|04-28-2009, 12:26 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: May 2008
Maybe had a breakthrough. Not sure what to do with it?
I've been having a tough time lately. I month or two ago I thought I had made some progress in the area of life purpose. But the more I worked in that area the more I felt burnt out. Before long I became completely drained and depressed about it so I just dropped everything. In the meantime I decided to lie low and journal my thoughts and feelings in the hope that things would become clear.
I have been journaling up to a few thousand words per day. Much of it is angry or me throwing a 1 man pity-party, swinging between rants of "The Matrix has me!" to desperate "Boo hoo I'm screwed" type of stuff. It's tough to say if this writing is helping me or pulling me further into my head.
I have a decent JOB by other people's standards maybe but I am uninspired. It doesn't do anything for me and I'm not doing too much for it.
I'll notice that I repeatedly come up with some idea of a "way out", a way out of my job that is formulated according according to things I already know or can do. I see two problems with this: 1. the approach of looking for a way out is motivated by pain and fear, 2. I'm limiting my options by whatever is already in my history.
The 1st problem is bad because pain and fear are not good motivators (you only move far enough so that they are no longer acute). The 2nd problem is bad because nothing in my history has worked the way I wanted to and because life is obviously much larger than my tiny slice of personal history.
So I'll cycle through these escape plans, grabbing at anything that looks like it will work, become disillusioned or unmotivated and then cycle back to square one.
I'm burning out completely and almost had a small crack-up at work. Nothing serious but I needed to take a time out several times to recommit to what I needed to do. It's not that the job is bad but my attitude towards it stinks. My internal resistance to it is taking a huge toll on me.
After work I decided to take some down time. No blogs, no internet or email. No friends or family. No books. Just me and the ceiling fan. I did a thought experiment that is familiar to everyone.
I got myself in a certain frame of mind by contemplating "What if I had all the money I would ever need and never needed to work or worry about money again?"
I kept considering this question and running my mind and body through it: "What if I didn't have to work tomorrow, how would I feel right now? What would I do right now? What would I do tomorrow? What would I stop doing in my life? What would I say yes to that I'm saying no to now? What would I say no to that I'm currently saying yes to?"
I kept going on and on like this, working to keep my mind in that state to see what might take place if it was actually true.
I noticed that there are several things in my life that I would drop completely.
I would give up coding/programming and probably unsubscribe from all the blogs on business and technology I subscribe to now. I would probably cut out half of the self-improvement blogs I subscribe to that are finance centric. I would cut relationships with certain people that I think I only pursue because there is mutual business benefit but no connection otherwise.
I glimpsed so many areas where I put myself in a little box, accepted limiting rules or otherwise curb my thoughts and behavior because of beliefs that are grounded in fear or sometimes anger.
The first thing I'd do is get together some good friends and get dinner. Then I'd probably take care of some loose ends here and buy a ticket to somewhere sunny near the beach and recharge for a few days. Beyond that I really don't know what I'd do. I can't see anything beyond that. I don't know who I would want to be so that I could maybe work backwards.
The biggest thing I found amazing to me was the feeling in my body when I was in that state. It was like a monstrous burden had been lifted from me. A big weight lifted off of my chest, shoulders and back. I felt light and energized instead of heavy and dull. Certain physical pains I live with constantly seemed greatly reduced. It left me with a "WTF?" feeling. More accurately "WTF - is what I'm doing now really this bad for me? Am I this far out of harmony with life?"
I realize more than ever the total and complete grip that fear has over my life. Fear of what will happen if I don't have a steady source of money coming in. Fear of even acknowledging what I want or considering that it's ok for me to go after it. I'm not at the point where I can even see most of these things.
(One good thing is that being able to temporarily get out from under the grip of this fear, I found that the way I handle many of my personal relationships and my health were the same. So I feel good about that at least.)
Now I'm wondering what the next step is. I guess more contemplation? Cutting out all those blogs? Dropping all those relationships? Letting those activities I dropped truly slide? What else would others suggest?
I feel like I had an important experience and I'm not sure what to do with it or how to keep building on it. I'm in a tough place and could use a hand.
|04-28-2009, 05:25 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Sydney, Australia
Fighting your fears (financial insecurity or even bankruptcy) without a safety net (employment) however illusory it may be, is the hardest thing in the world.
Most of the things you spoke of doing if you quit your job tomorrow, you can already do. Take a vacation, unsubscribe to most of your blogs, only keeping the most valuable ones, I'd say 3 at the most, and figure out: if there's any job I could be doing, what would it be?
