Living an Aligned Life

Most people don’t live a life that’s in alignment with what they want to do. That’s not a criticism of any of those people; for our entire history as a species we have had to spend most of our time doing things we don’t want to do in order to survive.

All of us are going to have to do things which we don’t want to do. Next week I have to file my taxes. Two days ago I had to wake up at four in the morning. The problem isn’t that we sometimes have to do things we don’t want to do, it’s that we choose life paths that lead towards goals we don’t actually want.

This creates a doubly bad situation, because progress towards any goal is filled with things you don’t want to do. There’s some strategy around minimizing that and finding enjoyment in mundane tasks, but let’s not pretend that having people do things which they don’t want to do is something to strive for. Then once you reach a goal you didn’t actually want, you don’t feel as satisfied as you expected you would, the lack of satisfaction creates disappointment, and you have to start on something new again.

I’m fortunate to have a life where I basically love everything I do. I love programming, I love working through problems with people in coaching, I love doing real estate deals with my friends, and I love writing. In my leisure time I do things which really satisfy me, like drink tea with friends, do escape rooms, go to operas and ballets and symphonies, work on little side projects, build things, etc.

In other words, my life is aligned really well with what I like to do. Some of it’s fun, some of it’s work, but it’s all moving me in the right direction and makes me feel good on the way there.

This is partially because I was just dealt a great hand in life. I was born to great parents in a developed country, happened to make really good friends early, and was always supported and loved. I had every opportunity to create a life that was in alignment.

At the same time, I took that opportunity. At times I’ve put in a lot of hard work because the easier path wouldn’t have been in alignment with what I want out of life. Other times it’s been easy.

The critical part, though, is thinking about what it is you actually want. Most people don’t know. You ask them what they want in life, they tell you, you ask them why, and then they have no idea why. And if they don’t know why, then they don’t really want it.

I’ve seen so many people who very smart and very hard workers not end up where they want to be. I think this is the reason. They only find out what they really want by ending up somewhere else. That’s such a sad thing, because they could have gotten what they really wanted if they’d directed their energy properly.

Think about what it is you really want. Where do you want to be in five years? Imagine your life, the components of it, the daily lifestyle you’d like to have. Then think deeply about why you want these things and evaluate the reasons behind them. The more honest you can be with yourself, the better.

If anything you’re doing is because society expects it of you, it’s not your real goal. Society is organized to keep you from being fulfilled (and thus not in need of further purchases). If it’s to win someone’s admiration or respect, it’s not your real goal. You’ll never become satisfied if you’re not your own judge. If it’s because it’s something you’ve always wanted, ask yourself whether you still do. Maybe a ten-year-younger version of yourself wasn’t as wise as you are now.

Know what you want and why you want it. If your goals seem too big, that’s fine. You’ve got a good shot at reaching them if you want them badly enough. If they seem small, that’s fine too. Only you know what you really want. Reaching your goals is a wonder


Photo is a dog on a building in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *