The world has simultaneously hit the pause and fast forward button for so many of us.
Whether you’re taking time to explore your soul, lost in a transitional time, grinding in the hustle, or your relationship is accelerating faster than normal, it’s easy to get gung-ho about it all.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or unfulfilled, you’re probably saying “yes” to too many things. It’s time to “swipe left” on life for a minute.
The “Shotgun Approach” Left Me Unfulfilled
I’ve been a big “yes” man most of my life. I love accepting party invites, doing things for people, feeling wanted. But after a while, that feeling turned bitter when I started feeling used instead.
There’s a balance. And it will come in phases. After accepting the first job that was offered to me after college, I finally said no to that corporate career a couple of years ago. But now, I’ve found myself saying yes to all of these “shiny objects” in my business as well.
I Want To Do It All!
Yes! I’ll write blogs. Yes! I’ll start a podcast by myself. Yes! I’ll start another podcast with some other guys. Yes! I’ll become a cannabis wellness educator. Yes! I’ll drive for Lyft and make fun videos. Yes! I’ll start a real estate side hustle. Yes! I’ll be a freelancer. Yes! I’ll study and get a certification as a coach. Yes! I’ll go back into corporate but as a facilitator for training workshops. It’s never-ending.
As I’m writing this, it’s still very real for me, so much of this is advice I need to take for myself. Because the truth is, I am feeling overwhelmed, lost, and anxious. And I can start to sense the very signs of burnout I told myself I would avoid when I hit my quarter-life crisis from my technology career.
One day, I feel ultimate confidence and clarity in my mission, who I want to help, what projects I want to accomplish. The next, I have dreadful doubts and confusion as to which path to pursue because of all the options. I’m bouncing back and forth like a boomerang. And even the fun things I set out to do feel unfulfilling.
What can we do about this?
Why Are You Swiping In The First Place?
One of the reasons we might be on the “app of life” swiping right on all these things (i.e. submitting to other people’s agendas, taking up other work, chasing after the “cool” or “right” thing to do, signing up for more self-help programs or masterclasses) is because we’re using “business” as a way to distract ourselves from the missing void in our life and we’re looking for more options.
Hard pill to swallow. I know I’m denying it right now, trying to justify that that’s not true for me, that I’m fine and know what I’m doing.
But if you were honest with yourself, why do you keep looking for more options rather than looking at what you have in front of, or more importantly, within you? What’s making you “swipe right” on everything and everyone, always looking for the next best thing?
It’s OK To Say “No”, To Sit In Stillness
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
-French philosopher, Blaise Pascal
We are in one of the most important times right now with a global health crisis, social unrest, economic uncertainty, low trust and morale in our country’s leadership, rising climate disasters, and advancing technological capabilities (and the dangers they bring) that’s changing the very consciousness of humanity. Nowadays, if anybody ever responds to a greeting with, “I’m good,” I get suspicious!
Needless to say, there’s a lot we want to do to help the world right now. And we’ll pile on everything we can to feel like a good human being. Unfortunately, for many, we then forget about our own mental and emotional wellbeing in the process.
It’s Impossible To Be Our Best For Everyone
When we’re being run by our thoughts and emotions, we become reactionary. We lose focus, productivity, creative problem-solving, empathy, safety, and enjoyment. You can’t help someone from that low energetic state.
There are many calls to action for various communities right now. Don’t feel guilted or shamed into “swiping right” for everything only to spread yourself thin. They need help, but not just the 1% of you that you can barely even spare.
You’ve done so much for others already. It’s OK to disconnect for a little bit. It’s OK to not do anything in order to recharge. It’s OK to sit in silence for you to collect your thoughts. The key is not to disengage permanently, but to be mindful about which internal or external pressures you have the best ability to address.
You’re not rushed for anything. You’re not expected to change the world tomorrow. Of course, you’re here to make a positive impact on your immediate surroundings. But in order to do that, you’re going to have to “swipe left” on everything else outside of your control.
Instead “Swipe Right” On Your Core Values
Something you can never go overboard in, on the other hand, is reflecting on what your core values are. What is it that you really care about at a macro-level? Why do you value that?
Most importantly, are your actions and to-do list aligned with those values?
How To Discover Your Values
To help you answer these deep questions, there is a free assessment you can take, called VIA Character Strengths. Based on your answers, it ranks the top 5 qualities you might need to live out in order to find more flow within your life.
A more manual way to do it is to Google a list of human values and circle everything that even remotely resonates with you. Go through the circled items a second or third time and narrow it down to 5.
Use Your Values As A Filter
You can then use these values to loosely guide your day-to-day. Are there areas of your life that you’re living some of those top values more than others? Where can you incorporate those values more?
When you’re faced with too many things on your plate, use your values list to sift through your action items. The ones that bubble up to your top values are ones you can “swipe right” on any day! And you will bring inner peace and fulfillment into your life.
I’m On The Same Journey!
A lot of the discovery of my values came from sharing them with others in a safe space, especially with other like-minded humans.
If you identify as an Asian male, join my free men’s group on Discord: http://discord.gg/u3tXkHF.
If you’re interested in meditation and medicinal cannabis, join my free semimonthly “sesh-ins”: https://www.facebook.com/groups/cannaconnections.