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Reality Check: Redefining What Makes You Happy

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Guest post by Louis Savalli

At some point, every one of us looks in the mirror and admits defeat. Something, or some things that we planned for our life are just not going to happen. It’s time for a reality check.

Nobody is immune to this. Not a single person knows so much about life that they could predict exactly what they want, let alone create it and be 100% correct about their prediction. You can let it torture you or you can let it be a relief and a gateway to a more enjoyable existence. Here’s how to do the latter.

In my late teens and early 20s, I expected to be a wealthy entrepreneur. I came of age in the Internet boom, and based on my oh-so-trusty media resources, every Tom, Dick and Harry with a .com was becoming wealthy overnight.

I mean, Amazon.com was started in a garage, right? A garage?! I can do that!

Except no, I can’t. What they didn’t tell me was that Amazon was started by an already wealthy, young senior executive at an investment firm. He was a whiz kid. A wunderkind. It wasn’t Joe Smith down the block who put a computer in his garage and created an AltaVista site. It was a man with unbelievable talent, connections, and wealth.

I was right to believe this was possible for myself, but I was wrong for thinking it would happen based on my lifestyle and habits at the time. I didn’t know that to start. I had to let life teach it to me the hard way – through time and experience. After years of failed mini-projects that I gave up on within weeks, like clockwork, I had to admit to myself that the wealthy go-getters of the world had something I didn’t.

What was life trying to teach me?

It was trying to teach me that I didn’t know myself. It was time to look in the mirror. My actions were speaking my real truth, and it took years for me to see this. More than anything else I wanted comfort and stability, but only my actions said that – not my mind or words.

I had a fledgling SEO business with a couple of clients and proven success, but I stopped when it looked like it would be a lot of work. I offered web and applications development on the side, and had several happy clients, but stopped when I got tired of the late nights. On weekends I chose to socialize and sleep. After work each day I’d spend hours on the couch.

The image I had of myself in my mind said “wealthy young entrepreneur,” and my ego tried to take me there – but the larger me, that spoke through my actions, said “you do not want to put in the work and take on the responsibility.” The larger me was winning every time.

How is it possible to live like this, so blind to one’s true desires? It’s easy. We do it all the time. One way or another, life will eventually make you look at you. Our deeper thoughts, feelings, and actions are expressed physically as our lives. If you want to know how you feel inside, look outside. As within, so without.

I’ve made peace with my graveyard of failed projects, and I’ve embraced the life I have in front of me every day. Which is full of love and positive relationships. You miss that when you’re focused elsewhere. The relief I’ve felt since making that peace is unreal. Life is more enjoyable, every day.

I realized consciously what my subconscious decided a long time ago. I seek comfort more often than not, and that’s okay. I seek simplicity more often than not, and that’s okay too. I’ve thankfully decided that living free of internal conflicts and guilt was more important than adhering to what society had planned for me.

I don’t have to be society’s hero. That’s not what success means to me anymore. I’ve given myself permission to define my own success, and it has a lot more to do with peace, joy and fulfillment than net worth and marketing campaigns.

It’s ingrained into us growing up that we need to have goals and dreams, and then stop at nothing to achieve them – but it’s a myth. Yes, with hard work, you can achieve your goals. No, you do not have to pick a goal and drive at it unrelentingly to validate your existence as a human. You’re welcome to set goals, but they don’t have to be world-changing goals because some poster told you to shoot for the moon.

Stop looking into the sky and stars for your dreams. Start looking in your heart. That’s where love is. Love is simple, and love is peaceful. Your goals and dreams can be, too. That can be your success.

I’m not writing this article to encourage you to give up on your dreams. I’m writing this article to encourage you to know yourself. If you know yourself and then accept yourself, you can give and take joy from your everyday life, instead of lamenting what you’re not doing or feel you should be doing.

Define your own success. Let yourself do that. It’s a brave step because you’re bucking society. But it’s your choice how you want to spend your time here on Earth. If you want to play by someone else’s rules and achieve someone else’s idea of success, that’s fine. If you want to define success for yourself, a success that stems from what you love – life will become a whole different ballgame.

When life gives you a reality check and makes you admit “defeat,” know that you’re actually another step closer to personal fulfillment and a more enjoyable existence. If your goals or dreams are more of a burden than an inspiration, cast them off. Be free it again. It feels wonderful.

About Louis Savalli

Louis Savalli is a long-time enthusiast of all things related to personal growth and spirituality. He currently resides in upstate NY with his wife and two children. Read more and connect with Louis at Savalli.me

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