We’ve all been there.
Working a job, to get to the job you’re passionate about.
And then there are those jobs that you never imagined yourself in, yet the opportunity to succeed and grow present itself in a charismatic way, tugging onto your dreams with its sticky fingers in a way that you simply cannot resist, creating a shiny new path that you never thought possible.
However, we live in a world that demands fast paced, high adrenaline living with over crammed calendars, and stressed out minds, making this job hunt more difficult than ever. Living to popular, but false belief that we need to work ourselves into the ground daily to achieve this “American Dream.” This mindset, paired with nonstop focus, dipped and spun in high stress regimes, forces our attention to become self-focused, thinking this will lead us to happiness and success; the recipe to a societal approved lifestyle. Stress causes us to become more self-interested, and as a consequence, we have less of that natural ability to connect with others as our empathy declines in the process.
So here we are, working the 9-5 grind, making money, pushing our deep connections with others and our health to the side while we delve into something that seems essential to maintain success and happiness. But what if I said there was more to our existence? More than responding to the pace of life that has become increasingly faster with a constant overabundance of information as soon as we wake, partially due to the implementation of technology in America over the decades, that gives us more of a long term happiness compared to the fleeting, “I have to be stressed in order to know I’m doing the right thing” mindset. We are becoming overwhelmed and have lost touch with reality. According to psychologist Dr. Emma Seppälä, living an open hearted life, having compassion for yourself in order to have compassion for others can accelerate our success to BE. Our deep connections with other people, while becoming more compassionate for those outside of ourselves gives us more meaning and depth to our temporary lives. We don’t need to make ourselves mad, exhausting our nervous system, creating imbalances in our bodies, living these impossibly crazy lifestyles to make us more productive, when the social relationships we experience are as important as food and shelter on the scale of human needs.
As I write this, I can’t help but reflect on my current job. I work 60 hours a week, 10 hours a day with an individual with a traumatic brain injury. He is overly aggressive, a body builder and has hypersexual tendencies. We have lost 6 staff in two months due to his hazardous behavior and we are now closing the program due to liability, physical and mental stress pressed on the staff and his inability to be safe in the community. Do I feel a sense of compassion when I work for individuals who have a hard time helping themselves? Absolutely. Have I lost connection with who I am and the deep connections in my personal life due to stress? Unquestionably. I DARED to be a beacon of hope for this individual, but now that the program is ending, I have to DARE to be something I’ve never been, that perhaps I’ve always wanted to be. These brief 4 months working with this individual has shown me that life is too short, that I have to 100% authentically and genuinely pull from the passion within myself to DARE to dream and push forth the effort into a new occupation that may not have immediate successful results. But I know one day, I will have my Ph.D. in psychology and I will write a book on positive psychology and make a difference in this world by being a light many of us have yet to unveil. Miniscule or not, my goal in life is to BE something bigger than the 9-5, risk failing and falling hard on my face to achieve something bigger than what society offers us. “When you do what you love with passion, success won’t be far away.”