There’s a new trend that you may have noticed on the internet—hustle porn. If you’re unfamiliar with this genre, it usually consists of obnoxious pieces about CEOs and other fast-track professionals that obsessively brag about their long hours at work bracketed by yoga, meditation and running marathons. Of course, all of these activities are published on Instagram—because if it’s not, then it didn’t happen.
If you think that this is another work-hustle type of article, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Instead, I’d like to share some less commonly taught strategies to achieving long-term career happiness.
1. Find the right spouse. One of the biggest decisions in life is selecting a partner. This decision will greatly influence the trajectory of your career. Attractive looks quickly fade away and then you’re left with only the personality. If you find someone who shares your core beliefs and is supportive of your career, the chances of success and happiness substantially increase. An unpleasant marriage marred with fighting, arguing and the accompanying drama distracts from your work productivity and makes you miserable at home. If you ultimately get divorced, it will be financially and emotionally devastating, scarring everyone—including the kids—for years to come.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others. No matter how successful you are, there will always be someone who is more financially well off than you. If you benchmark yourself against the richest person you know, you’ll always be disappointed. The only person you should measure yourself up against is the person you were yesterday—compared to where you are today. If you are improving yourself and not looking at others for comparison, you’ll appreciate all of your gains.
3. Ignore everyone’s two-bit opinions. There will always be people who pressure you to do things you don’t like. This pressure comes from parents, spouses, family, friends and colleagues. It’s hard to resist the push to move into so-called safe careers. Stand strong and follow your own path. Find a career that offers meaning and the ability to earn a living. Since it’s your own choice, you won’t be as upset if things don’t pan out. If the decision was made at the behest of others, you’ll always be resentful and angry. I’ve noticed that the people who derive satisfaction in their career are happier, tend to work harder and don’t mind the hours. They find enjoyment in what they do, even if it may pay less than another type of job.
4. Do something that you’re good at. If you have the raw talent, you’ll enjoy work more. You’ll exponentially get better at it since it’s essentially fun to you. People will notice your efforts and enthusiasm and offer more opportunities. The promotions and raises will follow and you’ll enjoy the job even more. Your career will be a virtuous upward cycle.
5. Work your butt off in your 20s and 30s. Put in all the time and effort while you are young and healthy. Yes, you may miss out on social engagements, but you’ll reap the rewards later in life. It’s as if your time is a monetary investment. It grows over time and will pay a dividend in the future. It’s difficult to defer gratification; however, it’s worth it in the long run. When you hit your late 40s and 50s, the lessons learned, experiences garnered, connections made and skills you’ve honed will all pay off.
6. An object in motion stays in motion. Keeping moving forward, learning new ideas, evolving intellectually, growing personally and networking. The more you get involved with interesting projects, the better chance you have of making your own breaks. You’ll feel better about yourself and build more confidence. Whereas, if you sit at home playing video games, you’re forgotten and nobody is going to seek you out.
7. Drastically cut down on all distractions. We all have distinctive time-consuming habits and go down rabbit holes on the internet. Think of all of your diversions: smoking weed, drinking too much, playing video games, cheating on your partner, watching stupid television shows and hanging out with those who bring you down spiritually. Cut the time spent on these activities by at least half. Use the extra time, which you have now saved, to engage in productive activities that enhance your career and social life.
8. Don’t be a jerk. Most people view work as a zero-sum game— if you win, I lose. That’s not the case at all; it’s the complete opposite. There is enough bounty out there for everyone to become successful. Feel free to help out others in need. Your good deeds will come back to you tenfold. Also, you don’t have to worry about making enemies that are always out to get you.
9. Take risks. Pursue your dreams—just make sure that there’s a reasonable chance for success. If you fail, learn from the mistakes and quickly move forward. Take chances in life. If they work out, great. If they don’t, brush yourself off and start over again. Don’t let the failures define you. Learn from them. You can proudly look in the mirror and say to yourself that you at least tried, which is much more than most people do.
10. Appreciate your life. Life is short and we all die in the end. Take the time to appreciate what you have. I mean this literally. Every night before you go to sleep, take inventory of all the positive things in your life. Most angry and resentful people look at all of the things in which they lack. Positive and happy people count their blessings. Spend some time at a homeless shelter or volunteer at a hospital for kids with cancer. You’d soon be thankful for everything that you have in life and savor all of your good fortune.