How many times have you felt that you need to stick to (or stuck in) the life you’ve chosen? You know that old saying about having made your bed and so you need to lie in it. Lots of people make beds and don’t lie in them and I don’t think you should be doing it either.
Everyone makes mistakes, changes their mind or learns from experience about the kinds of beds they want to lie in and the kinds of beds they don’t.
The commitment we should be making is not to what we’ve created already, but to the vision we have of what we want to create!
Oh I know from experience. One of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made was to leave a field I had slaved and sweated over for 12 years. It wasn’t just my time that was lost, it was an investment of almost half a million dollars that went into my education and training to get a PhD in a field I was no longer interested in. I had to decide, settle for a university position doing something I wasn’t crazy about (at the expense of a lot of other things I cared about including my family and my creativity) or throw myself into a life of chaotic uncertainty, self-doubt, and self-loathing for being back to square one?
I left and I won’t lie, it was awful. I struggled so much with self-worth and lack of self-confidence. I was seventeen all over again and wondering what to do with my life. But I’m on the other side now and I survived. I also know that my soul would have died a slow, dusty death had I lay in the ‘bed’ I had made. So I made a new one.
We begin to hate the life we’ve chosen because at some point, we get ‘stuck’. Repetition creates habits, habits give us a false sense of security, and that sense of being ‘safe’ or ‘okay’ prevents us from moving forward. Aristotle knew what he was talking about when he said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” If we do boring work, we’re bored, if we do uninspiring work, we’re uninspired, and if we do things we don’t enjoy, then we are joyless. It’s that simple.
But our habit-making physiology gets us into a psychological bind: move forward towards a more meaningful but much scarier vision of your life or play it safe in the warmth and familiarity of what you’ve already got?
It’s a toughie, but if you’re not where you want to be, you need to keep tearing yourself away from ‘safe’ and forge you way into uncertainty. Every time you commit to what is now, you are letting go of what could be.
If you’re committed to an unhappy now, ask yourself,
“Do I have a clear idea of what a fulfilling ‘next’ looks like?”
That just might be the missing factor!