Myths that lead to a busy and unfulfilling life

By Beth Caron

Greg McKeown, author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” shares 12 myths that he believes lead to a busy and unfulfilling life. McKeown finds that there’s a correlation between professional success and living a life that wasn’t necessarily intended due to outside influence.

In speaking with numerous executives, McKeown discovered that many of them felt pressured to do more and follow a career path that wasn’t true to themselves:

“If we’re not careful, our lives often become dictated by ideas which sound convincing at some level but are really myths. We buy into them not realizing how taxing they really are, and once we absorb them, they take over our lives and quietly rob us of the meaning we truly desire.”

McKeown uses the example of an over-worked executive that works day and night, has little time to interact with his children and no longer finds life fun. He claims that opportunities and success can be a catalyst for failure, because it can lead to an “undisciplined pursuit of more.” McKeown stresses the need to balance work, family and happiness—not an easy task. 

Here is a selection of the myths (and truths to combat the myths) from McKeown (click here to read his full article and see all 12 myths):

“I’m too busy living to think about life.”
A friend of mine once said in passing, “Oh, I am too busy living to think about life.” These days you need to be always on, always plugged in, and always on the go. If you want to be stressed and unfulfilled, make sure you have no time to think, read deeply, reflect, or get perspective.
TRUTH: In order to have focus we need space to focus.

“If you can fit it in, you should fit it in.”
Do you want more pay or more time with your family? For a stressed and unsatisfied person, the correct answer is “Yes.” Do you want to do to the event at work or go watch a movie with your family? “Yes.” When faced with a tradeoff, go for a bit of both. Assume you can have the best of both worlds.
TRUTH: We can try to avoid tradeoffs, but we can’t escape them. We have to make a choice.

“If everyone is doing it then I need to do it.”
Do everything that’s popular—now. Let the fear of missing out consume you. Buy into the cultural bubble that glorifies being busy and checking social media and email constantly. Don’t pay attention to the quiet voice telling you a different life is possible. Just go with the crowd.
TRUTH: There is a joy in missing out. Discover it.

“I have to do this.”
It’s okay to admit that, theoretically speaking, you have a choice. Just act in practice as
if you didn’t. This will allow you to say, “I have to” a lot, which is a handy phrase when dealing with conflict. If something you’re doing inconveniences a customer or a friend, it’s okay because it “has to” be done. It’s not that you want to create a hassle but that there is no other choice. Eventually you can think this so often, you will believe, deep in your heart, that you truly have no choice. Bravo!
TRUTH: The ability to choose cannot be taken away or given away— it can only be forgotten.

“I have plenty of time left to get to that.”
Of course you aren’t doing exactly what you feel like should be doing, but there will be time
to do what you want to do after you’re finished doing what you have to do. You’ll get to it later. It’s a long life.
TRUTH: Life is pathetically short.

If you find yourself buying into these myths on a regular basis, perhaps it is time to take stock of your situation and ask yourself the hard question—am I fulfilled? Perhaps it’s time to take the next step and investigate the opportunities that can help you make some changes to move in a more fulfilling direction, and maybe Great Clips franchising is one of those. 

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