1) Am I Enjoying This?
2) Is This Contributing Value to My Life?
For the most, part, these two questions alone can help answer some of the most difficult questions in life. If at any point in time the answer to both is “No,” then you should begin to start looking for a change.
Our lives are composed of things we enjoy and don’t enjoy; often times we find ourselves doing things that fall into both categories. For example, I look back to my college years and reflect on the fun times I had; midnight sledding in campus parks, partying early into the morning, just to pick up and do it again hours later, or playing broomball at 12a on a weekday. Perhaps these weren’t contributing value to my life, but they were life experiences I enjoyed! I had fun.
At the same time I remember many times from college that were simply miserable. Failing my first engineering exam or studying all day on a Saturday while my peers were out tailgating for the Michigan games. But I knew the time I was putting in was contributing to my future, obtaining a degree from a top ten university. Did I enjoy it, no, but did is contribute value to my life? Yes.
I’ve found that the same two questions apply to other parts of life, even to relationships. Some relationships are maintained for the fun and adventure of it, other’s may face hard times which are not so enjoyable, but you push forward in the hopes that there is a future ahead that could change your life. But when the answer is ‘No’ to both “Am I enjoying this?” and “Is this contributing value to my life?” it’s time to break it off.
I’ve reflected on these same questions recently in my life. Facing a drastic career and lifestyle change, when asking myself these two simple questions, what was an overwhelming, insurmountable decision, became rather easy.
Was I enjoying the work I was doing? While early on the answer was yes, at the present, the answer was no. Was my current position contributing value to my life? Had I asked that question to myself a year or two earlier, I would have said yes. Perhaps I wasn’t enjoying the work, but I was building on my skills, my story, and my experience; experience I could leverage. But looking forward, the marginal value was meager. Perhaps another 6-12 months could get me promoted and allow me to work on my other endeavors but the value was unjustifiable.
Thus when posed with the opportunity to be promoted, get a raise, and move to Chicago, the answers to both questions quickly went from No’s to Yes’s.
Often times in life we find ourselves at cross-roads, not knowing in which direction to turn. Doubts, fears, and concerns can easily cloud our judgement. For many, the shear fear to change can be paralyzing. But when you take the time and ask yourself the questions that really matter, you are empowered to cut through the haze of the fog that obscures your vision of the future and make the decision that’s best for you.
So ask yourself, “Are you enjoying this? Is it contributing value to your life?” If not, it’s time to make a change.