You are a surfer and you live in Slovakia. You love the ocean, the swell and the perfect waves coming into your direction. For you, there is nothing more perfect than standing up on your board and surfing them as if the rest did not matter.
You could be a skater, a rollerblader, a bike rider but no, you are a surfer. Wherever you are at, whomever you are with or whichever situation you fall into, you identify yourself and always feel like a surfer.
But you keep living in Slovakia. There is something which clearly does not match – and you know it – but you keep living there. All your day is spent in you adjusting and adapting yourself to the environment around you.
And strangely enough, even when everything clearly indicates that you should move and relocate to somewhere where you would have the sea just a couple of minutes away, you keep staying. You do not know why, but you keep being a surfer in Slovakia, a fish out of water living a life whose existence is still there to be decoded.
Denying your own nature
Humans are strange. Instead of following their true nature, instincts, gut or whatever you want to call it, most of the times they keep taking decisions which put them further from their goals or from what would give them real satisfaction and even self-fulfillment.
Right now you might be laughing and thinking that my example is totally exaggerated and makes no sense at all. I know, it may sound absurd at a first glance, but actually it is a metaphor to what many do in “real-life situations”.
For instance, you spot a cute girl, who even stares at you and looks interested. You go talk to her, she laughs but somehow you feel that this conversation will lead to nowhere. Maybe she is just an attention-seeker or someone just looking for validation.
But instead of leaving the scene, you stay there, charmed and being led by her (good) physical appearance. Until she eventually and politely interrupts the interaction, leaving you dumbfounded about the reasons behind it.
Regarding your career, you have already sent about thirty or forty job applications and you keep being rejected. Instead of doing a big change in your life, you focus instead on improving your resume and cover letter, in order that someone in the human resources in any given company calls you to go for an interview.
It eventually happens, you get the job and you become the happiest person on the planet.
At least for a couple of days.
Then you realize that this job you got is quite similar to the one you had left some months before and had almost burned you out.
And concerning your personal life, you want to live in a big house, where you can feel the nature around you. You also dream about having that understanding wife by your side, who supports you and whom you can communicate perfectly with, even when being in silence.
But what do you get instead? An apartment in the center of a huge city, where noise and chaos are part of your daily routine.
Regarding your wife, consider a good day when she does not make a scene every time you leave the dishes in the sink or your or the toilet seat up when you finish your “animal duties”.
A filter you should start seeing as positive
The examples before mean two things:
First, that you are looking for the wrong things.
Second, that you will never find the right ones if you keep doing the same thing, following the same principles and having the same procedures and behaviours.
Let us take the girl example into account:
What you think you want: a super attractive girl.
What you actually want: an attractive girl, who has a nice personality and whom you can establish a nice connection with.
You see, when you look for something based on external factors or on what society, your friends, the media or whatever tells you to follow, you are going against your own nature.
When you are talking to a hot girl whom you understand, just after some minutes of conversation, that you will never really engage with, then you are not being honest with yourself. And guess what? She will feel it too and, like all girls do, she will anticipate any possible defeat to her side and therefore will blow you off first.
The job example:
What you think you need: to find a decent, stable job, which will a give you respect and consideration among your friends, acquaintances and relatives.
What you really need: to follow your gut and go after you want, which might be to open that restaurant you have always wanted to, to start a lawyer firm or to have an e-commerce store.
You send applications and you get rejected. First of all, understand that if your profile and resume are not good enough for a certain company, it does not mean that others will not find it appropriate.
(Attention that with this I am not saying that you must have a shitty profile which must be accepted in any case. If you have only worked in McDonald’s, you do not have any academic formation and you only speak English, then do not expect that you deserve more than being put on the side).
Then, instead of getting upset and frustrated with that “non-acceptance”, see it as a favour which the HR workers are actually doing to yourself: since your profile does not match what they are looking for, you are simply avoiding any burnout, hassle and frustration you could have in the future.
Because the main question is this: are you sending applications because you really want that office job or just because you are in autopilot mode?
Isn’t your dream to become an actor? Or a business owner? Or even a musician?
The more you force yourself to follow a path which goes in the opposite direction of what you desire, the more your brain will get used to it. And in the end, the more “in the middle of nowhere” you will be, turning your life into a frustrating existence.
And what about the house example?
What do you think your life should be: to have a nice apartment and a Mercedes parked outside – to give you social status among your neighbours – along with a wife who has a degree in Medicine.
How your life should really be: to live in a place which gives you satisfaction, having next to you a wife who understands you and is in the same wavelength as you.
Maybe this house would be in the middle of nowhere, where you would have just a couple of neighbours. So you would need neither that fancy 5-room mansion nor that fast car to impress anyone. Moreover, your wife could be a humble nurse with not that much money, but at least someone whom you could laugh and totally match with.
But the reality is that most people take decisions of what is supposed to be, not actually based on what they want. So they end up following the above examples, ending up in a dead-end with almost no more possibility of turning back.
It feels like living in a hell, where one’s daily routine is filled with anxiety, sadness and even some anger. While these people’s time could be used to be creative, productive or even relaxed, it is used instead to fight their personal dissatisfaction and frustration.
Which life are you going to choose?
This exercise forces you to be honest with yourself. You need to know what you want, even if that goes against all the social conventions and dogmas.
(And trust me, unless you want to become an ISIS activist or you have a deep will to have sex with teenagers under 16, then there is not really nothing wrong with you)
Who is the one to blame if you live in a place which you do not like and whose structure/logistics/options not only do not suit you but especially frustrate and annoy you? You are, my friend.
Who is the one to blame if you are stuck in a job which you do not like, working with people who you despise and serving a boss who does not respect you? You are, my friend.
Who is the one to blame if you have find yourself living with a girl who gives you many more headaches than good moments and whom you actually do not like that much? You are, my friend.
Do you see any gun pointed at your face (aside from this Pistol I am pointing you right now)? Do you live in any dictatorship or under an opressive regime which obliges you to do something you do not really want?
Look, I know money, status, social acceptance and all those superficial aspects are relatively important. After all, we are social beings and I would be a total hypocrite if I would tell you that you could be a bum dressed in a clown suit, driving a two-horsepower car, that everything would be totally fine.
But between that and being a cubicle rat, who hates his life, the only things which really change are the clothes, the money in the bank and the social network.
The rest – the lack of meaning, the “going wth the flow”, the acceptance of reality of how it is and the choice for the easiest path – are all similar.
In the end of the day, if you are a surfer in Slovakia, even when everyone else is a snowboarder in Austria or a skater in California, just stick to it.
Own that title.
Be proud of it.
Life is too short to be looking for snow in the desert.
Stop living someone else’s life, or you will risk your own. This is not a warning, it is a guarantee.