In Face Your Fears, Follow Your Dreams

According to the recent article, 10 Steps to Happiness at Work, the single biggest obstacle to workplace happiness is the belief that we are prisoners of circumstance, powerless before the things that happen to us.

The article references the book Happiness at Work by Srikumar Rao, which is based in part on Eastern spirituality. Rao believes that finding happiness at work means changing the way we think about it. “We create our own experience,” he insists. “The knowledge that we are responsible for living the life we have is our most powerful tool.”

We tend to forget that. We are responsible for living the life we have. It’s so easy to get sucked in to the daily routine that we forget we are choosing to live our lives that way.

It’s also easy to blame our problems and unhappiness on external factors. But the truth is, we are the wardens of our own prisons.

You are at the job you’re at because you choose to be. You’re in the relationship you’re in because you choose to be. You’re in the financial situation you’re in because you choose to be. You’re in the health you’re in because you choose to be.

Your dreams are collecting dust in the back of your mind because that’s where you choose to leave them.

Now, here’s the mind-bender: you can choose to change any of these things at any time. Yes, it may feel *impossible*, but that feeling of impossibility isn’t usually accurate – it’s usually created out of fear.

I allowed myself to play the prisoner role for years. In the past, I was in jobs that made me unhappy. I had every reason in the book for why I couldn’t leave and why I didn’t have the time to pursue my fiction writing dream. But when I finally overcame my fears, changed jobs, and did a better job prioritizing my time, I discovered that it is possible to find a harmonious balance between a day job and a dream. 

The result? A newfound happiness that I never thought possible.

How are you living the life you have?

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  • Diana

    Hi, how can you say that “You’re in the financial situation you’re in because you choose to be”. What if you are born in a poor family and you do not have money to go to university? If you are not tough from child how to invest. You will end up in having just one poor paid job.
    “You’re in the health you’re in because you choose to be.” What happens if one would have cancer?
    I believe in making your own happiness, but not in the statements above.


    • Erika Liodice

      Hi Diana,
      Thanks so much for chiming in! You bring up a very good point. There are always things that are out of our control – especially health issues, like cancer. There are endless examples of people in bad situations who have no choice about it and no way out of it. However, there are also endless examples of people in bad situations who DO have a choice about it. Those are the folks I had in mind here.

      That said, I don’t believe that everyone from poor families, who can’t afford college and aren’t taught how to invest are bound for nothing more than a poorly paying job. I acknowledge that, yes, those are very big limitations to overcome, but some of the most influential people of our time have come from these types of situations and chose to find their way out of it. And on the flip side, there are plenty of people from affluent backgrounds that choose to do nothing meaningful with their lives. What I’m hoping to convey, is that many things in life are a choice and ultimately we are responsible for changing the aspects that make us unhappy.

      Hope that clears up my intent a bit. Thanks again for writing in! I’m enjoying the lively discussion 🙂


  • Melissa Marsh

    I have to disagree with the whole “you choose your health” comment. I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and that wasn’t a choice I made. They don’t know the cause of it. I eat very healthy, regularly work-out, and still am not what one would consider a “healthy” person. When you make the choices to be healthy and do everything in your power to get healthy, yet you’re still NOT healthy, you are not making that choice. It’s just the way it is.

    I agree that I could change my job and find happiness everywhere, but you have to be realistic, too. My husband is going to school right now, so we need at least one person who has a full-time, steady job with health benefits for us and our daughter – I have that right now. I can’t quit and decide to pursue my writing full-time because we do not have the money to live on.

    I think there’s also truth in the matter of “look before you leap.” I am working toward the full-time, fiction-writing dream – but I don’t have the financial capability to do it right now. That’s just reality.

    There has to be a balance – you must choose your happiness, but you also have to be responsible about it – especially when others are depending on you for support.

    • Erika Liodice

      Hi Melissa,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As I mentioned to Diana, there are always things that are out of our control, like PCOS. That is an unfortunate situation (and I’m truly sorry to hear that you’re dealing with it), especially when you’ve made the choice and taken action to be a healthy person. That is just plain unfair and it sounds like, until medicine catches up, there’s nothing you can do about it. HOWEVER, there are plenty of folks who are unhappy with their health, who CAN change it but don’t. Those were the folks I had in mind here.

      I hear what you’re saying on the job front, but your situation is one of your own making (in a good way). Your husband has decided to go to school, which will likely have a positive impact on your family in the future (that’s action!) and you’ve decided to support him in that by “holding down the fort” financially (that’s action too!). Plus, you’re halfway complete with writing your novel (that’s also action!) and you maintain an awesome writing blog on a daily basis (more action!). I never said, nor do I advocate, leaping blindly into anything. Change takes time. LOTS of time. I’ll be the first to attest to it. All I’m advocating is action. And you, my friend, are great example of someone who is taking action every day.


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