Monday, 26 April 2010

Finding Happiness

Well it has been a while! I am in the process of getting this blog going again and will hopefully be posting regularly. While this topic has nothing to do with BJJ, it has been at the center of my musings of late and I feel by writing my thoughts down it will help me solidify my own impressions and maybe also help a few others who may find themselves in a similar predicament.

Even when I chose my degree subject, it was due to a lack of any other interests and a lack of assertiveness on my part. While I enjoyed certain aspects of Business Management such as Marketing and Economics, it is not something I am terribly passionate about. Now, this was all good and well while still at university where if you study for a couple hours a day you can achieve quite an impressive result when compared to the input! I was quite proud of my ability to work for 2-3 hours a day and obtain the same grades as my friends, whose nail biting, hair pulling antics caused them much stress as they signed their every waking hour away to the dreaded library. So during this period of my life, I didn’t really mind reading, learning and studying the various aspects of Business Management as it was fun to gain new insights and understandings. It also meant I had alot of free time to focus on my training and really develop my jiujitsu.

Now let’s fast forward to when I had actually finished university and had a few months of having fun enjoying the UK summer behind me. Once again I let the forces that be choose my path for me instead of taking hold of my own destiny and implementing a strategy that would take me to where I wanted to be. I decided to 'get a job' as it seemed the right thing to do, and besides, everyone else was trying to find jobs! So off I went like a good little Muppet and sent out my CVs with accompanying cover letters to all the worth while organizations I could think of. Luckily, one of them actually hired me and before I knew it I had entered the corporate world and the controversial rat race. Now, was this the path I really wanted for myself? Sitting behind a desk looking at a computer screen for 8+ hours a day?

I can argue and say that yes, you are signing away the majority of your day to doing something that is not particularly interesting, but you are getting some nice shiny gold coins out of it. And don’t forget about the benefits - health, dental, etc. Oh and they even threw in a transport allowance! How kind, how kind. But ever since I started working, I have felt myself being dragged (with much kicking and screaming on my part, much to my family and friends annoyances) in a direction I am not completely content with. Is this what I want to do with the rest of my life? Do I want to be like everyone else, doing something they don’t mind, or in many cases outright hate, just to put some money in the bank? There must be other kinds of work or industries which are capable of igniting my passion and allow me to be the black sheep of the hoard and actually enjoy what I do for a living?

My indecisiveness in choosing my degree and when looking for a job led me down the 'it seemed the right thing to do' path. However, if I was to really question myself and think if this was the direction I wanted to go in, the answer would be an astonishing no! Now I can’t say what that illuminating path would be if I was given the opportunity to pursue my very own yellow brick road, but the last six months have taught me that this particular one isn't going to take me where I want to go.

My research into this slightly soul exploring topic led me to see individuals on both extremes of the equation. There are those who have thrown fortune to the wind and cut up their evil bank cards, burnt their identity documents, sold all their earthly possessions and said 'fuck it' as they walked off towards the sunset with a home made Br'er rabbit style back pack swinging from their shoulder. While a very romantic idea, I am not too sure as to the success rate of this concept. I mean its all good and well if you plan on becoming a Buddist monk, Yogic adept, mountain hermit or desert nomad (although you will need some greenbacks to maintain your nice Range Rover for this last career path). However, you are much more likely to end up crazy, alone and as bear food, like the unfortunate Timothy Treadwell, if you decide on taking this slightly be-crazed approach to living your life.

Then on the other extreme, we have those who feel the need to store every single one of their copper pennies in their mattress and guard their reserves with an Ebenezer Scrooge like consistency (yes Scrooge does have a first name). The mere suggestion of spending some of their savings will result in a moon directed howl as the individual in question bursts out of their clothing in a dramatic explosion of newly developed animalistic hair and sinewy muscle, their angry retort muffled by those long fangs and a toxic cloud of rotting bad breath.

Obviously these examples lie on the outer edges of our bell shaped curve of normalcy, with the majority of us falling somewhere in between Timothy 'bear food' Treadwell and Ebenezer Scrooge's antics. However, it really is up to us to decide which qualities from these two role models we wish to emulate, and finding a balance which you are happy with will contribute to your ability to live a happy life.

After attempting to invoke the mystical Inca spirits and several failed animal sacrifices at the height of the spring solace, it became apparent that the only way I was going to figure this out was by doing some hard thinking. Trying to predict your path by peering into a magicians divination bowl, seeking solace in tarot cards or taking part in a mystical rain dance will not get you very far. It took me much hair pulling, incoherent babbling and a long period of frustration before I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t get me wrong, I only have a vague outline of what I need to do to keep myself on the tightrope that is happiness, but at least I know that it is up to me to decide what I do with my life.

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