As a young adult I had no clear direction for what I wanted from my life, especially when it came to my career. So I did what we often do when we are unsure about something, I followed the crowd. In this case that took me to London where I hoped to get lucky and stumble across a career that I loved.
Having not excelled academically, a lot of the perceived dream jobs with big banks and corporate companies weren’t options for me, without top grades they simply wouldn’t even consider my application. Yet I couldn’t help but feel that was just fine. While my friends celebrated new jobs in big corporate offices, the thought of working in front of a computer all day really didn’t interest or inspire me.
I knew this attitude would bring about a few disappointments within my family, my upbringing and education had very much pointed me down that path in life. I was expected to do the same steady and reliable type of office job just like the normal people. At that age I was emotionally immature, not strong enough or connected enough to follow my heart and, against my true desires, I took an office job in central London.
The job was fine, I got paid a good amount of money but I felt restricted sitting between office walls and I was generally uninspired about what I did each day. I soon learnt that while we need a job to earn money to put a roof over our head, it isn’t money that makes us happy. That comes from relationships, connections and spending time doing what we love.
My perception had previously been that success was indeed about getting a good job and making lots of money to live in a big house and perhaps drive a fancy car. But as I’ve grown older I’ve started to wonder, shouldn’t success be measured by how much I enjoy my life and how fulfilled I feel, rather than simply how much money I have? After all, I know plenty of rich people who live their lives stressed and unhappy because they spend most of their time working at a job they don’t like. I don’t wish to be difficult but are these people really living a successful life simply because they get paid well? Our bank account can be poor but our soul can still be rich, and vice versa.
I now see success as living a life that inspires and fulfils me, one that makes me proud of the person I am, that makes my heart beat excitedly with energy and purpose about what I am going to achieve each day. It’s living this way that shows the best of my personality and makes me feel truly alive.
By doing the things that are close to my heart and by spending time on the stuff that interests me, I wake up inspired and go to sleep satisfied. To me that is successful living.
While I’ve followed my heart, I understand we are all different and we all have our own wishes and vision for life. I fully acknowledge that for some people, working in an office or at a bank is what they have always dreamed of, but personally that just wasn’t the case and I’ve done what’s right for me.
We get one opportunity at this game of life. Living successfully means connecting with our passions and working exceptionally hard at them so that we can spend our life doing what we love. That is what the happiest of people do, and if you ask me, they are the truly successful ones.