Why building the life we want is so difficult

We all know them way too well. These typical facebook-instagram-tumblr-quotes in front of a heart-melting, sentimental wallpaper handing out advice on how to live the life we truly want for ourselves. Hashtagdowhatyouwant. Hashtagdowhatmakesyouhappy. Hashtaglovewhatyoudo. Hashtagdowhatyoulove.

Wow. Do what you want because doing what you want is going to make you happy! Follow your passion and everything will fall into place! Well, thanks for that, Sherlock. I think I am now ready to build the life I truly want for myself. We are all so sick of it, aren’t we? I think I have to rethink my question here: Is there still one single person on earth who is not so super sick of these life-changing tips that are jumping at us from every imaginable social network corner of the internet?

However, the question I am far more interested in is:

Why are there still so many people not living the life they truly want?

Why are we still struggling with building the life we want for ourselves?

1. We don’t know what we want.

This is almost as simple as the annoying quotes I just wrote about but, still, it is so true. The main reason why many of us never really seem to do what we want is because we just don’t have a clue what we want. We could write a book about all the things we don’t want to do but when it comes to the things we want to do we just feel overwhelmed.

What would you do if money was no object? What would you do if you already had so much money that you would not have to work one single day from now onwards? Don’t tell me this is unrealistic and absurd. Because it’s not about being realistic. It’s just about finding out what you truly want, what your vision for your personal life is.

What do you really enjoy doing with all your heart? When do you lose yourself in an activity? We all have these kind of moments – and I am not talking about taking drugs or being drunk. It is far more than that. What is your way of soberly getting drunk?

2. We are desperately trying to please everyone else except for ourselves.

If you don’t have a clue what you want in your life, you will most likely end up doing things that other people want from your life. But the far more scary fact is that there are a lot of us who could actually answer all these questions above but still don’t seem to be able to live up to our vision. Why? Because we are so desperately trying to meet the expectations of our surroundings which weigh on our shoulders like a burden.

And we are all carrying these burdens in some way. We all have to live with expectations that society puts on us somehow. What are they going to think if I decide to start working instead of getting a degree? What are they going to think if I decide to push my career instead of leading a family life? How are they going to react if I tell them that I am moving out of this place into another life? We are so afraid of other people’s judgments and reactions to our dreams that we decide to remain in our old, unhappy lives instead.

But you know what’s even worse than disappointing other people? Disappointing yourself. You are not born to make other people happy by doing what they want. You are here to make yourself happy by doing what is good for you – not for them. This is not egoistic. Everything else is self-destructive! After all, you will never ever be able to make somebody happy if you are unhappy. So just ask yourself: Would I still do what I’m doing if I’d move to another town with completely new surroundings? Am I doing this for myself or because somebody else expects me to do it?  

3. We fear failure.


Have you ever experienced these moments in which your creativity takes over and you start dreaming of all the things you could do in the future? And have you ever noticed that critical voice that sets in shortly after daring to think of these creative and revolutionary ideas?

Forget it. This is not going to work out. There are so many people out there who are more talented than you are. You better stay where you are instead of making a fool of yourself in front of the whole, wide world. 

Oh, I am sure we all have these demons inside of our heads. They try to convince us that we are too untalented to make a difference by doing what we love. But even if we really don’t manage to make a difference: Who cares? Why are we so scared of failing? In fact, all successful people we look up to have failed so many times before they became who they are today. Failure is part of the process of bettering ourselves. It’s not the end of the road; it’s just an information and an opportunity to change your course.

And by the way, let’s just face it: People are not even interested in your failure. They are not even interested in you because they are so busy thinking about their own life. Unfortunately and fortunately you are not the centre of the universe! So, have the guts to try things out – and fail. Because nobody cares!

What’s holding YOU back?

I am sure there are a lot of other, personal reasons why so many people still don’t seem to live the lives they really want for themselves. And what I am also very sure of is how difficult it can be to overcome these three obstacles in our lives.

No matter whom I talked to about this topic, no matter how much these people differed concerning their life circumstances: The reasons they wouldn’t or couldn’t live up to their full potential always seemed to go back to one of these three obstacles-

  • not knowing what to do
  • doing what other people expect them to do
  • or just the all consuming fear of failure.

But the thing is: The more we manage to get over these obstacles, the more we will actually be able to build the life we want and therefore, the happier we are going to be.

So, start asking yourself this question: Which one of these three obstacles is holding you back in building the life you truly want for yourself?

Photo credit: Cover image by Pixabay

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About Marija Barisic

Marija studies German and History at the University of Vienna and loves reading and writing about psychological and spiritual theories of human mind. She likes late-night-talks with open-minded people and getting to know different point of views.

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