In the Pursuit of Happiness

I remember once in grade 8, my basketball coach asked us why we needed to finish our homework. One of the popular girls piped up and said because we need to get good grades so we can get into a good university and get a good job. I am not sure why I remember that, probably because even at that age, it made me strongly disagree with this girl. Even then, I knew I wasn’t destined to get good grades to get a good jobs so I can “hope” to make ends meet.

Do most people stop and think about what makes them truly happy? Do they go on a journey of self-discovery, or does “life” push and pull at them, pressures like getting good grades, getting into a good school, becoming a professional, getting a good job, paying bills, marriage, having kids, and retirement. What is this terrible rat race of a life that most people have instilled in their minds?

Even as a teenager, I knew I wasn’t down with this type of thinking, I didn’t want money or societal pressures to shape who I was. Because of this, I have always been the odd one out – never being able to sustain a group of friends or take the traditional route for anything. Yeah, I did get good grades and get degrees from a good school though, because I wanted to. But, I know its not for everyone nor is it wrong to go a different path.

I can count my close friends on my hand, and funny enough mostly all of them live around the world and have chosen to live unconventional lives. Its funny that once you get pushed out of what’s considered normal, you realize that some others  have been pushed out to, and you eventually find each other and build a different “society” together.

The one thing that has held me back thus far in life is my lack of confidence. It allowed worry and fear to creep into my head. It made me unconsciously attract those that brought me down and made me feel worse. It never allowed me to see beyond a certain point nor did it allow me to truly accept myself for who I was and believe that I could do so much more.

It took a few months away from comfort and familiarity to see myself for who I was. All the layers of pressure, worry and doubt were striped off. I was left mostly to my thoughts. It took a long time to quiet my mind and “empty my cup.” Then, finally, deep down my passions and life purpose arose. I made decisions and acted spontaneous based on gut feeling. With it, came a new found confidence.

It wasn’t easy to get here. I know I still have a long way to go. The doubt and fear will always return, but I know how to deal with it now.

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