Sometimes, people ask what my biggest learning was during my time wrestling. My answer: I learned not to blame my job for my unhappiness.
Before wrestling, whenever I felt unhappy, I would tend to blame my job. Something about this job is hard. Frustrating, Stressful. If only I had that job, then things would be swell.
It’s one reason I started wrestling. We imagine professional athletes to lead happy lives. They get to make a living doing what they love. Life must feel like all fun and games all the time.
I wanted to see how it would feel to do something seriously, where everything was chosen by me. What to play, who to play it with, how often to play it. In spite of these ideal circumstances, there came times – many times – when I felt unhappy. I noticed I would feel this way towards both my job and wrestling. That’s when I saw it. What’s causing my unhappiness it not my job, but myself.
Since I started working, I’ve had the good fortune to be picky with jobs. I’ve never had to get one out of desperation. Name an element of your dream job, I’ve had them all – great pay, lots of travel, flexible schedule, work from home, work from anywhere, unlimited vacation, awesome boss, awesome colleagues, a team hired and managed by me, deciding what to work on, how to work on it. In all cases, I would have weeks or even months in the year where I kind of hated my life. No exceptions.
This was the case even in my mini sabbatical in 2019. I had four months where I had nothing I had to do, more than enough money to not worry about it, and something I looked forward to (I was moving to Germany). Even then, there were stretches of time when I felt frustrated and unhappy. I didn’t know what to do with myself.
With all these experiences, I can’t help but conclude that for the most part, it is my internal life that causes my unhappiness. If I want to feel happier, it’s unlikely that a job change will accomplish that. It is my mind that I must change.
I have met the enemy and, as I already knew, she is me.
P.S. Here are the 3 Rules on How to Be Happy, by Alexander Green