Incidental Comics published a thought provoking comic called “The Nature of Ambition” which I first saw from a post that my friend shared in Facebook.
Over these two months you may notice that the frequency and intensity of posts published in this blog and at my other blogs are lesser. It is because mainly I am taking some time off for my personal life.
Do you notice how much we get distracted by our external environment with the constant desire to have:
- more money
- more recognition
- more fame
- more love
- more time
- that new gadget
- that house
- that person
and so on….the list goes endlessly. It never ends because when we have something, we always want more.
Over these few years since I came back to corporate world, I’ve noticed a consistent trap that I always set myself up for, in which I have no one to blame but myself. I have a full time job, more or less doing what I am good at and enjoy doing. Of course the job has its pressure, ups as well as downs. Like all day jobs, you don’t get to set your own hours or the ‘freedom’ to go to work as and when you love. You are bound by the hours of the job itself.
Many people would tend to move outwards, to find ways to earn enough in order to leave our day job. Perhaps start a blog and do websites– earn enough to be able to resign, or start a small side business, or become a direct selling/insurance/ mutual funds agent.
This works if we ended up doing something we believed in. Working in a day job has its benefits- especially if we are already good at our job and things are predictable. But if we are in for easy $$, then things may not turn out the way we have envisioned it to be.
Anyway, in the past my best to try to grow my blog and improve my earnings- so I pour endless energy into taking pictures, preparing blog posts, evaluating traffic and earnings….make tweaks and experiments, and then re-evaluate the results. Yes, in the past I was really tempted to give up my day job.
But you would know if you have anything that you are pursuing obsessively outside your working hours, you would find yourself feeling tired, drained, easily irritable, less sociable (especially if you are always in front of the laptop). Your mind tends not to be at work, more scattered as you become obsessed in how to earn more and more and more…..
Your fitness levels goes down because you cannot *find* the time to exercise. You put on weight, and with snacking on unhealthy food and eating when stressed…. health problems come. Chronic lower back problems and clothes don’t fit as well as they used to.
Our desires and wants would creep up sneakily- they would always whisper to us that what we have is never enough. That we should always go for more. The more we search for external, do research and find more information, reading ‘success stories’ and wanting the kind of success- we do tire our hearts out.
I fall back into the self inflicted trap time and time again. When I go for a holiday, and away to a place without internet connection, it takes me three days to ‘recover’. Often my physical body felt tired and I would rest. During the initial resting period I would feel conflicted and after 3 days usually without much external distractions, my mind would calm down considerably. And I knew the peace that I was missing from all that endless ambitions.
Was the earnings from my blogging revenue worth the constant energy and focus that I put in? Was those little truimphs in trying out ‘experiments’ to improve traffic and earnings worth having my mind scattered, and tired.
The price if inner peace is ….well priceless.
Those who feel contented and happy don’t need to spend a lot. So even though their earnings are less, they can save more money that folks earning 2, or 5 times their salary.
It’s the same for you. If you feel that you are constantly running around like a headless chicken- not having time for yourself, having too much to do, feeling overwhelmed, wanting more $$ when you are already doing alright…..slow down my friend.
Since the past months or so, I’ve tried to spend more time ‘being present’, having more inner awareness cultivate more mindfulness. Sometimes I still get dragged into other stuff but when I recognize it I would try untangle myself. And this in turn had helped to improve my relationship with my loved ones, and enabled me to be more focused in my job. In crisis situation at work, instead of panicking or feeling negative and overwhelmed, I try to do my best but let go when things cannot get better. And in that environment, out-of-the-box ideas would surface by itself.
Because if we do not know self-contentment and inner peace, no matter how much we have, it will never be enough. Some consider this as progress.
If progress is making us into more happy inside, then well and fine. But don’t touch with ourselves, or sacrifice our health. My 86 year old wai tan kung teacher commented that so many people would just spend their life chasing for wealth, in exclusion of all else. They neglect their health… and in the end, all the money they have earned are used to cure their illness. Some are wheelchair bound which requires nursing care, kidney dialysis, medicines, operations.
And so in the end, we end up with nothing but lots of suffering.