Today I want to talk about decisions. Not about micro-decisions (aka the ones we make every single day), but about the important ones.
I am also not talking about making “physical” decisions like buying a house or choosing another job – although these might be related to the REAL decisions you should make – but about the decisions that truly make you happy.
Let me tell you a story:
In 2018 I quit my job.
After having “kind of” quit my job in 2011 and 2014, I was still an employee in 2017. But after suffering a serious knee injury in late spring, and undergoing surgery a couple of months later, I started thinking about life again.
When you hit rock bottom or you go through a painful event, you WAKE UP. It’s like your true self, who has been hiding for so long underneath daily duties and temporary distractions – your job, fun, women – suddenly comes to the surface and reminds you of who you are and what you want from life.
Among those gray days filled with excruciating pain, I found myself questioning everything, mainly whether the path I had been on in the last years was what I really wanted.
Of course, deep down I knew the answer, but I was too coward to admit it or to make the decision to embrace what my gut was telling me – which was to quit my job and become the captain of my own ship.
Three months later, I went to Latin America for a one-month trip with a friend. And what seemed like a “superficial” journey between Chile, Colombia, and Mexico, turned out to be the confirmation of what I had already felt many months before.
When I returned to the dark, cold Germany, after spending a whole month with lots of sun, girls, and “irresponsible” fun, it was like someone had stabbed me from the inside, leaving a discomfort that I could no longer cure. And two weeks later, I submitted my letter of resignation.
Rationally, it was probably one of the worst decisions I have ever made. The amount of stress I went through the following year, by being dependent on unemployment benefits and on a job agency that treated me like a stupid child, is something I won’t even recommend to my worst enemy (ok, maybe I will).
But in terms of soul fulfillment? It was the best decision I have ever made in my life. For the first time in many years, I finally felt free – especially in the first three months, when I found myself traveling, writing on my blog, and planting the seeds of what would be my future business.
I remember spending the whole month of July in Portugal, and not for once did I remember feeling anxious or worried. If something like “just being yourself” exists, this was it.
And even when hell came afterward, where I went through months of anguish, moronic control, and financial struggle, I still felt a huge sense of PRIDE and ACCOMPLISHMENT which I had probably never felt before.
Because after all, I had finally decided to be brutally honest with myself and follow what every cell of my body was screaming, not what others expected me to do.
This to say what?
That deep down you know. Deep down you know what you want and what is best for you. Not in the sense that this decision will be better for you in terms of what society sees as better, but better for you in terms of what your soul says.
You may keep a job you dislike, even hate, and buy the car or the house of your dreams. On the other hand, you may quit it and find yourself in deep financial shit. But the latter will make you feel alive, while the former dead inside.
Now, first of all, let’s be clear: you SHOULDN’T quit your job, but keep it, at least until your side hustle or whatever you are trying to build on the side surpasses your monthly income aka paycheck (or gives you, at least, very good indications that it will).
Unless, of course, you find yourself in such a soul-killing level – like I was at the beginning of 2018, after returning from Latin America – that resigning will be the only way to prevent you from drowning.
Second, this is much more than just about your job or occupation, but about ALL the decisions you KNOW that will completely set the direction of your life.
When you live in city A because it has a good standard of living, but you have never really connected with it. In theory, everything should be fine but you know something is off.
On the other hand, you can’t stop thinking about that city you visited last year, where the sun shone every day and the people were so nice.
Yeah, it was just a holiday and we all know how being abroad and out of your routine will change the perception (for the better) you have of a certain place or experience. However, during those days, you felt refreshed even when you didn’t sleep that much.
You felt genuinely well, even when there was not a real reason for that.
You felt alive, something that you rarely feel back home.
This can also be about your lifestyle. You may find yourself in a long relationship and getting prepared to get married and have children. But then, you go away with a couple of friends to a country far away from home and suddenly that manly part of you comes out.
You enjoy meeting new people and flirting with new girls, and for those 4-5 days you feel like being yourself. Unlike home, you don’t stress out, life feels simple. And you realize how being single aligns with who you are as a person. That this is, after all, your true nature.
The same applies to the exact opposite: when you keep living the single life – probably because you like the approval and the respect you get from all your male friends – but deep down all you want is to settle down with a nice chick who will take care of your days and warm up your nights.
Talking about a girl, what about this nice blonde you have shared a life with for the last couple of years? She’s hot, educated, and for the most part someone whom you truly enjoy spending time with. However, there is another part of you who keeps whispering in your ear something your prefrontal cortex does not want to hear:
How come you often find yourself comparing her with some other girls you had before? “How can this be?”, you think, “even when she has all the characteristics that make her the right girl for me?” Again, you know the answer.
Even if we rarely think about it, or tend to neglect it in most cases, when it comes to important life decisions, we ALWAYS have the answer inside us. If you are starting a business or building some skills, you definitely should consult others, study, assess, and think rationally if you want those things to grow. But when it comes to deciding what is the best for you, you already know it.
The thing is that we have been programmed in such a way that we tend to ignore, even mock our subconscious mind who keeps reminding us about the truth, without any filters or embellishments. That “voice” in your head silently screaming to make a 180° turn and follow the life you want.
We all love theories because they can easily and quickly justify most of the choices we make. The problem is that those theories, which are based on rational premises, rarely align with who we truly are. Those answers lie in the deepest core of your soul which knows no reasons or motives. Only what is truly best for you.
So whenever you find yourself “thinking about life”, stop, and take it seriously. Don’t think this is just a stupid thought because it is your soul screaming for help. Screaming for you to make the right decision, even when that decision seems no right at all – at least in the eyes of others.
In the end, if you keep doing the exact opposite of what your gut tells you to, there will be a moment in time when you will wake up feeling frustrated.
It may be the weather, just a bad day, or due to the fact that your hormones have gone crazy for a while, and that is probably the explanation.
But if that feeling lasts, then it is just your body trying to keep you alive. Because your body knows, more than anything or anyone else in this world. So just listen to it.