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Soliciting life/career/happiness/self-actualization advice!

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Seriously. I'm young and I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing or what the fuck I'm going to do... as original as that sounds. I haven't had much of an elder/mentor figure in my life, so I figure why not solicit advice/knowledge from those who've lived through it before.

Basically, at this point in my life, when I look at the future I look for self-fulfillment as my primary lifegoal- the problem of course being, I don't know what that is for me. Is it being rich? Feeling content? etc... Through most of my life, I figured going to a good school, landing a good job and making bank; living the prototypical yuppie life until I find the right girl and move into the right suburb and send my kid(s) to the right school where they would eventually repeat this (right) life cycle was the defacto route to happiness.

I'm not that certain anymore. Of course I would love to have a lot of money; buy nice clothes, drive a nice car, nice house, nice lifestyle, but slowly I begin to question why I value these things. Societal pressure? Perhaps overcompensating for what is essentially, my inability to find other ways to feel achievement and success.

Consider this question that pops up more frequently than not. I realize it is so broad, but I'm sure everyone has some opinion on this. Is it better to work hard early on, pay your dues and enjoy the fruits of your labor later on in life? Or enjoy your best years and take life as it comes; because youth fades a lot faster than money.

Before this OP moves into TLDR range, I would like to pose a few questions to SF members and would appreciate your response.

What makes you personally feel self-fulfilled? Have you reached this point of self-actualization? What would you like to change about your college/career, as in, if you could do it over again, what would you do differently? Any advice/input/anecdotes are greatly thanked.
post #2 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConcernedParent View Post
Is it better to work hard early on, pay your dues and enjoy the fruits of your labor later on in life?
I think so, but in the process and thereafter the key factors to happiness IMO include:

1. Focusing on building existing and acquiring new relationships, not things.

2. Engaging in activities that are meaningful, fun, and rewarding.

3. Giving of your service, time, and even resources to others.

4. Forgiving others and not holding grudges.

5. Having a sense of humor in that you laugh often and don't take yourself too seriously.
post #3 of 33
Is the secret to happiness peach butter?
post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayJay View Post
I think so, but in the process and thereafter the key factors to happiness IMO include:

1. Focusing on building existing and acquiring new relationships, not things.

2. Engaging in activities that are meaningful, fun, and rewarding.

3. Giving of your service, time, and even resources to others.

4. Forgiving others and not holding grudges.

5. Having a sense of humor in that you laugh often and don't take yourself too seriously.

That sounds wonderful.

=
post #5 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConcernedParent View Post
Basically, at this point in my life, when I look at the future I look for self-fulfillment as my primary lifegoal- the problem of course being, I don't know what that is for me. Is it being rich? Feeling content? etc... Through most of my life, I figured going to a good school, landing a good job and making bank; living the prototypical yuppie life until I find the right girl and move into the right suburb and send my kid(s) to the right school where they would eventually repeat this (right) life cycle was the defacto route to happiness.

Aiming for a good school and high paying job isn't a bad thing, but it's a pretty generic goal. I haven't heard many people say that they hope to go to a bad school and land a shitty job (although that's more realistic, no one actually hopes for it).

Quote:
I'm not that certain anymore. Of course I would love to have a lot of money; buy nice clothes, drive a nice car, nice house, nice lifestyle, but slowly I begin to question why I value these things. Societal pressure? Perhaps overcompensating for what is essentially, my inability to find other ways to feel achievement and success.

This is more important than the others. What is a nice lifestyle to you? Is it owning expensive things? Is it owning things of quality (because those two things are not always inclusive)? Is it owning few things and being more free of material attachments? And so on, you have to come to terms with what you value, friends, family, things, type of city/town, location, list keeps going.

Quote:
Consider this question that pops up more frequently than not. I realize it is so broad, but I'm sure everyone has some opinion on this. Is it better to work hard early on, pay your dues and enjoy the fruits of your labor later on in life? Or enjoy your best years and take life as it comes; because youth fades a lot faster than money.

