The truth can be uncomfortable at times. Especially when you’re first exposed to it. Especially when you start to see its impact on everything around you. However, just because it is the truth for some people, it doesn’t mean it needs to be the truth for you.
You have a choice.
Here are four uncomfortable truths about life. Reject them to your benefit.
You Need to Hate Your Job
It’s become a cliche to hate what you do. That’s how common it is.
Recently, I spoke with someone who said they can’t wait to retire. Only ten more years, she said. I asked why she didn’t find another job, why she didn’t just find something she didn’t, you know, loath. She shook her head.
She said that she’s at a point in her career where she doesn’t want to make changes. That she just wants to ride it out and be done with it.
But ten years is a long time to hate what you do. Even one year is a long time to hate what you do. I don’t know how she does it.
That said, you don’t have to hate what you do. If you don’t have someone in your life that can serve as inspiration, grab a book. History is full of examples of people who got tremendous fulfillment out of their work. For instance, The Power Broker by Robert Caro and A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell follow two vastly different people with one thing in common: they found meaning in what they did.
Meaningful work is possible. Reject the notion that you need to hate what you do.
A Large Bank Account Is the Greatest Achievement
The more money you have, the more successful you are. The better person you are. And the happier you are. Except, that’s not true.
John D. Rockefeller, Sr. was insanely rich. Yet for a long, long time, he was unhappy. It wasn’t until he retired and both his controlling mother and his wife died that his life began to improve. (Source: Titan by Ron Chernow)
It just goes to show: money isn’t the most important thing there is. It is for a while, but at some point you realize there is something far better to aspire to. In the beginning, money is the greatest achievement because you don’t have any. But eventually, once the bills are covered and you have leftovers each month, you realize money can only take you so far.
Reject the notion that money is the highest ideal to strive for. Instead, see it as a stepping stone to something more meaningful.
This Will Be the Best Time of Your Life
Growing up, I heard time and again that college would be the best time of my life. That it would be the most fun, the most active, and the most easy-going experience I would ever have.
Well, I hated college.
I hated college so much that to this day I have recurring nightmares where I’m back in school. And I graduated nearly a decade ago. My post-grad life has been significantly more enjoyable.
When people say that your early twenties, or high school, or college, or the year you get married will be the best of your life, they aren’t telling the truth. They are telling you the truth for them. They are simply projecting their best moments onto your life and expecting you to feel the same.
But you don’t have to.
When I was in college, I often found myself saying: This is the best time of my life? This is it? And what does that make my other 80 years? If this is my peak, I’d hate to see what comes next. Ultimately, I rejected the thought that my college days would be the best of my life. Rather, I chose to believe that life keeps getting better. That each new period brings good and bad but ultimately continues to improve.
That’s the reality I’ve accepted. But you don’t have to accept that either.
Reject the idea that a certain time period will be the best of your life. Decide that for yourself. Or, better still, don’t specify one at all.
Whatever You Do, Never Take Time off Work
I’ve encountered the same thing again and again in my life. I would be afraid to ask for time off. Not wanting to cause a ruckus, I would debate over what to do. To ask or not. Each time, I went for it. I spoke up. I put in my time off request or had the uncomfortable conversation with my anti-vacation boss.
Each time, I was happy I did.
Not only were the trips awesome, but I never ended up staying with the company for long anyway. Sometimes they folded. Other times, I quit or got laid off. Regardless, the lesson I’ve continued to learn is the same: jobs are easy to come by, but getting this moment in your life back is hard.
People are afraid to take time off. I get it.
You don’t want to look bad to your team. You don’t want to be overlooked while away. But is a life of all work and no play your ideal one? Do you get excited at the thought of never visiting a new city or spending a Monday morning making pancakes?
Reject the blanket advice that you should never use your vacation days. Instead, make the decision based on what a fulfilling life looks like to you.
Some truths are blindly accepted out of indifference. Others out of apathy. And still others out of passivity. However, just because some people accept things as true does not mean you need to. We aren’t dealing with gravity here. You have very real control over which truths you decide to accept or reject.
My suggestion? Reject the uncomfortable truths that haunt so many. Instead:
- Find work you can derive meaning from.
- Recognize that money isn’t the highest objective in life.
- Decide for yourself when the best period of your life will be. Or better yet, don’t specify one at all.
- Take your vacation days if you want.