Is Your Path to Happiness Blocked?

Path BlockedA show I LOVED to watch in the 90’s was Daria. I re-watched it recently and was thinking about this exchange in the episode called “The Teachings of Don Jake.” (If you haven’t heard of Daria, or don’t remember this episode, that’s OK, it will make sense.)

Daria and her father Jake are hiking down a trail and it splits into two paths. One path is blocked with a sign reading “DANGER! TRAIL WASHED OUT.”

Jake – Look at that, Daria: a fork in the trail. If you go one way, you can’t go the other.

Daria – This is going to depress me, isn’t it?

Jake – This way over here leads to an entry-level job. A little bit of money in your pocket. Soon, you’re wearing a suit and tie every day like all the other faceless saps, living in a boring little house in a bland little town, and doing so well you’re in debt up to your disappearing hair! That’s where that trail leads, Daria.

Daria – I guess that other trail is the one that leads to personal and spiritual satisfaction. That’s why they don’t want you to take it.

Jake – Dammit, Daria! You’re brilliant!

(Jake climbs over sign and walks down closed trail)

Do you ever feel like Jake? Do you feel the path to being happy at work or at home was (or is) blocked off to you? And while you’re going down the main path with everyone else, do you wonder how you got there?

I remember looking around my cubicle after one particularly hard day at work and wondering how the heck I did I end up here? I was supposed to be in a job that made me happy, not one that paid the bills but left me with no energy at the end of the day and dreading every phone call.

Sometimes when we’re in the thick of it, we can’t see the way out. We just see the next obstacle, the next bump or bolder in our path. This is especially when we need to stop and take a step back.

Here are four things you can do when you find yourself completely frustrated at work and needing a bit of a boost:

  • Breath – sit up straight, close your eyes and breathe deeply for 3-4 breaths.
  • Change the Scenery – Get up and walk around for five minutes or at least get a glass of water.
  • Remember – Why did you take this job? What did you like about it?
  • Review – What do you like about your job now? How can you do more of what you like and less of what you don’t? You might want to talk with your boss or supervisor about shifting some of your work (you’ll be more productive working on the things you like).

What do you do when you find yourself in the thick of it and stuck?

Photo credit: Mudslide blocks Burke-Gilman Trail by ebis50 via flickr