You are what you do. Nothing demonstrates this universal truth more than that classic question, “Sooo… what do you do?”
How you respond to this question will always reveal your true feelings on how your time is currently spent.
“Sooo… what do you do?”
Answer the question.
Answer it out loud if you can.
Answer it inside your head if you can’t.
Answer it NOW!
Most of us have a response ready. We’ve answered this question before and you either dread it or you love it. If you love it, most times… you are the one asking it.
So, are you proud of what you do?
Good for you. You have either found true value in what you do for a living or you have an interesting or glamorous gig that you like talking about.
Are you vague about it? Do you answer it quickly and push it back to the asker?
Do you follow it up, with…
“It’s a job.”
“Hey, it pays the bills.”
Look, the point of this exercise is simply a pulse check, a life check and an opportunity to recalibrate – if needed. If you are happy, then you have won.
The reason it’s a such a hot question is because we internally KNOW that we ARE what we DO. If we are doing something that we know we aren’t – it bothers us, it doesn’t feel right. This is the root of a lot of our unhappiness.
The common answer to this question is “what we do for money”.
Here’s why: work generally consumes at least 8 hours a day and it’s where most of your time is spent. You will sleep around 8, and that leaves you with 8 hours to spend as you wish… you can use it for hobbies, spend it with friends and family, sleep more or work more.
The truth is you can’t say you DO something, without actually spending a lot of time doing it.
Now let’s look more closely at how you personally spend your time…
What do you do for money? How many days and how many hours per day?
What do you do for fun? How many days and how many hours per day?
If no one were to judge you, what would you change? How would you rearrange it? What would you do instead?
Look, whatever you DO – it has to be worth your time.
Some are happy grinding out whatever work they’re doing and then enjoying their afterwork life and weekends. Their family is fed and comfortable… their family is happy, so they are happy. The point is to be happy, so if you are happy… you have won.
But if you know you hate what you are doing and how you are spending your time – you have to stop doing it.
Do things, try things and do work with the intention to discover what it is you DO want to do. You may not know what you want to do forever, but if you discover what you hate doing – stop doing it! If you discover what you love doing, then keep doing it.
There are plenty of things you can do for money that would simply feel better and fit better. It might not be the same amount of money, but it will feel better. You may have to adjust your lifestyle, but you are adjusting it to be happy rather than settling your life for money.
Work is simply trading your time for money and only you can determine the cost and value of your time. Only you can set it’s worth. But here is something to consider… you can NEVER get time back.
How we spend our time is our most important decision, work easily takes up most of that time. We have advanced as a society to where we no longer have to hunt for food and fight for daily survival. That time we used to spend on survival is now spent working for money – money we use to buy food, clothes, shelter and things. Money is necessary, if we don’t want to go hunt for our food anymore.
The problem is we have lost perspective and end up living a life driven purely on the pursuit of accumulating money – often independent of our passion, our interest and natural abilities.
Making money becomes the primary goal and we trade our time for it, time that we will NEVER get back. Time that we can spend with our friends and family. Time that we can spend enjoying things we love and things that makes us feel alive.
To avoid being labeled as idealistic, I’d like to suggest these 3 practical tips to get your life back in line and stop unhappiness.
If you hate what you are doing, do something else that you might enjoying doing. Take a pay cut and readjust your life. Do this and repeat until you find something that sticks. You might have to take a gig that isn’t what you want to get the gig that you do want. Keep trying and don’t just accept a life that you know will make you unhappy.
No matter how unpractical your interests, passions and hobbies may seem… start there. How can you make money doing those things? Research how others do it. Talk to those people. Dabble in it after work. Do it on weekends. Start the process.
Starting your own business isn’t always answer, it might just be working in a different industry or doing something outdoors and not behind a desk. It might be the opposite – switching from being outdoors and going into the office. Open your options – your options do exists. Do what needs to be done to make those options available.
Look, all I am asking is for you to not settle. We live in a time where ANYONE can do ANYTHING they want and make a living. It won’t be easy, but the effort will be worth it. Once you survive past the adjustment and transition period, you’ll be surprised to know that the pursuit in itself is the beginning of living a life worth living. #LIVELIVENOW