Sunday, March 13th, 2011
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Kole McRae of Office Buddha
I used to be a door to door salesman. I would get up around 6am to spend a 10 hour day selling phone services to people who didn’t really need them. I hated the job and dreaded each morning (I got no days off) but for some strange reason I just kept on doing it.
The money was pretty good. It covered rent and food and it let me go out and have fun whenever I felt like it. I reasoned that I only had to do it for a few years and then I could take a 2 year break and just live off my savings. So things sucked right now, the future would rock.
In reality I was lying to myself. Every since I was a kid it had been beaten into me that you have to suffer if you want something good. You suffer through school to get a good job, suffer through 50 or more years of work to get a good retirement. You’re whole life would be suffering just so you could get maybe 20 years of fun.
This is completely wrong. You can be happy now AND in the future. All you have to do is get your priorities right.
Chances are your priorities right now center around money. It’s understandable why they would be. Without money you can’t afford a place to stay, food to eat, nights out with the girls, etc. You think that if you work hard all this week you’ll have enough money to have a fun night out on Saturday.
This is an old way of thinking that used to work incredibly well. Back in the olden days you’d get paid every week for the labour you put in. Do manual labour for 40 hours and you’d be able to party all weekend.
Things have changed though, the work we do isn’t manual any more. Most of us work in an office doing what I like to call ‘high’ thinking. We come up with strategies, use creativity and make managerial decisions.
I have an alternative: prioritize based on happiness.
What’s going to make you happy right this second? To tell your boss his haircut looks ugly and that he can take your job and stuff it?
Well, you probably shouldn’t do that.
What you can do is start work on making it so you can. Do you have a business idea burning at the back of your head? How about a novel that you know will be an instant best seller? Do you want to rock out on a stage, guitar in hand?
Why aren’t you working on that?
These days it’s become incredibly easy to make money doing what you love. Look at all the independent authors making millions. So start writing your business plan, start writing that novel. Go and take those guitar lessons you always wanted to do. You’re happiness is far more important than what your boss may want.
You’ll find as you do this that you are already feeling happier. Stress will melt away and you won’t worry about getting fired any more.
Now here is the fun part. Start having fun every day. Don’t worry about working late or doing your work at home. Instead go to a movie or out to the bar. Do something that makes you smile.
The value of money changes every day. One day an American dollar is worth its weight in gold, the next it could be worth nothing. Happiness on the other hand will always be valuable. Plus, to earn happiness, you don’t have to suffer. You just have to smile.
A few weeks after making this realization I was able to walk into my bosses office and tell him where to shove my job. I’d taken the time to apply to college, figure out all the financing (you know if you look hard enough you can go to college for free and make something of yourself).
Walking into his office with a huge grin on my face was the most exhilarating feeling of my life. I was literally shaking with excitement as I sat down and gave him the ‘bad’ news.
I’m a professional writer now and love every minute of my life. I don’t have to worry about dressing up nice or pretending to like someone I don’t. I now value my happiness above any other thing in existence.
How about your priorities? Is family more important than work? How about your health? You do know stress has been linked with heart disease right? That can’t be good for your health.
The best advice I can give is to write down all of your priorities. Make a simple list that you can look at every day. Then when you have to make a decision take a look at the list and use it to help.
When you realign you’re priorities you’ll find life gets far better.
Are you living your priorities?
How can you tweak your career so you can live more of your values?
Kole of Office Buddha is a writer and all round nice guy. He was built by a mad scientist with the parts of lesser writers. He was made to destroy the world but ends up just eating ramen all day and writing. His work has been published in newspapers, national magazines, blogs around the world and even on the radio.
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