Okay, I admit it. I’m a sucker for a really good Hallmark card. I’m easily influenced by a certain type of sappy, thoughtful and pseudo-thoughtful quotes/sayings. Case in point, I really love the quote attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson about success. You know, this one:
Of course, one sort of wonders whether Emerson would consider it a “success” to have something inappropriately attributed to him, since a fair amount of evidence suggests that he was not in fact the author of this quote. Regardless, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m a sucker for the sap, and I love this passage.
So it should come as no surprise that on the recently launched Fab.com [full disclosure: if enough of you join Fab.com through that link, I get a credit. Don’t feel like you need to join. Seriously. I still don’t know if it’s worth it], I came across the following in their “inspiration” section (Holstee Manifesto Poster), the original of which can be found for sale (of course) here [No, I have no stake in this particular site].
All of this brings me back to a common refrain I have regarding “our” generation. So many of us feel down-trodden because we aren’t fulfilled by our work. There’s a certain sense of entitlement that seems to say – I will be able to both be fulfilled by my job and be handsomely paid for it. And while there are a privileged few who are able to find that holy grail, the vast majority of us need to make a choice: Either choose to be fulfilled by our work (and likely be paid relatively little for it), or choose to have a job that pays us more handsomely (but requires us to spend our free time seeking our fulfillment). Both are perfectly lovely choices – as long as you’re realistic about the trade-offs. Fifty years ago, most people weren’t seeking to be fulfilled by their job. They went to work; they came home. Their job was what enabled them to live their lives – nothing more. Now I do recognize that there are higher expectations for most of us at this point. I know very few people who work 40-hour weeks. We work longer hours; we’re compensated more handsomely, but the expectations are commensurately higher and creeps into what would otherwise be our “free” time.
So what am I trying to say here? Let me put in terms of the guiding principles by which I hope K will live her life:
- It’s only money. You need to make enough of it to live a decent life, but you’d be surprised how much you can do without. I’m still working on learning this one. I have a long way to go.
- Dream. Reach. Strive. Learn. Don’t be bored. Chase what interests you. Don’t be afraid to go outside the mainstream, to be silly, to take a different path. What you find may surprise you. You may continue down that other path, or you may choose to go back to the main highway. Either way, I believe the deviation will have made you a stronger, better, happier person.
- It’s easy to get wrapped up in the superficial. I mean, really really really easy. But your memories will be formed by experience, not by things. And the people who inspire you will often be the people who are succeeding or making a difference despite challenges of all shapes and sizes.
- Remember to be appreciative, to care. The five minutes you spend appreciating someone else – and telling them so – not only makes their day, it probably makes yours too.
- No matter what the circumstances, there is always another option. Always. Never feel like you have no choice. You just need to find out what the other choices are.