NOTE: This was a guest post I had done a couple of months ago for a site called changeyourlife.net. Apparently, this site does not exist anymore, so I decided to repost the original guest post here.
I have to assume that most people I know are NOT happy. They are okay, getting by, satisfied in the best of cases. We live in a society where you are taught values that have been established by the industrial revolution. You ought to get specialized in a specific field and then work diligently until you’re too old to get the work done. This kind of system sure is nice if you happen to be a factory owner, but if you are an educated individual who is in constant self-discovery and trying to have a meaningful impact on your surroundings… not so much!
Heading in the wrong direction
You see, most of us know, consciously or subconsciously, that we are heading in the wrong direction, but we stick to it. People generally assume that this is how it is supposed to be. If you try to change this situation, you will certainly encounter a lot of resistance in your immediate entourage. How dare you question the values that were passed on by your parents and grand-parents? How dare you think you need not adhere to the unwritten rules of society? How dare you demand to be truly happy?
What will I have to face?
I have been working in an okay job for nearly a decade now, and I am striving to change over to a life of entrepreneurship and self-control. It has been about a year now since I’ve made this decision and started working towards this goal in my spare time, and I slowly realized that the obstacles you encounter along the way are not at all what you would expect. It is not the extra effort I have to put in to work a regular job and to build up my business as well. It is not finding ideas and opportunities in which you can invest. No, it is the multitude of very personal everyday decisions people impose on you, as starting a new life also entails shaking up the old life. And the people who are part of this ‘old life’ will most probably not respond favorably to these changes.
Why should people respond negatively to my goals?
It will be difficult for most people to understand what you are going through and how important and inevitable it is to you. Once you have made up your mind and head towards the purpose that brings you fulfillment, there is no going back. But what about your family, your friends? They may not understand why you suddenly disrespect your former life, why you don’t join them in their treadmill efforts. They might even be personally offended by your actions. Do you simply leave them behind? Or can you agree on a compromise?
These are no easy questions to answer, and I can’t really give you any practical advice. It might well be that your true friends will accompany you all the way. It might be that your family will learn to respect your choices and finally see what this was all about. Whatever the case, though, be prepared for conflict and loss. Not everyone will get along with your new self, and envy or anger can get a hold of the best amongst them.
How should I deal with this?
- Before starting out, take a moment to look inside you and find out whether you are prepared to make some sacrifices to achieve your goals. It could be that not everyone you start out with will follow you to the finish line.
- Try to understand what the changes you intend to make will mean to your relatives and friends. Maybe you can explain your actions in a way as to make sure they don’t feel excluded from your life.
- Don’t take it personally when someone feels offended by your actions. The last thing you’ll want to do is to escalate the situation by reacting too harshly.
- Assume that things will turn out the way they are supposed to. If you keep engaging with your friends and family, those who appreciate you as a person will eventually respect your decisions and actions. It is however difficult to know in advance who you’ll be able to convince in this way…
- On a more positive note, once you get people to buy in to your ideas and goals, and to really encourage and assist you in your endeavors, you’ll find that they carry you through difficult times and enable you to be the best you can be.
In the end, you’ll have to answer one fundamental question to yourself: “Do I let my surroundings keep me from getting to where I ultimately want to be?“