“If you’re on the false path, get off. Find energy in rebellion.” — Robert Greene
When it comes to choosing our life’s work, many of us, unfortunately, take an incorrect path in our lives. The simple reason is that we’re driven by certain erroneous pursuits, namely, money, fame, prestige, social status, and so on. Sooner or later, because our chosen field doesn’t resonate with our deepest passions, the fulfillment that we as humans crave eludes us, and we inevitably go through a “crisis” phase. Our work performance suffers creating a negative ripple effect in other areas of life, thus taking us in a downward spiral involving defeat, despair, and disappointment.
So, how can we avoid such a fate?
Robert Greene suggests a twofold strategy to overcome this mishap:
- Perform self-introspection and realize as early as possible that you have chosen your vocation for the wrong reasons. In this way, your confidence would still remain intact and you would be able to avoid the valleys of pain, discomfort, and dejection (that we discussed above).
- Actively rebel against the forces that have kept you away from your destined path. These can be parental and/or societal pressures that might have dominated your decisions your entire life. For instance, if you might have chosen a career path because of money and comfort, you are most likely acting out of anxiety and the need to get your parent’s approval. Make a commitment to pleasing yourself, not others. Make your personal happiness your number one priority. As Robert writes, “Scoff at the need for attention and approval—they will lead you astray. Feel some anger and resentment at the parental forces that want to foist upon you an alien vocation. It is a healthy part of your development to follow a path independent of your parents and to establish your own identity. Let your sense of rebellion fill you with energy and purpose.”
Did You Know?
Disheveled comes from Middle English discheveled, meaning “bareheaded” or “with disordered hair.” That word is partially based on Anglo-French deschevelé, a combination of the prefix des- (“dis-“) and chevoil (“hair”). In English, disheveled describes things other than hair that have a messy or untidy appearance.