Most of the time, when people refer to "living life," they are speaking about that area of time between work and sleep. On top of that, many will say that "I want to enjoy my life before I'm too old."

Life, however, is all the time you're alive, not just your free time. See if you can maximize enjoyment even from working.

There is no such thing as "too old." While our bodies grow older and less capable, it doesn't mean you can't have a young mentality throughout life. Personally, the last thing I would want to say on my deathbed would be, "I spent too much time being serious."

Make good plans (so that you aren't broke later in life), and enjoy each day.


Quote:
What makes you personally feel self-fulfilled? Have you reached this point of self-actualization? What would you like to change about your college/career, as in, if you could do it over again, what would you do differently? Any advice/input/anecdotes are greatly thanked.

Cooking and sharing a meal with the love of my life.
Yes, everyday.
Depends, if I could go back in time and knew that there would be a catastrophic economic collapse so early in my life I would have pursued a degree in comp sci, healthcare, or law. Something easier to make money with. Otherwise, without the recession I would have still chosen fine art and might be making some money with it.

Last thing, over the last few years, hindsight has taught me that I never really valued most things I bought. They were nice to have, but it was easy to part with them. So now, most discretionary income goes to good food and travel.
post #6 of 33
Join the Peace Corps!
post #7 of 33
I think the most important thing you can do is find the work you want to do. This is of such importance that all else (except spouse and child issues) pale in comparison. "Blessed is he who has found his work. Let him ask no other blessing."

Relationships (outside of the nuclear family) are wonderful, but you'll soon learn that noone else is building their life around their friendship with you, and if they want to move on, they will. You should feel free to do likewise. Friends come and go. Some, a very few, will be at your funeral, if it isn't raining that day.

Once you have kids, it stops being about you. Dig ditches if you have to. But you keep your pants zipped and take care of your kids. Taking care of your wife is defacto taking care of your kids, and should be viewed as such.

Now, if you honestly have no idea what you want to do for a living, ask what you do for fun, and work out from that center. But find your work, man.

I wish I had taken this advice myself as I'm stuck in a well paying career field from which there is no practical escape, and the only professional joy in my life is the few days centered around payday, when I buy clothes.

Pity me.
post #8 of 33
Obviously, God is the answer.
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing View Post
Is the secret to happiness peach butter?

I got some apple butter one time I would have paid $50 a quart for, no lie. Better than $50 worth of sex with any woman in the world.
post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frodo View Post
...

Relationships (outside of the nuclear family) are wonderful, but you'll soon learn that noone else is building their life around their friendship with you, and if they want to move on, they will. You should feel free to do likewise. Friends come and go. Some, a very few, will be at your funeral, if it isn't raining that day.
...

+1
post #11 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the responses, I'm shocked at getting a lot of good ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing View Post
Is the secret to happiness peach butter?

I had strawberry butter before, must be ambrosia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayJay View Post
I think so, but in the process and thereafter the key factors to happiness IMO include:

1. Focusing on building existing and acquiring new relationships, not things.

2. Engaging in activities that are meaningful, fun, and rewarding.

3. Giving of your service, time, and even resources to others.

4. Forgiving others and not holding grudges.

5. Having a sense of humor in that you laugh often and don't take yourself too seriously.

This sounds like a good code to live by.

Quote:
Originally Posted by celery View Post
Aiming for a good school and high paying job isn't a bad thing, but it's a pretty generic goal. I haven't heard many people say that they hope to go to a bad school and land a shitty job (although that's more realistic, no one actually hopes for it).

This is more important than the others. What is a nice lifestyle to you? Is it owning expensive things? Is it owning things of quality (because those two things are not always inclusive)? Is it owning few things and being more free of material attachments? And so on, you have to come to terms with what you value, friends, family, things, type of city/town, location, list keeps going.

Most of the time, when people refer to "living life," they are speaking about that area of time between work and sleep. On top of that, many will say that "I want to enjoy my life before I'm too old."

Life, however, is all the time you're alive, not just your free time. See if you can maximize enjoyment even from working.

