Friday, June 05, 2015

The Joy of Being Unhappy

More than a year ago, I do not remember exactly when, I was really unhappy. I was unhappy with my work, unhappy with home, unhappy with the direction in my life. Except for breakfast tacos, there wasn't much to look forward to in my day. My family was a comfort; but, even my family life could use some improvements. 

You have probably heard it said that people have to hit rock bottom before they can start to raise themselves up. I agree with the idea; but, I would call it reaching an inflection point. The concept is the same. You reach a point in which you change direction. 

I won't bore you with the details about what exactly brought me unhappiness and what I did to change it. It is more like, I realized that I was doing things I did not want to do, was experiencing things I could do without, and was not doing the things that would bring me satisfaction. 

The simplicity of turning your life around is very elusive because of its simplicity. There is so much momentum from our past and present that carries us into bad waters. The proper thing to do is to course correct when you see you are headed in the wrong direction. That is the problem. 

Too often we do not know what direction we want in our lives. This is a major problem because you cannot course correct to a nonexistent destination. If you do not know where you are going, it does not matter what direction you take. You cannot take actions to make your life better. Consequently, without direction, you are unlikely to stumble upon happiness. 

If, for example, you know that you want to travel abroad for a year, it simplifies your life significantly. You cut back on dining out. You do not buy things, like furniture or home, which you will have to sell. You start to research destinations, modes of travel, budget estimates, travel documents, and all manner of necessities. Your goal shapes all your other decisions and even eliminates some things that do not lend to your success. 

I think that it is difficult for us to find our inflection point because we slowly build up our unhappiness until it reaches a point in which we realize we are miserable and should find a better direction. It is like slowly boiling a frog, except the frog doesn't realize its peril until it is too late. We at least have a chance to turn things around. 

In this regard, hitting your inflection point is a joyous occasion because you can then commit to make the necessary changes in your life that will make things better. The inflection point resets your life priorities so that you focus on those things that matter to you and eliminate those that take you off course.