Do you ever feel like you’re surrounded by people who aren’t loving life? Or perhaps you’re feeling a bit that way yourself right now … wondering “Is this all there is?”
One recent morning I felt an urge to solo cycle into the city rather than do my usual group ride which starts at a particular time and travels at a certain speed irrespective of how I’m feeling. I’d come down with a cold, which often happens when I try to do too much.
It’s not so much the city that drew me, it was the Brisbane River. Riding next to it and taking a break on its banks brings a sense of joy and calm that fills my cup. I like to stop at a terraced rock wall section in West End and gaze at the water and take a rest.
After sitting at this spot for a while that day I struck up a conversation with a young guy perched a few metres up from me. I had only intended to acknowledge the beauty of the river when I commented on it but it became the start of a lovely conversation and a moment of connection.
We somehow got on to life and careers and I shared a few tips for how to get jobs when he mentioned that he was thinking of transitioning out of FIFO work as an engineer. He also asked me if I knew what could work for an overseas job market. He told me that he’d been learning Spanish on the river bank prior to our conversation and would one day like to work in either Spain or South America.
My acquaintance said that he was surprised by how many people in his workplace don’t love their lives. “Not only do they not love their jobs, they don’t like their partners, families and most other things in their lives,” he shared. I wonder how their lives would change if they actually started to do some work on themselves rather than think it’s everyone else?
He commented on how refreshing it was when he found someone at work who actually loved their life and how awesome it felt to talk to them and to be in their company. He said that he’s recently started asking such people how they got to that point, realising that he might be able to take something from their experience.
I agree that it is totally refreshing when someone is filled with joy about life, partly I think because it so rarely happens. Yet it’s available to us. It’s in our perspective. How we feel about ourselves. Our willingness to listen to our inner guidance. Our interest in growth and stepping into our potential. Our courage to live our dreams rather than think they’re impossible or to live someone else’s.
The penultimate question he asked me was “How did you know what you wanted to do? Was it always clear?” I replied “We don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step. Sometimes it’s been a loud message, like when I had a strong feeling at a storytelling event that I was meant to do that, but other times it’s been more subtle urges to take a course or speak to a random person.” The fact that he’s drawn to Spain sounds like a very loud message that he has a choice to act on, or not.
Finally, he asked, “Do you have some audiobooks recommendations for me?”. I had to admit that a lot of mine are business-related but the following jumped out of my Audible playlist for him:
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- Mindset by Carol Dweck (although I pointed out that he seemed to have a growth mindset)
- Tools of the Titans by Tim Ferris
- Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
As we went our separate ways I felt so grateful that we’d crossed paths and very confident that this awesome young man is on the path to creating the life of his dreams.
What about you? Are you on the path to your dreams? I’m so excited for you if you are! If not, what small step could you take towards more joy today?
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Donna Thistlethwaite is a Brisbane-based speaker and trainer specialising in mental health and resilience. She is an accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Resilience at Work Facilitator with a passion for suicide prevention and for helping individuals, teams and organisations to THRIVE. You can find out about her next Mental Health First Aid courses here.