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October 2017

Directional Filter: Finding your way through life without earplugs

October 16, 2017

How does one really know what direction they should follow? Is there really a cosmic compass that will lead us to happiness?

Many of us look to our parents to show us how to live, and we tend to follow a similar path through life.

The unwritten rules of life seem fairly obvious. Go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, grow old, retire and try to live it up while waiting to die.

If we are supposed to serve as a guiding light for our children, how should a parent who doesn’t know where they are going lead the way? What use is a lighthouse with a burned out bulb?

I think my compass is broken, but I’m going to follow it anyway.

I have had many professions over the course of thirty years. I am also the holder of several professional certifications currently going to waste. Every course or class seemed essential at the time. How else would I ever become successfully happy?

My career decisions generally come down to two choices. What will make the most money, or what will make me happy?

These two approaches have helped to solidify the notion that in the end money can’t buy you happiness, and happiness isn’t going to provide you money.

I’ve now realized the most important thing money will ever give you, is the ability to buy yourself time. Time away from doing whatever it is you do to make money.

Find some of that happiness by stepping away from your obligations.

Trouble is that we spend the majority of our lives trying to make the money or moving from one obligation to another.

What is the first thing you do when you have a free moment?

Probably check your phone, just to make sure you didn’t miss something. An email, text, or some other notification…

The distractions we are subjected to today are endless. We have so much mindlessness to choose from. How do you get your fix? Streaming an entire season of some new show? Scrolling through Twitter for hours?

Like, may others I have contemplated deleting my social media accounts to remove the distraction. Take away the urge to just check in and see whats going on. See who’s out there traveling, getting new jobs, working on goals, and making tons of money. Making tons of memories.

Sometimes everyone is doing so awesome it makes your everyday uneventful life seem like shit. If I could only be more productive at work, I can end up making more money to pay for everything that I’ve ever wanted and so on and so forth…

Today we are so wrapped up in wants that we have completely forgotten our needs.

Now that I have wasted the few free moments I had been envious for no good reason, I guess I’ll just work on what I really wanted to do later.

Trying to pick a direct path to your optimal life destination has become increasingly difficult.

So many people have a solution to your specific problem, and they all vary just so slightly. Form a new habit, cut out this and that. All of these ideas will most likely work if applied correctly.

You might even be successful in adopting several solutions. But what if you keep getting more options? A few more tweaks here and there.

Even though something is working, you decide to undermine it by trying something that promises even better results.

For example:

I once Googled how to make a living as a writer. Of course, I found tons of useful information to apply, and since the internet knows everything about me, I  now have an untold number of guru’s popping up in my Facebook feed telling me a few hundred different ways to do it.

Not going to lie. I love seeing new tips and tricks arrive every day in emails and random promoted posts. I love to learn new things. There is so much information to consume and so many things to practice. So much work to be done.

Having so much information thrown at me on a daily basis makes me think that I don’t know enough though. That I’m not heading in the right direction.

Second, guessing myself and my work starts to suck. No one likes to suck at anything, so you end up not doing anything so you can’t suck at it.

This has led to me setting a higher priority on consuming information on increasing creative output while resulting in zero creative production. The exact opposite of what I set out to accomplish. So my goal is to adjust priorities accordingly.

But wait…

Maybe I’ll just watch some Netflix instead. That is so much easier than trying to create something I can be proud of.

I should also see what everyone is up to on Facebook. I have a bunch of notifications, so I must be missing something.

On any given day you are subject to so much noise that only serves to divert your attention. Even though everyone is trying to help in their own way, know when to tune them out.

Set priorities, and try to ignore the noise.