Be Careful What You Wish For – Part 2: Overcoming Pride to Find Happiness

What could someone say to you, if you are working an exhausting, career inspired, trying to reach the top of the ladder kind of life, in order to get you to change your views?   For most people at the “top of the world” the answer is that there is nothing that could get them to change.  Most people are too full of pride for them to admit that maybe there is something missing.  Perhaps they should take a deeper look. 

In yesterday’s post, titled “Be Careful What You Wish For”, I shared with you my journey through life – the abridged version of my failures and successes – to arrive at where I am today.

What I want to share with you today is something I’ve never written about before. To do it, I’ve drawn upon the wisdom of my clients.

They’ve asked me over and over again the following question: “What could someonehave said to you when you were living your extreme workstyle life, focused only on making more and accumulating more, to convince you that there was a better way to live?”

I’ve thought about this for a long time. The fact is that, for me to be able to relate to others that are in the position that I was in – to be able to reach out to them – I have to be able to answer that question.

The bottom-line is that, at the height of my lunacy and insanity (and that’s exactly how I describe my one-sided obsession with trying to have it all and do it all), there is absolutely nothing anybody could have said to me to show me that there was a better way.

When I got to the point where I was on top of the world, at least in my own mind, I wasn’t looking for advice. It was at that moment in time where (as I described yesterday):

You sit back and reflect upon all you’ve been through. You say to yourself “I’ve arrived. Now my life is going to be different.” You make the time to sit down with your wife and family and children and explain to them where you are today and why it’s all been worth
it. You pump out your chest and show your friends the new you, invitingthe world to feast their eyes upon you. You make plans, big plans. You know you’ll live happily ever after.

That’s the stage where pride and ego take over. I didn’t need anything or anybody, let alone any counsel. I wasn’t looking for a better way. I thought I had what other people wanted. It didn’t work when my wife suggested to me that I was living an insane life.

But there’s an ancillary answer to the question as it relates to those living that extreme lifestyle. This approach also involves pride, but it introduces the element of timing as well.

You see, even though to look at me and to observe me you’d see a self-assured, even cocky, man-about-town, inside I was torn apart. I had come to suspect that things weren’t quite right somehow. I had come to get a slight sense about what the phrase “Be careful what you wish for” meant.

I had even felt in the core of my being from family and friends what Imogene Fey meant when she said:

“The only suitable gift for the man who has everything is your deepest sympathy.”

I had seen the light. I had been shown the errors of my ways – several times – yet I had ignored them. The door of hope had been cracked open for me several times, yet my pride had caused me to slam it shut again and again.

I couldn’t bring myself to admit that I was wrong. I couldn’t swallow my pride and cut my losses. Even if I could, I reasoned that I didn’t know where to turn for help or even how to ask for help.

So the second answer to the question: “What could someone have said to you to convince you that there was a better way to live?” is that someone might have gotten lucky and caught me when that door was cracked open a bit. I then might have been willing to try something different.

So how did someone like me come to know that there was a better way to live? And how was I finally moved to put the wheels in motion and take action?

I had to feel the pain – real pain. I had to stop running around with blinders on and think, and I mean really consider, what was going on in my life. I needed to do the heavy lifting and ask myself: “Am I Truly Happy? Is This What I Want?” Once I did that, there was no way that I could answer in any other way but “NO!

Part 3 – Friday: Quotes

See Also: Be Careful What You Wish For – Part 1 : Losing Sight of What’s Important

Special thanks to Peter at I Will Change Your for including this post in his Personal Stories of Change.

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