I get comments from readers talking about how much they dislike their current job. But a recent comment from Mark got me thinking about people who, looking back, actually feel they wasted their life in the job(s) they’ve had so far.
That brings the issue to a whole new level where it not only touches on your job history, but can affect how you feel about yourself. And so I’d like to talk more about that part, since it can also affect everything else you do — and want to do in the future.
What does “wasted your life” mean?
Turning to Mark’s words he brings up some key points:
I’m quite ashamed of myself because of how little I accomplished in my 40 working years. There’s no real way to obscure my lack of professional achievement. No way to justify to my friends and acquaintances the lowly and menial service I performed (other then recognizing the financial imperative to “get by”…
He’s looking at his past working life and judging it from the eyes of others … but also now with his own eyes and feelings. And I know that he’s not the only one who looks at their work this way. But at least he has self-awareness, which not everyone possesses. Some just feel the emptiness without even trying to connect the dots.
One of the things I said in my reply to Mark was this:
I just want to add that no matter what it feels like looking back in time, we are all far more than the many things we didn’t accomplish. We often minimize the good things we did, even if “only” bringing a smile to someone’s day.
Looking back can most definitely teach us. But if we spend too much time looking back, it saps the energy we could be putting into creating things we are proud of from this day going forward.
Role perspective can play
Sometimes we forget the role perspective can play when looking at things. Just like taking a magnifying glass to a picture, if we decide to focus on what we didn’t make happen, that’s zooming in on only one element. And by doing this we lose the rest of the picture.
It’s kind of like looking at Mona Lisa’s nose and judging Leonardo da Vinci by that alone. This isn’t to in any way minimize an honest assessment of what we accomplished — or didn’t accomplish. It’s to say that maybe we’re being unfair to ourselves by doing that and just leaving it there.
Mark also brings up the element of people simply needing to earn money. And that is a wholly legitimate reason to have a job. But as humans most of us want to accomplish more. And maybe that happens in our spare time with family and friends … or even interests and hobbies. But it’s also easy to tuck that into the background of our close-up picture.
Life is a balancing act. And even in that statement, we need to add the element of time — including future time. With an astute awareness of something lacking, we can decide from this moment on to move forward into things we do feel good about.
And then we can look back and realize that all we didn’t accomplish helped motivate us to do _____ (fill in the blank with something you truly are proud of). The good news is that you can start this at any time. And leave the rest packed away in the no-longer-needed memory attic.
More posts to help