Isn’t it amazing when you hit upon the solution that just feels right?
It is like the opposite of everything you are dealing with right now. The stress, the overwhelm, the constant feeling of being on edge, it all starts fading away and you can visualize your new life with perfect clarity.
It gives you a sense of direction and energy and promises to save you from drowning in overwhelm. It excites you, and you are eager to jump on it and get started right away.
But that’s where you have got to be careful.
You and I, both know that there is no magic bullet, yet we keep searching for one. We imagine that this one thing will be what we have been looking for all along. It’s easy to get carried away with the euphoria and start trying to change every aspect of our life all at once.
It’s like when the idea of quitting your job first occurs to you. It’s scary, but the idea is so powerful that you can’t think of anything else. You stay up at night thinking about it, and you daydream about it when you’re at work. Slowly, the idea takes over, and you start to see it as the solution to everything that’s wrong and unfair. Before you know it, you’ve quit your job and everything seems right in the world.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t quit your job, or shy away from making a change for the better. But I want to warn you against trying to change everything at the same time. Imagine trying to pay off your debts, paying rent and groceries, and trying to do your own thing without the steady monthly paycheck from your job. Trying to change everything at once is a slippery slope that will only lead you to become even more overwhelmed when things don’t work out like you imagined.
Play it cool, like Mario
Yes, that Mario. Who else?
There’s nothing cooler than an Italian plumber taking on carnivorous plants and fire-breathing monsters, right?
Mario has to get to the princess in the end, but he knows that he’s just not going to get there right away. He understands that there will be many challenges and even false starts, but that doesn’t deter him.
Why? It’s because he approaches the challenges one level at a time.
That’s what I’ve realized when trying to transition out of a nurse practitioner job that was driving me crazy and into a world-traveling, location independent lifestyle. I’ve realized that I couldn’t simply wish myself to where I wanted to be. I had to approach it like a journey, and overcome my challenges one level at a time.
My first challenge was to save up enough money and quit my job to start traveling. But I still had to go through months of indecision and planning until I finally quit. In that time, I was working at my job and kept my plans a secret from almost everybody. I knew that I would be letting down the people who relied on me. I couldn’t bring myself to face them, but it had to be done.
So I spent months planning it all out in meticulous detail, saving up every dollar I could because I’d need it. I knew that I couldn’t stay in my job if I wanted to live the lifestyle I really wanted to. I didn’t know how exactly to get there, but I didn’t let that bother me. I was focused on overcoming my current challenge, and trusting that I was heading in the right direction.
Keep heading to the right
In the video game, of course. That’s the direction Mario has to keep going in, no matter what.
He might jump up a hundred times, duck down another hundred, and even take a few steps back, but he must keep heading right if he is to reach the princess.
That’s the kind of focus you need to finally get to the life of your dreams.
You may not get there by walking the exact path you had planned out. You may have to take detours and zig-zag your way from one place to the next, but you must never lose sight of the fact that you have to keep heading right.
Life isn’t as straightforward as the video game, though. It’s easy to lose sight of what to focus on, especially when the going gets tough. You may start doubting yourself, wondering if you’re doing the right thing. But it’s all part of the journey. All you have to do is focus on the direction that matters.
Mario’s guiding light is the princess. For you, that’s the vision of the life you want to live – a life full of happiness and gratitude, where you don’t have to deal with the s**t you hate and can live life on your own terms. Keep this vision alive, and in moments of doubt, it will always point you in the right direction.
But Mario needs help, and so do you
Mario is a real bad-ass at kicking monster butt and never gives up his pursuit of the princess, but that doesn’t mean he can’t fail.
I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been unable to clear a stage and watch Mario die. But the frustration of failing made my resolve stronger. I came at it with renewed vigor each time and made sure I was getting Mario to where he wanted to go.
Unfortunately, life’s not a video game and the only one in charge of your life is you. But you don’t have to play all alone.
If even the super cool Italian plumber needs your help to vanquish monsters and overcome obstacles, we should know better than to play the lone warrior.
I know it’s difficult to make significant changes in life and even harder to go at it alone. Sometimes you feel like you are making progress, but the very next day you are wondering why the hell you even started.
We all have these moments of fear and self-doubt. If you let them overwhelm you, they can lead you down the path to failure. It is in times like these that you need people to back you up and stay by your side. You need shoulders to lean on when you are close to giving up, and share the joy of your small victories with.
Just like you are in Mario’s corner when he fails and gets him back on track quickly, these people will be your staunchest supporters.
If you have read this far, I know for sure you’re a nerd, like me (yay!). That’s something we have in common and can connect over. (Seriously, let me know in the comments if you are a nerd too. I’d love to talk to you)
In this journey called life, you have to find out what things you care about and find people who care about the same things. You may not start out as the best of friends, but you have to start somewhere.
Finding that sense of belonging and gaining the support of people who want to see you succeed is vital to making whatever changes you want in your life. Whether it’s just changing jobs, going to college, or getting healthy. Finding your people is the key.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments if you have found people you can be honest and open with, and how it has helped you. If not, let me know what’s stopping you.