I reached up and rubbed my eyes. The glare from the screen stung them fiercely and I was developing an epic crick in my neck. I was so tired of it. My schedule was extremely demanding. I woke up at 3:50am and didn’t get to bed until after 10:00pm. I felt annoyed and exhausted, but worst of all I felt bored. My whole life I had fought that feeling, the dry, stale, emptiness of being completely bored with something. As I stared at the screen, I wondered, “Why am I doing this?” Why am I putting up with this intense schedule, the structure of seniority that discourages self-expression, the strict dress code, and the separation from what most people would consider a ‘normal life’? I had had enough. Right there in that moment. I made a decision that would change everything. It would be the most important decision I’d ever made in my entire life. I decided to stay right there and keep going.
Wait, Back Up.
I know what you’re thinking. This is the part of the story where I should say screw this job and walk out the door to go live my dream. And for many people that would’ve been the right thing to do. But for me it wasn’t and let me tell you why. My whole life I had tried my best to follow this one truth: Fear is the one thing that holds people back from being happy. So, I vowed to be unafraid of taking risks and follow my dreams. And that’s exactly what I did. Whenever someone told me I couldn’t or wouldn’t do something, I disregarded them and made it happen.
Chase Your Dreams?
People told me to major in something practical at school. So, I was and still am trying to major my course. I did it not only because I wanted to be fiercely impractical, but also because I loved law school. Although I got to admit that it ain’t easy, I ought to achieve what I’ve planned all this while.
- Finish up my degree with first class pointer (dream on)
- Further my Chambering for within 9 months (although I might not end up becoming a lawyer)
- Get a permanent job (a job which I am able to give my mother at least 1k per month)
- In lieu of getting married, I am willing to adopt a child (if no one likes me)
- And lastly, the definition of life would be – living my life with my biological family members and my foster child (of course) and getting a job which I have passion for.
There are plenty of other examples, but I think you get the point.
I believed that if you want something, you should go for it. But the problem was I lived my life by this one rule. And one rule, no matter how good, has its limits. Though I had conquered one problem, I wasn’t confronting another. I didn’t know who I was or what my purpose was in life. For many people the problem is they aren’t willing to risk what it would take to follow their dreams. My problem was that I wasn’t willing to risk sticking with one path. I didn’t stay anywhere long enough to find out what was at the center of all of my dreaming. I had lived an amazing life, but I wasn’t happy.
The first few months were great, but eventually the novelty began to wear off. I realized it was happening again. And that’s where I started this story. Here I was at this tiny monastery, a place of peace and tranquility and I was miserable. I started thinking about moving on, but I couldn’t think of anywhere else to go. My whole life seemed like a big pointless joke. But just as I was about to the throw in the towel, I remembered a quote that helped me see things differently, about following your passion he said, “To live a fulfilled in life you must find something that is deeper than passion.”
I had spent my whole life following my passions, but they had led me nowhere. I realized that while passion is important, passion without purpose is empty. I knew that if I wanted to change my life, I needed something that would keep me going even when my passion faded. And I knew I would never be able to find it if I left. Many parts of me told me it was time to go. But another part of me knew I needed to stay past the point of comfort. I needed to find that place in myself that could endure boredom and fatigue. I needed to find the purpose that would make me get up each day. Simply to ensure that the work you want to do would not be empty and meaningless.
I spent many days and nights like that. Wondering why I was there, but something amazing happened when I stuck it out. Through deep personal work and perseverance, I discovered my life vow. It came at the end of a long silent retreat where I had done fierce battle with my own demons. I realized that my purpose was to help others. The more I held this vow I realized that I was called to do that as a teacher. Now everyday I wake up and write, I vow to be of deep and fundamental service to others. I vow to become a teacher that encourages and inspires others to change their lives.
So often, when we hear the stories of life transformation the protagonist only needs to have the courage to follow his passion. Success stories often leave out the sleepless nights, the internal conflict, and the crippling self-doubt that many people endure to find their path. Sometimes you have to cross the desert of boredom and doubt to find the oasis on the other side. You have never tasted water so sweet as when you have nearly died from thirst. You have never tasted life so much as when you have faced the dessert in your own heart.
Change Won’t Change Everything
If you haven’t taken the risk to step outside your comfort zone then you should do it, but don’t forget change isn’t the answer to everything. If you really want to change your life, sometimes what you have to do is not change. Instead, you have to stick with something that is hard and arduous. You stay not out of guilt or obligation, but because you have faith in your own heart and mind. There is a big difference between being stuck and being determined. As you begin or continue your journey to change your life, remember: passion comes and goes, but knowing and living inline with our deep purpose creates the biggest change in our lives and in the world.