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I know many people who are stuck in a slump. They have to work and work and work and work. They are always tired. Always cranky. Ask them to hang out, they’ll tell you they are too tired, or they are probably even working that night. They can’t go to your wedding, they have to work, work, work. Hey, sorry man, I have to cancel our plans, I’m working. They place work first, and everything else comes last. Even on the few days they have off they’ll tell you, “Yeah man, I’m just gonna chill at the house today, it’s my only day off this week.” And most of the time these people don’t even like their job. They’ll tell you they hate it. They’ll tell you all the crap they deal with on a regular basis. They’ll tell you they wish they could be doing other things. But then when the phone rings, they go straight to work, no questions asked.

I’m starting to realize that several of you think this is the way things are supposed to be. You must work really hard, and the harder you work, the better your life will be. You’re making all this money so that you can go do the things you want to do. Then, when you have a chance to go do that thing, instead you go back to work. I’m not saying this way of life is wrong. If that’s the way you want to live, go ahead. But I want you to realize that it is not the way it has to be. You can choose that life, but don’t think it’s the only option.

Think about it this way. I want you to really think about leaving that job. Quitting today to go pursue a career you really want. Walking in at the start of your shift and telling your boss, “Hey, I’m putting in my two weeks. I am going to pursue something I am passionate about.” Then start preparing.

Start packing your bag. Write your resume. Start calling various places that you would like to work. Whatever it is you want to pursue, start getting ready to pursue it. Visualize it. Don’t just listen to me talk. Really picture in your head what all of this will look like.

You’re last two weeks at that dead-end job have passed and you are on your way. You caught a bus to Nashville, or you bought a plane ticket to South East Asia, or you have a bunch on interviews lined up in businesses that you have always wanted to work for. Now your dream is happening. Imagine all the good things that are coming out of this. Maybe you aren’t making that much money, if any money at all, but you are loving what you are doing. You are somehow pulling enough together to eat, you have a place to sleep, even if it is a sofa. You wake up excited to start the day. Everything just feels right. You are never looking back. Life is good.

That’s what could happen. But I get that you aren’t such an optimist, as your current career as conditioned you to think good things don’t happen like that, if at all. Fine. So say you quit your job and everything goes to crap. At least you had an experience like no other. At least you learned something. And do you think, after all the hard work you put forth, your old boss wouldn’t take you back? With you experience, do you think you wouldn’t be able to get a similar job somewhere else? Who is going to hold it against you that you took a chance at pursuing your passion?

If you want to make a change, then make it. It’s not as hard as you are making it. The truth is, you don’t know what is on the other side of that fear. Many of the successful happy millionaires will tell you that they are so glad they took that leap. As Mark Twain once said, “I am on old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

Risks aren’t so scary once you take them. You just have to take them. Sure, acting doesn’t guarantee happiness, but what is for sure is there is no happiness without action. Life is too short to be busy all the time. Call in sick once in a while. Go have martinis in the middle of the day with your friend, occasionally. Ask off and go spend a weekend in a cabin with your loved ones. When you are busy making a life for yourself, don’t forget to live. What a great tragedy it would be to be lying on your death bed looking back at your life and wishing you have celebrated your best friend’s wedding. How sad it would be to wish you had spent more time with your significant other. How sad it would to see a life of labor flash before your eyes and have nothing to show for it. No stories to tell. No memories to share. No advice to tell the little ones other than, “Don’t work as hard as I did.”

Desire is suffering and wanting what you have is happiness so why are you holding onto what you hate thinking that is going to give you what you desire?

The greatest tragedy in life is that freedom is possible, yet we pass our years trapped in the same old patterns. Set yourself free. Spread your wings, or you will never fly.

So, regretting not taking a chance and living the dream is one thing, but what about regret and how it relates to your health?

I know a lot of us we get tired or we get distracted or we let desire get in the way of our health. We skip more workouts than we know we should or we grab one too many cookies. We let life get in the way as many of us put in and we just let our health fall by the wayside. We don’t make it a priority until things start going wrong. Until our health decides it won’t be ignored anymore. Then we are forced to give up everything else just to add those too few days to the end of our lives. And when it comes down to it, there is regret that we didn’t take it more seriously when we had a chance to make the change and make a difference. When we had the opportunity to fight disease before it took a hold of our lives.

I guess what I am trying to say with all of this is try to think about what the future you would want. Many people like to write a letter to the younger them. They have advice that they would like to give to the careless person they once were. That type of advice can help other people out, but how is that going to help you at all? Sure, if you are at the point in your life where you are trying to leave a legacy, maybe doing that makes sense for the people that will carry your torch, but how does it really help YOU?

I have a better exercise that puts things into perspective a little better.

There was an awesome speech done by Mathew McConnaughey after he won the 2014 Ocsar award for best actor of the year (you can listen to it here). After he thanks several other actors, directors, and others that he had worked with that year, as well as thanking God and his family, his speech goes a little like this,

“… To my hero. That’s who I chase. When I was 15 years old I had a very important person in my life come to me and say, “Who’s your hero?” I say, “I don’t know I gotta think about that give me a couple of weeks” I come back in a couple of weeks this person comes up to me and says, “Who’s your hero?” I said, “I thought about it and you know who it is? It’s me in 10 years!” So I turned 25 ten years later and that same person comes to me and says, “So are you a hero?” and I say, “Not even close! No! No! No!” He says, “Why?” I say, “My hero’s me at 35.” So you see every day every week every month every year of my life my hero is always 10 years away. I’m never gonna meet my hero. I’m not gonna attain that, I know I’m not. That’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing. So to any of us, whatever those things are whoever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to and whoever it is you’re chasing, to that I say, “Alright alright alright” To that I say just keep living, alright?”

Think about the you in 10 years. Write a letter to that person. Make some requests. Make some promises. Because what you do today the you in ten years will either regret, or be grateful for. Gratitude is the key to happiness, so what choices are you going to make today that will make the you in ten years a happy person? Which option will add the least regret to the life you want the you in ten years to be living?

Now get out there and get after it. If this blog post inspired you or you think it could inspire someone else, please share it in the place that you share things, be sure to tune in next week when I talk about what I mean when I say, “change the world”, please check out my podcast here, and check out all of my other podcasts and blog posts if you haven’t already! This has been Life&Fitness with D. Banks, signing off now, see you

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