Self

4 Subtle Signs You’re Going The Wrong Way In Life

Photo: Christian Horz / Shutterstock
woman walking down path

“If you do not change direction, you might end up where you are heading.” — Lao Tzu

Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had this as a warning that would go off whenever we are close to doing something that could ruin our lives?

For those of you who are not familiar with this 1960s television show reference, here you are.

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When we thought about taking that job that would work us harder than we ever thought possible?

Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

When we considered asking the new hire from marketing on a date because they seemed nice, and we didn’t think they would turn into a psycho?

Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

When we considered putting all of my money into that new cryptocurrency that was hyped as being the biggest thing since Bitcoin?

Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

Overall, having something like this would save us from a number of different terrible decisions that could cause a lot of drama and equally terrible situations in our lives.

And while this robot has not been invented yet for us to be able to take advantage of its warning ability, there is a way that we can take heed to five different signs that could work equally as well if we are wise enough to recognize and listen to them.

Here are 4 subtle signs you're going the wrong way in life:

1. Work — You HATE going to work every day

Some may think that this is ridiculous because who actually enjoys going to work every day?

But mind you…I didn’t say you loved going to work every day. I said that you HATE going to work every day.

They are not the same thing.

The reality is that most people don’t mind going to work every day because it actually gives them something to do for the course of the day (who really wants to sit home and do nothing ALL the time?), and its the means by which we are able to buy the things that we desire.

There are a group of people who are dissatisfied with their jobs, and I understand that.

But to say that you hate going to work every day, that is a much smaller group of individuals who are living in a world that seems like it could almost be torture.

If this is you, then it’s probably time to brush off the resume, polish up those interviewing skills, and began identifying a job that you truly love…or at least don’t hate.

2. Relationships — You'd rather hang with your friends than your significant other

There was a time in my life that I thought marriage was one of the dumbest things somebody could do.

I just wasn’t convinced that spending your life with one person was the way to go, especially when you hear of so many people in miserable marriages that they stay in only because of their kids.

I even had a podcast called sYgm (Should YOU Get Married) that was focused on answering this question because I wasn’t entirely sure and wanted to do research with couples to understand is this something people should truly consider.

Well, I’ve been with my current wife for about 5 years now and we have been married for a little over two, and while I can’t say that I have all the answers in marriage, the one thing I can say is that I don’t know how people do it if they don’t marry their best friend.

I have a few friends that I enjoy spending time with and “chopping it up” from time to time, but there is absolutely no one that I enjoy spending time with more than my wife.

If you are going to spend the rest of your life with someone, then it should probably be someone that you like (a lot) and to think that you have friends that you enjoy spending time with more than the person that you signed up to spend the rest of your breathing life with is rather scary.

Therefore, if you find that hanging out with your friends is a better proposition (I get it from time to time but not most or ALL of the time) than hanging out with your significant other, it probably means that you haven’t found that right person yet that is the yin to your yang.

Therefore, it might be time to re-evaluate the relationship to get some counseling or maybe consider if it’s time to make a change.

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3. Finances — Your expenses KEEP STEADILY rising each year

“It’s not how much money you make but how much you keep…” — Robert Kiyosaki

The quote above by the Rich Dad, Poor Dad author is one that most people have heard but very few people think about as they run this rat race called life.

I worked for a company that paid its salespeople extremely well, and for that reason, I worked with a number of people who made a significant amount of money over time.

To make six figures for my company was not that big of a deal and individuals didn’t typically see themselves as a success until they were making in the 200k plus arena.

In the US, the average salary is around $56,310, so the thought of making twice that as a basement for most people with my former company would lead one to believe that most people were living a stress-free and enjoyable life.

Unfortunately, this was not the case, as many successful people who were making in the 200k plus arena were living as week-to-week or month-to-month from a paycheck perspective as someone who was making 56k.

The reason for this was related to a derivative of the concept of Parkinson’s Law in which expenses have a tendency to rise to the level of income we are making over time.

Simply put, the more money you make, the more money you spend.

If you find yourself in this situation, and every year you are making more money but still not saving significantly more, then it could mean that you have put yourself in the rat race of failure to try to “Keep up with the Joneses” and could be in a tough financial spot down the road if you’re not careful.

Studies have shown that the amount of money that usually makes people the happiest from an improvement standpoint is $75,000. Anything over that only gives smaller incremental happiness that doesn’t equal the additional amount of capital received.

Therefore, focusing on living within that number or a little bit more (maybe 100k to be safe) to create a lifestyle in which one is comfortable seems like the way to go.

Then you can save and invest the rest for rainy days to ensure you aren’t stressed out in the future if some financial downturn takes place that you could not predict.

Your future self in retirement and current emotional and mental stability will probably thank you.

Goals — You’re not excited about the future

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While the story of Peter Pan is probably one of the most recognizable from the Walt Disney collection, I’m sure there are a number of other productions that would probably take the cake as being more of a family favorite.

With stories like Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast on the scene, this old classic probably got lost in the mix as a story from a different era for most people.

The colossal lesson that one can take away from the boy who never wanted to grow up, however, is that we should always have the same type of childlike excitement for life that we had as kids.

Most people would argue that the reason Peter Pan wanted to stay a kid is that he wanted to avoid all the responsibility that comes with being an adult and just wanted to enjoy the carefree lifestyle that kids enjoy every day.

And while this is, of course, true based on the dynamics of the story, what I think gets overshadowed by the thought of having no responsibility is the excitement that kids have of the future that we tend to lose as adults over time.

If you really think about it, it wasn’t as much that Peter was afraid of the responsibility he would get as he grew older, he already had immense responsibility as the leader the gang of kids in Neverland.

If it was responsibility he didn’t desire, then he didn’t have to take on that enormous responsibility.

No…the true fear of Peter Pan was losing the excitement about the future and being forced to live in a world in which responsibility was more important than his goals to create a future that excited him.

Why do you think Elon Musk, one of the richest people who has ever lived, continues to work as hard as he does and push for opportunities that would overwhelm the average person?

It’s because he needs goals that excite him and make him want to get out of bed every day to do something amazing.

We only have one life to live, and to live any portion of it only going through the motions is disrespectful to all the people who are no longer here that would give anything to have another day on this planet.

We all have responsibilities, but we can’t let our responsibilities stop us from experiencing the joy of living a life full of excitement and opportunity for what we can do and who we can become.

If you don’t have goals that make you excited to get out of bed every day, then something is wrong, and you need to take some time to figure out what you need to change to create those.

It can be challenging to know how we are doing in life, as one minute all can be going well and the next minute, our worlds can be turned upside down.

Fortunately, there is a way to know if we are generally headed in the right direction by assessing our lives in these four areas listed above.

If you saw yourself in the questions asked and know that your life is headed in the wrong direction, only you have the power to change it to create and begin living a life of happiness and excitement.

The question now becomes, will you?

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Ken Makimsy Middleton is an alcohol-conscious (sober) writer who is focused on helping individuals create the best versions of themselves. He is the editor of the Medium publication AINYF (Alcohol is NOT Your Friend) and is working on a book release to help the casual "normal" drinker realize how their life can be so much better without alcohol.

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This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.