Follow your bliss quote:
If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.
- Joseph Campbell
Why follow your bliss
I don’t think we can settle on doing one thing we love for life. Our interests change through life, evolving from childhood.
We cannot say, “That’s it, I nailed what I love, problem’s over”; we live in the now, so maybe in a future now we can’t predict, the things we are passionate for could change.
So the best lesson we can draw from this is not to make super career or lifestyle plans, just set our focus on living our bliss, doing what we love in this moment. So the best is to do follow your bliss, to make it happen – we should stop holding to our excuses (we know in our guts which “reasons” are). Accepting it can change through time, when you follow your bliss you can set on doing what you love, for life.
How to follow your bliss
So far my life has been evolving with my radar set on doing what I love. With my husband wanting to change career, or negociate for better options at his actual one, is tempted by being a mechanic in the military (another option we came across since this Lifestyle Design Case Study post), and me having to maybe add an income accordingly, it’s a challenging time but also a thrilling one. Because we don’t settle in an unhappy lifestyle. It’s empowering, and it gives me chills. It also gives me a bit of a headache (though accepting the Army can do good things like humanitarian missions and protect people’s lives, along with doing meditation and having free time, helps). We still have to evaluate all the options and to figure out if we really want he’d be away from home for long periods of time, but we’re making progress. (Edit note: He later enrolled at a mechanic school, and his bosses, not wanting to see him leave, offered him a raise and make sure he doesn’t do overtime, which satisfied my husband. Follow-your-bliss is a good tool of negotiation).
In the moment, what I love to do is being with my family, reading, kid’s development, and writing. That simple. I read about children’s free development, to help my kids and improving my skills to maybe start a daycare (Edit note: since we’re fine financially, I choose the follow-your-bliss option and spend my working time on reading and writing my book). I learn how freedom is essential to realize the plan we have in our DNA and that we choose with our free will, inspired by Maria Montessori, leading education expert of the last century, and the unschooling mouvement. The uneasiness to know what we love and follow it may come as far as from our childhood. But we are adults and can make it right – allow our inner self to create its place in the world. We have to give ourselves the freedom to explore what we love. And then find a way to make it happen.
My situation of having a family complicates things, but also puts more determination in the projects. I am not alone, major achievers like Leo Babauta, author of Zen Habits listed in the Top 25 blogs, is able to follow his bliss even with a family of 8. It also put my family closer together because of the thrill and the need to make it a reality.
Follow Your Bliss, an alternative
Settling for an unhappy life is not the best, obviously, but here are some reasons why we are better not doing it, from having lived it myself and in my family:
- Risk of burn out. Doing tasks we dislike drains energy. When we don’t love what we do, we drag ourselves at what we should do. This can lead to the road of depression, total loss of motivation, being overly tired and being underproductive – the definition of burn out. People may think it’s easier to keep things as they are when we’re unhappy, but actually it’s not since doing what we love gives us energy to reach our goals and makes us feel alive. To follow your bliss drives and gives energy.
- Needs ignored. As renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow stated, we are unhappy if our needs are not met. Being unhappy is a symptom of needing something in our lives. It may be to crave a decent shelter, a community, or self-realization. We are better finding what we really need and how to achieve it to lead a pleasing life.
- Contagious moods. Happiness is literally contagious. People are likely to be happy if others in their surrounding are happy (it can even be remote as your sister’s happy neighbor that can boost your own happiness). If you are unhappy, people tend not to want hanging out with you, but you can also be a burden for them. If we love them, we don’t wish that, so we’re better off dissipating the cloud over our head. So if you follow your bliss, people that love you are happy for you, and you’re an inspiring model for them in turn so they do the same.
- No interest in life. An unhappy life is not a life well lived. What good is there in living a life we don’t love? We enter this world full of wonder, and some lose the capacity for amazement, realization, and their true self along the way. However, we can gain it back and do what we love, follow our bliss. A free choice that simple.
To follow your bliss, choosing the river that has the most adventures may seem risky, but it’s a better ride than the dull one. We should keep our compass at follow-your-bliss, and enjoy the ride for good. Because oh, the things we could love!
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It’s never too late to be what you might have been.
- George Eliot