There seems to be 2 main lifestyle themes nowadays – simplicity versus take-life-by-the-balls.
One says pare down, give away your belongings, move to a smaller house, cut back your work hours, so you can just enjoy being. Lay in a hammock, frolic through the fields with your kids on a Tuesday afternoon, eat dinner that was made from scratch using vegetables from your own garden.
The other one says to tackle life as though it is a project. If you are not confronting your fears, you are not living. You are simply going through the motions. If it is comfortable, it is not challenging enough to be successful. If you aren’t working your butt off, you might as well not be working at all. And if you are working for someone else? Well, you should just crawl under a rock my friend. True success only happens for entrepreneurs.
Okay, so I might be exaggerating a bit here, but with social media, books, TED talks, and the like, it is hard not to hear things with this intensity.
I think most of us live somewhere in the middle of the two.
But how can we match contented living with ambition?
Appreciate where you are right now. I get that this is hard. If I am happy with what I have, why would I want more? How can I strive for more but be happy with what I have? I always thought it was one or the other. But it really isn’t. The answer is this – do not rely on the outcome of what you are striving for to be the one thing that will bring you pure happiness and make your life complete. The only thing that will bring you pure happiness is yourself, regardless of your job, business, or finances. This is a lesson I have to re-teach myself every single day. Enjoy what you have – look around and really see the wonders that fill your life. Think about what might make you feel more fulfilled, live your dream, fill your soul, and work towards that goal, knowing that you already have all the beauty and success you need to be happy.
Strive for something that nourishes your soul. Not something that just makes a lot of money , or makes you powerful. Money is an interesting thing – we always want more and once we get more, it isn’t enough. Our lifestyles change to match our incomes, and the Joneses are always around the corner. Now, I know we are not out to one up our neighbors, but it is hard to keep our heads down and not notice what others are doing. The Joneses might not be a neighbor – they may be a popular blogger, instagrammer, or designer. There is always someone who has more money than you do and has nicer things, bigger vacations, and larger retirement accounts. But what you don’t see is their inner contentment and happiness. That really, truly, only comes from nourishing your soul’s desire. And you are the only one who knows what that is. Maybe it is helping the homeless, writing, making jewelry, or working with animals. Just trying to fit in a little bit everyday can help put you on track to making bigger strides
Make it a point to see your life. Really see it. Pay attention to the choices you are making and why. How are you talking to the kids, your spouse, your co-workers? Are you taking care of yourself? It is amazing what healthy food, daily exercise and meditation can do for your mind and attitude. Nothing compares. You may feel completely stuck in some aspect of your life, but pulling yourself away from the problem and re-focusing on yourself and the basic steps of healthy living can change your entire outlook. Maybe you don’t need that fancy job afterall – maybe everything you want is right under your nose and deep down you really want to travel to Africa and build a school.
So yes, it is possible to live a contented, ambitious life. It just takes some work to not let yourself get overwhelmed by one or the other. It is always important to work on self growth, and equally important to live in the moment and appreciate all the beauty that surrounds us.
What do you think? Do you tend to live one way or the other?