If you’re seriously considering changing your career, it’s likely that you’re not satisfied with life as you know it. You may be approaching 30 or 40 and feel like the life you have is a mediocre version of the one you envisioned for yourself. And, naturally, you may have decided it’s time to make a drastic change. However, research has shown that real, lasting happiness is not driven by external factors, it’s something that is cultivated from within. So, before you quit your job, pack your bags and jump on a plan to paradise, it may be worth going on an inward journey first. To get you started, here are five reasons why you’re not satisfied with life… and how to turn things around.
You have unrealistic expectations
The most common reason people are not satisfied with life or feel like they are not as happy as they should be comes down to the existence of the word ‘should’.
And that’s because the vast majority of us don’t accept what is, and instead strive for an imagined reality.
It’s a behaviour that has undoubtedly been amplified by the way social media now overloads us all with heavily edited and filtered images of people #livingmybestlife. No wonder so many of us aim for levels of perfection that actually don’t exist.
Solution: Next time you catch yourself diminishing your achievements because someone else seems to be doing much better than you, ask yourself if you know for a fact that that person is living the amazing life you assume they are.
Never set your goals based on a lifestyle you have no real knowledge of.
You don’t know what you want
A lack of direction can lead to feelings of restlessness and dissatisfaction with life. You know there’s more to life, you know you’re missing out, but you can’t break out of your funk because you don’t know what you want.
It’s another common problem and it’s one that can only be fixed with self realisation.
But that’s hard because most often, we don’t know that we don’t know what we want.
There are so many things to focus on in life and because there’s always a next step to achieve, it can take a huge wake up call (like the breakdown of a relationship or the death of a loved one) for you to realise you’ve been going through life with no real idea about what you want.
That’s the reason why so many people reinvent themselves and change careers after a death in the family, the birth of a child or a divorce.
Solution: Take time today to think about your life and dream big. Don’t wait for an existential crisis to be thrust upon you before you take action. Instead ask yourself: What do I want? What does happiness look like to me? What would I be doing if I was living my happiest life?
Then take action. This is the only way to start feeling more satisfied with life.
You’re ignoring the thing you want and chasing an easier goal
Very often, we know exactly what we want, but fear keeps us from pursuing it. Instead, we chase short-term distractions and goals that feel more within our reach.
You may, for example, really want a family, but are afraid of being vulnerable, so rather than search for a partner, you put all your energy into climbing the career ladder because you’re good at your day job and there’s no fear of rejection there.
Alternatively, you may really want to start your own business and create a legacy, but you’re so afraid of failing that you spend all your time running around after your family or friends, solving their crises and dilemmas instead of your own.
Regardless of the scenario, the end result is that no matter how well you do at the thing that’s distracting you, you’ll never feel truly happy because deep down, you know you’re ignoring the one thing you need to do to bring fulfillment to your life.
Solution: Ask yourself what you would do in life if success was guaranteed? If you’re not already doing it in some form, you’re likely to feel unfulfilled until you start doing it.
You focus on the negative
Researchers from the University of California have shown that a person’s genetics and life circumstances account for around 50% of their happiness. This means that the other 50% is down to mindset.
Have you noticed how when you dwell on the bad day you’re having, more and more bad things happen? There’s a reason for that.
The truth is that there’s good and bad to be taken from every circumstance.
Annoying, inconveniencing or downright heartbreaking things happen every day. You can either dwell on the negative and close yourself off from future opportunities, or you can focus on the positive and take lessons away from adversity.
Solution: When something bad happens, turn your thinking around by always asking yourself ‘what is this trying to teach me?’. By doing this you will automatically start looking for lessons in every trying situation. That’s a more productive behaviour than looking for blame or feeling sorry for yourself.
You take no chances
People who take few chances often do so because they have placed subconscious limitations on their potential. They really believe they can’t exceed their own expectations.
Whether it’s a victim complex, low self-esteem or a lack motivation at play, the tendency to avoid taking chances comes from the assumption that nothing good will come from trying, so why bother?
However, just as you have to play the lottery to win it, you’ve got to take a few risks and put yourself out there to get amazing results
Solution: The next time you’re presented with an opportunity, don’t ask yourself what could go wrong, instead, think about what could go right.
Really dwell on imagining the best case scenario. Hold onto that vision and then say yes.
Don’t worry about how you’ll do it. Adopt an attitude of saying yes now and figuring out the details later… then you’ll start to feel more satisfied with life.
Join our insider club
Serious about finding work you love? Sign up to get alerts about exciting new opportunities for career changers before anyone else.