The lies come from your parents and family, your career advisors, college counselors, Realtor and others in your life.
There is one known recipe for societal success and acceptance – go to graduate school, get a job, buy a house, settle down and have a family.
While this may have worked in the past, we never had a chance to question any of these expectations or societal demands.
One day, you might wake up and wonder if all of this has been one big lie.
Have you been cheerily following societies’ demands and expectations, or living your own truth?
Challenge yourself and consider whether these societal-based demands on your life are what you want for yourself, or what others want for you.
7 bold-faced societal lies and what you can do about them
1. You need a graduate degree and a professional job.
Graduate school and a professional job allow you to buy a house and raise a family, while following your dreams will lead to a life of poverty and living at your parents’ home. Or so society leads you to believe. It doesn’t have to be so black and white. You can find your passions, cultivate them and use them in your day job. You can also do part-time freelancing work outside of your day job, or pursue a passion project that brings you alive.
2. You should get married (and have a kid).
Disney pressures you to find Prince Charming, fall in love and live happily ever after. Don’t do what everyone is doing because you believe it’s the thing to do. Do you want a long-term relationship with one person? Do you want to marry that person? Will a kid really fulfill you? You’ll feel the pressure mounting with every wedding invitation and birth announcement. A long-term partner and family life is just one way to live, but it’s not for everyone. Drown out the noise and advice and figure out what you want.
3. Buy a house.
This might seem like a savvy long-term investment, but owning a house forces you to live in one place for 30 years, pay a boatload in mortgage interest and live your life to pay for your house. You can save the money on housing or put it into other investments. Not owning a house allows you to switch careers more easily, travel more and do other things in life that fulfill you. Don’t buy a house simply because everyone else is. Save your money, invest it and grow your fortune so that you can live your dream life.
4. Follow the crowd.
Since birth, others have informed you that you don’t measure up to your peers, friends or colleagues. As impossible as it is to not follow the crowd, take a step back and decide what you want. What are your values? What do you care for and what do you want to accomplish in your life? Visualize what you want your life to look like and go about creating that. Pay no attention to how anyone else is living his or her life. Just because a certain lifestyle or career makes someone else happy doesn’t mean it will make you happy.
5. Happiness will come one day.
Happiness is not in the future. You can find happiness right now in this very moment. Stay mindful of and present in the moment. Enjoy what you’re doing and look for the things that you can be grateful for. If you’re miserable with your job or life, set about making small changes. If you can’t appreciate and enjoy this moment, you’re not going to find it in the future. You don’t have to fulfill expectations, earn a certain income or achieve a career goal to be happy. Happy is as happy does.
6. Play it “safe.”
When you want to take a risk and get out of your comfort zone, society will push back hard and want you to stay in line to follow its rules. Forget its rules and stay true to yourself. Listen to your intuition and let it guide you. Do some research, prepare and take calculated risks. If you’re going to quit your job, know what you’ll be doing next. If you’re going to start a business, have some capital saved up. If you succeed, you win. If you fail, you learn.
7. A simple life is a poor life.
If you’re not living a reality-TV-worthy life, society thinks you’re not living life to the fullest. You don’t need fancy jobs, a bunch of gadgets and fast cars to live a good life. You can get rid of the junk, simplify your life and live more consciously. You can make time for people, spend time in nature and work on your personal growth. Your success doesn’t come from external achievement; it comes from internal growth and fulfilment. You don’t have to live it up or speed up the pace of your life to enjoy it – go at your own pace.