4 Reasons to Start Living Your Bliss, Rather than Just Living
The author and academic, Joseph Campbell, famously advised to “follow your bliss.” But what does this really mean? Is it just a quick tip telling us to party as much as we possibly can? Or is it an instruction to do only the things we enjoy, and to leave out anything that could conceivably be a bit irritating, difficult, or time-consuming?
Well, not really. The advice to “follow your bliss” is really advice to do the things that you find meaningful, powerful, and worthwhile in life. And after all, who among us hasn’t dreamt from time to time of quitting our day job and retraining to follow our true passion?
These days, more and more people are leaving the world of conventional work in order to start up their own businesses. But for everyone who does actually go ahead and start their own business, there must be a dozen, if not a hundred others who falter out of fear and feel extremely dissatisfied with that fact.
Life is pretty short. That being the case, there’s a pretty good argument to be made then you should really do what you can to live your bliss, not just to live. Here are some reasons why that is the case.
Life is too short to spend thinking about what it could have been
As mentioned, life is pretty short. In fact, when you think about it in the greater context of cosmic history, human life is remarkably short. What’s more, we never know when our end is going to come, or when we will lose opportunities that we had previously taken for granted.
Now, this isn’t to be morbid. But there is a real danger that if we fail to understand just how precious, fragile, and short life is, we could waste all of our time and opportunities due to the false sense of security that comes with thinking that there will always be time “to do it later.”
Sure, we all have our excuses for why we do not take the gamble of pursuing the things we find to be meaningful. Everyone has bills to pay, family drama gets in the way, and “the time just doesn’t seem quite right.”
But ask yourself this question; how would you feel, on your deathbed, if you had never taken the chance to pursue your passions, and throw yourself into them wholeheartedly? Would your justifications about being very busy, having to think about the bills, and all the rest, really seem good enough?
Nothing is certain in life, and that’s certainly the case with changing a job, or radically restructuring your lifestyle. Maybe you’ll get everything you have ever dreamed of after some hard work. But, then again, maybe not.
Either way, it seems like it would be a tragedy not to at least have a go at it in the time you have in this world.
When you do work you find meaningful, you will have far more resilience
Here’s an unsurprising thought: in order to be successful in any business, or in just about anything worth doing in life, you’re going to need to put in some hard work and grind it out consistently, over time.
While it may be comforting to think that you can “work smart” enough to achieve great success without having to struggle at all – or be out the window – the reality of the situation is that good things take work.
But ask yourself, how motivated do you feel to work really hard if you absolutely hate your job? Or, how motivated do you feel to hit the gym if you are absolutely uninspired by the idea of getting fit, and are only doing it because the doctor said you should?
People are pretty resilient, and they can force themselves to put up with a lot, and to push forward despite some pretty dark and unpleasant circumstances. But it’s simply an unavoidable truth that when you are doing work that you find meaningful, you will have far more resilience, and will have the ability to drive on when many other people would quit.
There’s an old saying attributed to Confucius that goes: “if you choose a job you love, you will never work a day in your life.” The point of this quote doesn’t seem to be that if you enjoy your work, you will never have to exert yourself. Rather, that if you enjoy your work, your “exertions” won’t even feel like exertions at all. You will be so committed to the task at hand, and will find it so fulfilling, that you will be happy to push yourself to the limits.
Of course, that also means that when you work at something that you’re passionate about, you may well be more likely to succeed.
When you do work you find meaningful, you may genuinely improve other people’s lives
We all want to do well in life. Everyone, if they had a choice, would rather have a bit “too much money” than too little. Everyone would prefer to be recognised in their career, to be successful in their professional dealings, and to have good relationships with the people they care about.
But, for all that, many people find that a life lived solely for the self is ultimately unfulfilling. It’s just not enough to make sure that you are doing pretty well, personally. You also want to do what you can to make the lives of your family members better. You want to uplift and support your partner. Maybe, if you’ve got some time and energy left to spare, it will even be a good deal to figure out how to help people in your broader community or society.
When you do work that you find meaningful, you may genuinely improve other people’s lives. The odds of this are certainly higher than if you were just grinding away at some office job you didn’t care about whatsoever, and were cutting as many corners as possible in the pursuit of money.
If you’re a fitness fanatic, opening a gym could present a direct means by which you could improve people’s lives. But it doesn’t have to be that direct, either. Even if you happen to be working in a field that does not immediately seem like something focused on helping others, simply the fact that you are doing some work “with heart” sets a strong example, and can have a powerful impact on those you encounter in your professional dealings.
You never know what you can achieve until you get started
A lot of people fail to pursue their “bliss”, dream jobs, or whatever phrase you’d prefer to use, because they believe they are incapable of being successful in those areas.
The bottom line, though, is that you never know what you can achieve until you get started. We all like to try and project into the future based on our current knowledge. And when we are in our comfort zone, we automatically craft stories to keep us from straying out into “dangerous” territory.
But, as a human, your knowledge of any situation is never perfect – and many of the most successful people in various fields and professions, still suffer from “imposter syndrome” at the height of their success – convinced that they will be outed as “frauds” any day now.
Don’t shut yourself down before you even set foot on the road. Instead, go after what you find meaningful and worthwhile, work hard, and see what happens along the way.