In today’s society, it is easy to get caught up. People get caught up in what everyone else thinks is cool, caught up in finding a good job, getting married at the “right” age, having kids at the “right” age.  However, every time that I have tried to fit in and follow the social norms instead of just being myself, I have not felt fulfilled, and things don’t seem to ever really go my way. It is only when I give myself the freedom to truly be me and pursue my own goals that I have felt true happiness.
Let yourself be you! Let your “freak flag” fly and do what YOU want to do! Here are some reasons why.

1. Spend your days happy.

The easiest way to be happy with yourself is by allowing yourself to believe you can achieve your goals and dreams. When you believe you can do something and really take action to make your dreams a reality, you naturally gain a sense of bliss because you are doing what you want in life. Think of the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, (the story of a high school boy and two friends who ditch school for a day in order to have an amazing time in the city). Now, I know we can’t all ditch school or work every day in order to have fun, but what if we take this as an analogy for everyday life? Instead of following the everyday routine he was supposed to, Ferris took the initiative to do what he wanted for the day and he had the time of his life! He didn’t fit the regular “9-to-5” norm and was clearly a person who wouldn’t want to be stuck in an office. However, it was apparent that he could do or be anything he wanted due to his obvious charisma and enthusiasm for life. Get out there and do it!

2. Cut away your boundaries.

We can blame society, parents, or outside circumstances for why we can’t do something, but in the end, it is really you who sets your own boundaries. Don’t let the fear of failing keep you from living your life! You are in charge, and YOU CAN DO IT!!!  I’ve personally known a sixteen-year-old who was raising his younger brother on his own because their parents had abandoned them. He didn’t give up! He worked hard to get into a scholarship program and when I saw him again six years later, he was a successful graduate of a great university and had already secured a job in his chosen field. He believed he could change his circumstances, so he followed his dreams and succeeded!  

3. Money is only worth so much.

Even if your dream is to become a high-powered executive, don’t focus all of your attention on material wealth. Really succeeding in a career means being patient, learning as much as you can, and enjoying the ride.  Your enthusiasm for the career path you choose will become apparent, and people will naturally want to help you further yourself in your career. Just be patient and enjoy the process!

4. You never know what opportunities will arise.

When you remove the fear of following your dreams and just jump in for the ride, you may end up finding more than you ever thought you could. I decided to move across the world by myself to teach, and what I found was more than I could have ever asked for! I not only made amazing new friends who thought a lot like me, I also was able to travel to places I had previously never even dreamed of, and found the love of my life.

5. You will attract people like yourself.

Allowing yourself permission to be 100% you by doing what you want with your life will give you the confidence to be your true self in all situations. You will find that people like you naturally gravitate toward you because they can see how your confidence is helping you to be happy, and they will want to be a part of that happiness.

6. Work will never feel like work.

Now, I don’t want to make it all seem like a fairytale because sometimes work can be rough. However, if you enjoy doing something, it makes getting up in the morning and completing all of your daily activities much more enjoyable. The hard work will seem worthwhile because you will be doing something you love and in the end, you will feel proud about what you have accomplished.

7. Even if you don’t succeed, it could lead you in the right direction.

It is very difficult to know what we want at first. Try things! Maybe you think you want to be an artist, but in the process you find friends who give you insight into something you want to do even more. No one ever achieved anything from saying no to all of the opportunities that arise. You won’t always like everything you do, but if you try new things, you may find that you actually love them. In my experience, every time I have failed at something, it is because something more suited to me is coming my way.  See “failures” as lessons! Learn from them and move on! Be open to what will come next and keep working hard to get what you want. What will come will often surprise you and surpass your expectations!

8. Your life may not look like the path others take, and that’s okay.

Focus on what you want and when you feel comfortable with yourself, the rest will eventually fall into place. If you aren’t achieving all of your dreams in the place you currently are, then change it! Don’t become stagnant waiting for something to happen. Soul search and find where you need to go next in order to help you grow and get what you want out of life. The people who really love you for who you are will understand and wish you the best.

9. People will gain respect for you.

Knowing what you want in life and being enthusiastic about it will show in your interactions with others. People are attracted to those who are “real”. Think about any relationship you have ever had, whether it is with a friend or a partner. What made you like them? Were you attracted to their confidence or repelled by their lack of it? Even if the person was “weird” by societal norms, you most likely felt a sense of happiness for the person because the person was living under his or her true identity. Be you, and be PROUD of it!

10. You will live a fulfilled life.

When you are old and gray, you won’t wonder “what if.” You will think to yourself, “It has been a good ride. I have LIVED!” Be the senior who is satisfied with their life because they didn’t take “no” for an answer! We all love to hear stories about people who have lived extraordinary lives! This could be you!