You don’t need meaning. Meaning is only useful if you’re living in three distinct timelines – the past, the present, the future. You aren’t. If you think you are, you’re revisiting your past and envisioning futures that haven’t happened. You’re only living now. If there’s no meaning now, there’s no meaning in the past, and there’s certainly no meaning in the future.
The search for meaning is meaningless. It’s never ending and futile.
If you could measure meaning today, there would be a point to it. But you can’t. It’s somewhere off in the distance. And when you get there, there won’t be more meaning. Meaning doesn’t stack. The future will be another moment, much like the moment you’re experiencing right now.
Something you can feel daily is fulfillment. You can engage in work that matters. Mattering is what you’re truly looking for, not meaning. Finding what matters now is what’s going to contribute to fulfillment. Fulfillment can stack. You can look back on a day, a week, a month, a year, a decade of engaging in fulfilling work.
If you can’t experience it now, it doesn’t exist. You can experience fulfillment now. You can’t experience meaning now. Because you’re always in pursuit of it. Meaning is always deferred, somewhere, someplace, in some time you can’t even get to right now. Whatever you’re in pursuit of, you can’t experience, because it doesn’t exist.
Focus on the experience of now. Make now matter. That’s where the juice is.
In 2016, I started working entirely from home.
And, from 2017 onward, I’ve had moments where I’ve felt semi-retired.
At no point have I felt like resting on my laurels, or like I’d fulfilled on all my goals and dreams. But I did feel as though I had achieved a modicum of freedom.
I started taking Mondays off and would get my grocery shopping done while everyone else was at work. If I woke up tired on a given day, and had no pressing deadlines, I would drive out to the mountains to enjoy a relaxing day in nature. And most nights, I would go out to enjoy local cuisine, in search of the next “hit” restaurant.
If I hadn’t taken the time to recognize the freedom available to me, though, I would not have stopped to enjoy the spoils. I would have blown past the milestone, frantically in pursuit of the next milestone or destination, never appreciating the journey.
See, whether you’re trying to grow your fan base, increase your streaming numbers, or establish yourself in a new market, no matter what stage you’re at in your career or business… You must recognize that, from day one, there are freedoms available to you. And, over time, as your career grows, you can increase those freedoms.
But if you don’t stop to enjoy what you have now, I can promise you the destination won’t be that much more satisfying or fulfilling.
In most cases, we’ll find ourselves working months, years, and even decades towards our goals, for but a few minutes, maybe a few hours, of joy and celebration. And then it will be right back to the grindstone. It’s not worth it if you’re not enjoying the journey.
How do you know when something needs to change? When you’ve been spending far too much time unhappy with where you’re at. If there’s no joy in the journey, there will only be a fleeting sense of joy at the destination, if that.
Refuse to actively pursue “means to an end” projects. If you must, keep them short. You will not thrive in those environments, and the one thing you can’t get back is time.
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“In the last few years, I have often done what made sense logically and pragmatically. But in the past, I mostly just followed my impulses and things that excited me. What would it look like to go back to doing things that excited me? What would it look like to follow my heart, and build a heart-based business? Would it offer more fulfillment, even if the money weren’t there?”
I posed this thought to a friend, who honestly admitted she didn’t have an answer. Which is okay.
We were talking about the fact that, if you aren’t logic-minded, whether male or female, entrepreneurship can be a tough slog. And yet…
What if we were leaving the best opportunities on the table because we weren’t following our hearts?
What if our hearts would lead us more rapidly towards our goals, while offering greater fulfillment in the process?
What if our hearts led us to bigger, more rewarding ideas than our logical minds ever could?
What if we could have fun on our journey towards achieving our goals, instead of showing up out of duty and obligation? What if the journey didn’t need to be a grind?
“I do it because I have always done it” seems sensible, and yet is completely illogical when it’s robbing your vitality and joy. Is the hustle really building your business? Or is it just making you tired?
While in reflection, another question that came to me was, “what if there was nothing to prove?”
If there was nothing to prove, maybe you would stop wearing your long hours like a badge of honor. Maybe you would stop virtue signaling and bragging about your barely-there freelancing revenue.
Maybe I wouldn’t try to be so perfect. Maybe I would collaborate and delegate more. Maybe I would take a day off when I needed it. Maybe I would pursue what excited me in the moment without worrying about the consequences.
If happiness is the goal, then following your impulses and what excites you is the right move. Pursuing money somehow always produces the opposite result.
Following your heart brings joy into your life, and as result, all other things tend to follow.
Maybe your heart knows what’s up.
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