choose to see the beauty. To believe there is an order to our days. A purpose.” – from the popular show, “Westworld”

It’s different for us all. My personal quest for purpose began with five stages of grief and one startling realization that everything’s endlessly fragile. Adversity, as it happens by rule, found me terribly unprepared, so I decided to take my time. Today, I can honestly say that I’ve grown.

Ugliness and beauty, good and evil, pain and laughter – everything in the universe consists of two forces that are opposing but complementary. In the face of difficulty, that is the only mantra you need.

Here’s how I learned it and why you should too, with five simple rules.

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1. Embrace the Complexity

Quite insidiously, adversities come in all shapes and sizes. Paralyzing physical disabilities, mind-wracking mental problems, ruthless emotional havocs, all leading to the same painful acknowledgement: all the beauty in the world cannot possibly make up for the ugliness that surrounds us. Shattered to pieces, helpless and bare naked, we sit in our therapy chairs, apologizing for being so negative.

Eventually, what it all comes down to is the nature of negative emotion. Our positives overshadow our negatives, thus wrongly teaching us that the road to well-being is paved with nothing but positive feelings and thoughts. How utterly wrong!

“If you’re not failing every now and then, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything innovative”, Woody Allen said.

It’s a classic “learn from your mistakes” rule, but in this case, it implies growing from negative experiences. Make peace with your negativities and embrace beauty and ugliness alike! Accepting this marvellously complex world just as it is will allow you to find purpose in adversity and meaning in misery.

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2. Find Balance, Regain Control

Still, accepting adversity is only the first step toward eventual victory. One can endure only so much trauma in life; if we’re not prepared to deal with difficulties in a productive way, even the minor setbacks can get us off track. Our strengths come from learning, and the best way to learn is through a series of trials and errors. Just like phases of grief or stages of drug addiction, adversities suggest a disabling loss of control, so find your way to regain it.

Some call it the coping mechanism; for others, it’s a spiritual will. However you choose to name yours, know that not all supporting systems are equally beneficial, though each is effective in its own way. Escapism was mine, but it only helped me retain the illusion of beauty. It wasn’t until I opened up toward the ugliness and accepted the naked truth that I was finally free. Whether you choose to dwell in art, religion and spiritualism, thus feeding your resilience from within or to reach out to others for help, choose wisely.

Whatever the means, the second rule is a golden one: find your inner balance and stick to it. Eventually, it will lead you out of the vicious circle.

3. Fight with Patience

My bargaining turned in depression with a single touch. Fearless and free, my dance instructor timidly put her hands on my shoulders and I realized, for the first time, just how tense, stiff and cloistered I was. And just like that, I started letting go. Adversities have their sneaky ways, but in my experience, becoming aware is what hurts the worst. It took me a year to recover from this little moment of self-discovery, and I know remember it as the edge of the rabbit hole.

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Some sufferings are impossible to console; I know that now. The only way to get through is to, well, get through. Depression and despair are only the beginning of the excruciatingly unnerving process that ravages the mind and shrivels the soul, and once they strike, there is no easy way back. So, fight them with patience. When your head starts spinning and your feet lose ground, go to your happy place. Over there, you’ll be reminded that nothing is forever, not even our little existential psychosis.

Take a deep breath and say “om”. When things cannot be combated, they have to be endured, so practice patience and learn to let go. Finally, keep repeating to yourself that this too shall pass.

4. Keep Swimming

Nothing is impossible, in the end. Your negative thoughts will gently pour into your positive ones, just as two streams come together to become a river. In the event of the inevitable disaster, one can only be as calm as still water. Suffering teaches patience, and the latter gives rise to flexibility. Ultimately, what is life than a series of unfortunate events and a handful of bright moments in between? If adversities are impossible to avoid, than learn to glide through as smoothly and patiently as water does with rocks.

Even if spirituality isn’t exactly your cup of tea, you have to admit that this is one solid metaphor. Staying adaptable in the face of change will soothe your panic attacks and keep you sane and sober-blooded. Even if you fail, you’ll know exactly how to breathe and face what’s in front of you once it eventually strikes again. Stay calm and visualize a better tomorrow; if anything else, it will give you strength to dive deep and weather the storm. And, in case there’s somebody’s hand to reach out to, grab it firmly and don’t let go.

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Being flexible against adversities takes a lot of learning, just as staying brave demands a lot of courage. It’s a long, arduous step-by-step routine, and you can reach the end only by swimming on. Persist, even when you fall.

5. Never Stop Searching for Inspiration

And, if it’s a guidance you need, where else to seek it than in experiences of others? Find it in art, in people around you, in chance encounters. The pure beauty of perseverance can be discovered where you expect it the least, so never stop searching for inspiration. If self-help literature soothes your pains and clears your mind, don’t let cynics discourage you. Your path toward reconciliation is nobody’s but yours to choose.

Ever heard of Nick Vujicic? Or Nando Parado? Inspiring people sound their yawps over the roofs of the world, sometimes voiceless, sometimes limbless, sometimes both. Born without arms, Jessica Cox became the most unusual certified pilot in the world, and you can rarely see her without a smile on her face. If you’ve already ripped all of your bucket lists and said goodbye to your dreams and plans, meet Sean Swarner, who’s officially became the first cancer survivor to climb Mount Everest. The stories just go on.

Make your own guidebook! Pen down your positive thoughts, cover your walls with quotes and devise your personal mantras. Whenever things get hard, they’ll be there to remind you of what you need to do. It’s the simplest of all life hacks, and one of the most effective ones.

Find beauty in the world, but never stay blind for its ugliness. However daunting, adversities and emotional pain challenge our inner strength, thus making us resilient and allowing us to grow. As soon as you recognize them as the wind in your sails instead of the devastating storm, the purpose will become simple and clear.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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