Change Your Life… and Lose Friends & Family?

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.

Change Your Life - Expressive Senior PortraitI 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?

Comments

  1. Hi Alain,

    This is important stuff to bear in mind. All too often people just don’t ‘get’ why we’re doing this. Of course, friends and family want and, indeed, try to be supportive, but even when they think they’re being supportive they can sometimes discourage us so much. While we don’t want to alienate or offend our loved ones, at the same time we can’t allow them to influence use to head in a direction that we know just isn’t right for us.

    Personally, I HAVE to do this. My health is such that I just cannot hold down a ‘regular’ job so I need the flexibility of working for myself. So I’m having to work hard and doubly so because of my health issues and other difficulties and worries that I’ve had to deal with over the last couple of years. These things in themselves can wear me down but it’s important that I keep going. I have to make this work and I WILL make this work. Unfortunately people sometimes just don’t fully appreciate this and that can add to the pressure, even causing me to doubt myself and question whether I should continue.

    In the end, all will come good and people will see why it is that we’re currently doing what we’re doing. As you say, it’s important not to take things personally. Once we reach our targets then we’ll be able to look back and fully appreciate how all the hard work and sacrifices were worthwhile.

    Regards,
    Glenn
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    • Hi Glenn,
      Don’t doubt yourself, just keep at it! As far as I can tell, you know exactly what you want to do with your life, so keep hold of that knowledge, as it is something many people fail to find in their lives…
      Thanks for the inspiring words!

  2. A fantastic post and so true. In my experience i have learnt that apart from family and TRUE friends (in most cases) NO-ONE wants to see you succeed. They may well enquire as to how things are progressing not to give you a pat on the back but to see if things are going your way or not. If your doing well they are full of envy and jelousy secretly wishing you ill fortune and want you to fail. Sad but true. When someone says well done, hope it works for you what they are really saying is I really hope you fail miserably as i dont want to see you succeed in any way that betters yourself! Most people believe the world owes them something. The only way to succeed is to go get it. Be driven on and inspired by those around you full of secret resentment. I love seeing it in their eyes!
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    • Hi Element46,
      Don’t hold it against them, they just don’t know any better. Sometimes, people even manage to finally accept the idea that you might be onto something, so don’t completely lose hope! 😉
      Al

  3. Alain,

    Thanks for sharing your journey. I love the story about the crabs in boiling water. As one crab tries to climb out of the boiling pot, the other crabs pull it back down! Same thing with people, right? As you try to climb out of this cookie-cutter life whereby you are one of the many working 40 to 60 hours a week so that others at the top may obtain the greatest money and power from your efforts (and the efforts of your fellow workers), you are brought back down by the people that don’t understand what you are doing, fear for your failure, or are simply jealous for your potential success.
    When you are an entrepreneur, building up in the beginning you don’t have all the time and money to do all the usual things that other people do. Most of them leave work at work when they go home at night or on the weekends. They know their paycheck will be there in the bank every two weeks. Entrepreneurs don’t always know where their next dollar is coming from and never has nights and weekends totally ‘off from work’.

    I totally salute you and what you are sharing so frankly on this blog with the rest of us. You are NOT full of hype like the other bloggers working from home or trying to work from home. You are the real deal and I appreciate it!

    Take Care,

    Jupiter Jim
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    • Hi Jupiter Jim,
      Thanks for pointing out this crab analogy, i LOVE it! 🙂
      When you’re “down in the trenches” of a daily job, it is quite difficult to see anything more than all the other people down there with you. It takes some willpower and tiptoeing to get a glimpse of what is truly possible for you to achieve. But you only need to get one level above this crowd to get a clear picture of your surroundings and your possibilities, so keep reaching for the top!
      Well, my intention form the get-go was to cut the hype and be as honest as possible, so I am really glad that I might be heading in the right direction!
      Thanks for stopping by,
      Al

  4. I have been studyng NLP when I was 15, and when observing people behavioural patterns, I always wondered why most of them behave without originality and renounce to high feelings like fun, excitement, discovery, that really make life amazing.
    Selling one’s time to do something that you don’t like, kills your inner-self in the long run, and replace these emotions with boredom, making your life so flat in the end.
    How can people surrend to this happening?

    • Hi Nicola,
      I guess that they are taught that they should behave this way and they simply don’t know any better. I can say for myself that I have lived most of my life just going with the flow (even though I knew that this was going downhill)…

  5. Nice post, Alain. You say things which most people would rather not talk or even think about, because it would make them face up to the life they have accepted. I deal with a lot of successful people who have taken control of their own lives. Of course, everyone is different in their own way, but the one thing they have in common is a deep confidence about what they are doing. I guess what I’m saying is that if you have enough faith in yourself, you can live life on your own terms and not have to worry about what others think. Family will eventually come around once they see you are doing well, and so will your true friends.

    On a lighter note, maybe the changeyourlife guy was inspired by your post and did change his life. 🙂
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    • Hi Rich,

      Yes, confidence is what makes them stick to their plans where others surrender to their doubts. It’s all too easy to let others convince you that you should not step out of your comfort zone…

      Hehe, I hope your right, then my guest post has definitely had an effect!

  6. This is 100% true and very nice post alain. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  7. I like the work done by author, keep it up.
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  8. Yeah!! A very good and Impressive article!
    after a long time i read a wonderful post on family relationship nice tips u mentioned here for

    building healthy relationship
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  9. Thanks for your impressive post! In most of my life, I’ve been just thinking about what others think about me. “Do I let my surroundings keep me from getting to where I ultimately want to be?“ is a question that I must always keep in mind because no matter what, I will just be standing in the same place if I let surroundings control how I act.
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  10. I love this thought provoking post! I loathe my job and the robotics of it and how I’m looked down upon and my potential is never realized or given a second thought to unless I run it through one of the men I work with and get them to believe it is their idea… I think instead of quitting I too will start my own thing on the side until I can fully make the switch.

  11. If you know what you’re doing and if they care for you, they will understand.
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  12. Hi,

    Awesome post.This is a great post.I like your articles and your articles are so easy to understand because it is written in so easy language.

    Thank you!
    Regards,
    Mazid Irshad

  13. Greetings Alain,

    This is imperative stuff to hold up under as a top priority. Very regularly individuals simply don’t “get” why we’re doing this. Obviously, loved ones need and, surely, attempt to be strong, however notwithstanding when they believe they’re being steady they can at times dishearten us to such an extent. While we would prefer not to estrange or annoy our friends and family, in the meantime we can’t permit them to impact utilization to head in a heading that we know simply isn’t ideal for us.

    At last, all will come great and individuals will see why it is that we’re as of now doing what we’re doing. As you say, its critical not to think about things literally. When we achieve our targets then we’ll have the capacity to think back and completely acknowledge how all the diligent function and penances were advantageous.

    Respects,

    Rahul
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  23. Nice post, Alain. You say things which most people would rather not talk or even think about, because it would make them face up to the life they have accepted. I deal with a lot of successful people who have taken control of their own lives.

  24. have been studyng NLP when I was 15, and when observing people behavioural patterns, I always wondered why most of them behave without originality and renounce to high feelings like fun, excitement, discovery, that really make life amazing.
    Selling one’s time to do something that you don’t like, kills your inner-self in the long run, and replace these emotions with boredom, making your life so flat in the end.

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