There is no such thing as "too old." While our bodies grow older and less capable, it doesn't mean you can't have a young mentality throughout life. Personally, the last thing I would want to say on my deathbed would be, "I spent too much time being serious."

Make good plans (so that you aren't broke later in life), and enjoy each day.

Cooking and sharing a meal with the love of my life.
Yes, everyday.
Depends, if I could go back in time and knew that there would be a catastrophic economic collapse so early in my life I would have pursued a degree in comp sci, healthcare, or law. Something easier to make money with. Otherwise, without the recession I would have still chosen fine art and might be making some money with it.

Last thing, over the last few years, hindsight has taught me that I never really valued most things I bought. They were nice to have, but it was easy to part with them. So now, most discretionary income goes to good food and travel.

When I said nice lifestyle I was referring to having money and the freedom to spend discretionary on whatever I wanted. Of course my perspective is changing now when I'm doing a summer job and seeing people around me living "plebeian" lives and yet still manage to appear happy each day.

And about good food/travel, what makes that different from buying expensive shit? Is it not the momentary happiness of buying the item that is similar to that of eating a good meal or traveling to a new place? Fond memories are nice, but they are just that, memories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frodo View Post
I think the most important thing you can do is find the work you want to do. This is of such importance that all else (except spouse and child issues) pale in comparison. "Blessed is he who has found his work. Let him ask no other blessing."

Relationships (outside of the nuclear family) are wonderful, but you'll soon learn that noone else is building their life around their friendship with you, and if they want to move on, they will. You should feel free to do likewise. Friends come and go. Some, a very few, will be at your funeral, if it isn't raining that day.

Once you have kids, it stops being about you. Dig ditches if you have to. But you keep your pants zipped and take care of your kids. Taking care of your wife is defacto taking care of your kids, and should be viewed as such.

Now, if you honestly have no idea what you want to do for a living, ask what you do for fun, and work out from that center. But find your work, man.

I wish I had taken this advice myself as I'm stuck in a well paying career field from which there is no practical escape, and the only professional joy in my life is the few days centered around payday, when I buy clothes.


Pity me.

This sounds like where I aspired (note the past tense) to be... and where I'm headed. Which is why I panicked and made this thread. I mean, I'm not even close to being 'there' yet but I'm going down that path. Not going to a top school but I'm attending one of the three good schools in the LA area (hint our major athletic teams are headed towards a major ruhroh) and I've finished my first year with top grades.

For leisure, I like being with friends; so naturally in my future job I would hope to be collaborating and interacting with employees beyond small talk. Academically, as long as it doesn't involve sitting in front of a problem set I find it all tolerable, or even at times enjoyable (reading, research, essay writing, labs, etc...). So yeah, it's probably a product of being young and not really knowing what I truly like.
post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayJay View Post
I think so, but in the process and thereafter the key factors to happiness IMO include:

1. Focusing on building existing and acquiring new relationships, not things.

2. Engaging in activities that are meaningful, fun, and rewarding.

3. Giving of your service, time, and even resources to others.

4. Forgiving others and not holding grudges.

5. Having a sense of humor in that you laugh often and don't take yourself too seriously.

Sounds ideal. I'm in the same position as the OP, studying for a career in accounting. It's getting more despressing by the day though...it doesn't sound awful, just not what I'm here to do so to speak.
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConcernedParent View Post
And about good food/travel, what makes that different from buying expensive shit? Is it not the momentary happiness of buying the item that is similar to that of eating a good meal or traveling to a new place? Fond memories are nice, but they are just that, memories.

This made me think of this. I dunno if it will help, but it's interesting nonetheless.

http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_kahn...vs_memory.html
post #14 of 33
^ I am not sure I only have good memories on my colonoscopy
post #15 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jekyll View Post
This made me think of this. I dunno if it will help, but it's interesting nonetheless.

http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_kahn...vs_memory.html

LOL.

Maybe I should go homeless for a year, for some perspective, and just to see if I could do it.......
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