Then figure out how you can turn that into something you love. If you need time that a full-time job can't give you, try cutting back to 3-4 days a week. The important thing is to keep trying and to accept failure: there are lots of ways not to make money doing something you love: but you only need one way to get it right.
|04-28-2009, 08:25 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: May 2008
You are right that I can do many of these things now. I have already started. And I will keep taking action.
I can't see anything past those actions I described above. Maybe once I act on those I'll be able to see what to do next... I seem to remember Steve writing something about this somewhere but I can't remember where.
|04-30-2009, 01:20 AM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
DJCT, great post, thanks for sharing your experience. In addition to continuing to take action, I'd recommend working on developing your higher purpose. This part really stuck out:
Hope that helps
|04-30-2009, 02:01 PM||#5 (permalink)|
Join Date: May 2008
Thanks for your comment Tom.
The "there" part is something I've been working on for years now. I don't know if it struggling with the fears that is making everything so difficult?
I can go someplace quiet and get myself into the proper state. I can get myself to feel what I would feel if money was no object, if I didn't have to work again. It feels incredible. I can start to envision what I would do. But then the question always pop up:
"How do I make money like this?"
Every thing I might envision gets put through this filter of "how can this make money?" and if there is no way I can currently conceive of the activites making money it gets dropped.
There are a lot of problems with this, the biggest 2 that I see being:
1. Just because it doesn't make money directly doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile,
2. Just because it's not immediately clear how I would make money doesn't mean that some method wouldn't become clear to me down the road.
I tried getting rid of the idea of having a JOB in my mind but it just gets replaced by things like writing e-books, blogging, podcasting or something similar. None of which I feel any affinity for. It's like I can't escape these little boxes I've made for myself.
|05-01-2009, 02:22 AM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
DJCT, so have you already identified what you would do all day if you didnít need the money, but economic challenges are really the constraining factors? In that case, it seems to be a different problem entirely. But Iím going to go ahead and assume youíve already thought about the different ways to attack the problem: simply quitting, going part time/contractor, or pursuing your passion in your non-work time. Iím also going to go ahead and assume that youíve weighed the pros and cons of each option, and you donít like the consequences of any of these courses of action: a sizeable pay cut or burn out.
I wish I could come up with a magical solution for you, but Iím afraid to say I canít see one. I think youíve come to the same conclusion as well. In the end, I think it really comes down to this: how badly do you want your freedom, and how much money are you willing to sacrifice to get it?
Iíve made a lot of assumptions here, so please correct me if Iím off-base. I think you know to get to where you want to be, but youíre allowing your fear to hold you back from the life you want to live.
Hope that helps, good luck!
|05-01-2009, 02:02 PM||#7 (permalink)|
Join Date: May 2008
Thanks for your response and support Tom.
You're exactly right: the economic challenges are a factor. I have 6mo living expenses saved up. Of course I'm already thinking "what happens when that runs out?"
Maybe the fear of not having a big picture vision yet is just another box I'm creating for myself? Maybe it is the main challenge I need to face?
Part of me says "You need to have an idea of where you're going and how to survive before you do anything drastic. That's just common sense."
Another part of me says "This need for security *is* the problem. You just have to have some faith and take the leap. The path will become clear once you stop letting fear cloud your judgment. The common sense you're thinking of is really just another way of saying: following the way everybody else does things and thinking there is security in that."
I think I just need to let go of voice #1 and trust that living more authentically will work out for me in the end, even if I can't see how just yet. It is so weird but everything I think about is somehow framed by money and fear of not having any. I guess that is something many of us struggle with on this path...
|05-02-2009, 07:28 PM||#8 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
You also seem to be thinking that you will have an epiphany after you quit your job, and will finally discover your true purpose that has been eluding you for years. Does this sound like a realistic expectation? Are there any ways to recreate this experience without actually quitting, like taking a long vacation, a leave of absence, or going part time?
If I were in your shoes, I would not abandon my career until I identified (at least!) what my passion is and how I can make a living from it. If I sincerely hated my existence, I would give a hard look at going part time or contractor just to help pay the bills while I figure it out. Once decided, the rest should be obvious, and all of the secondary concerns would likely fade into the background.
You obviously have a good handle on all of the issues and the personal challenges you face in this dilemma, and at this point I believe it's all up to you in how you want to handle it. I wish you the best!
Last edited by tc33; 05-02-2009 at 07:35 PM.
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