Why on earth does someone turn down a whole lot of cash for ‘happiness’?

Don’t worry, I asked myself the same question a number of times – that was until I discovered what I was searching for. Now, I’ve never looked back.

I knew some time ago that the life I was living was not what I wanted for myself. After studying for 4 years at university, getting fantastic grades and lining up great job opportunities as an aspiring teacher you would think that things were great, right?

Deep down, I had always known that there was something greater for me.

I was tired of the music scene and over all of the hype. I didn’t wake up with the same fire I used to wake up with. Yet, I was on my way to becoming a successful music teacher with an $80,000 per year income on offer, a head teacher position waiting for me at a private school straight out of uni.

I knew that this path didn’t line up with the path I truly wanted but I was crippled with the fear of risking everything to find it. I was constantly warring with myself, torn between:

1. What my family and friends wanted, even expected me to do.
2. What I truly wanted to do inside.

Here are some of the most important things I realized and lessons I learned:

1. Replacing money with freedom was the best decision I ever made.

In the end, still terrified, I turned down the $80,000 job offer and deferred my second university course (I had already completed the four years of my first undergraduate course so I was only wasting six months).

I decided to go on a search for happiness, but I couldn’t do that without taking a bold first step. So I traveled to China!

Thrown into a brand new culture, shocked and anxious about meeting new people, I found my feet and quickly became extremely connected. I found so many like-minded people that were searching for an alternative lifestyle to western life that had previously lived a lifestyle filled with freedom and excitement.

In short, China quite literally changed my life, mentally, physically and emotionally. As a whole, I discovered a deeper sense of fulfillment and excitement that I never thought existed before.

2. Settling in life is a dagger in the back of happiness.

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Your years are ticking away every passing second. Every breath you take will never come again and every heartbeat is one less heartbeat until it stops beating all together.

With this fleeting concept of time, why settle and waste those precious moments when you could be out in the world, challenging yourself, dreaming, pushing your limits and soaking up the rich rewards that come from chasing what you truly want!

Sure it will be harder than you could have first imagined, but isn’t that so much better than spending your days living a second choice life, a life of second preferences and fall back plans?

How can you experience true happiness when you’re not living a life true to yourself?

I learned that to settle for anything is to put a knife to the back of your dreams. So I made a vow to never settle and always pursue what I felt was in line with my true self, no matter the adversity and no matter the risk.

3. Happiness comes from conquering fears.

There were so many dangerous possibilities about leaving my comfort zone for China:

• I could have lost all of my money (Which I actually did in Nepal quite recently.);
• I could have suffered social rejection and humiliation while trying to make new foreign friends;
• I could have made my depression and anxiety worse because of the hardships involved in solo travel;
• I could have failed at my job in China as an English teacher and had to come home embarrassed.

There are literally hundreds of things that could have gone wrong while over there, but did they stop me from going? No!

And I’m so glad they didn’t because China grew my confidence tenfold, heightened my sense of self and I ultimately discovered a deep sense of satisfaction and happiness that I never knew was buried within me.

I learned that usually what you fear the most is the thing that will bring you the most happiness. Everything you want is on the other side of fear.

Live life fearlessly, be bold, be courageous and never settle for any manner of money or possessions because unless they are a by-product of your inner most dreams, they will never give you the same level of happiness.

So what about you? Are you in search for happiness? And what can you do today to get on the right path?

About The Author

This is a guest post by Justin Light – a coach, blogger and video trainer. He’s the founder of Inky n the Brain – a blog on mind hacks and motivation. His mission is to show people how to discover their identity and empower them to live differently.