How do you know when it’s time to make a change?

How do you know when it’s time to make a change? <– Link to Story

Courtesy Robayre/FlickR Creative Commons

Courtesy Robayre/FlickR Creative Commons

How do you know when it’s time to make a change? Well, a related question that also gets at the answer is are you focused on the fullness of the picture or the prettiness of the frame? Keep that question in the back of your head as you read through this post today and go about your day. When I ask whether you’re focused on the picture or the frame, I want you to think about whether you’re focused on how something looks from the outside or whether you’re interested in what it really is, the fullness of it.

Let me break that down. So often we go through our lives focused on the idea of what something is rather than the reality of it. This happens many times in relationships where we love the idea of somebody, but the reality of it is that they just look good on paper or that they are familiar or that they don’t offer what you need. Another common example I give is shopping-related. Have you ever gone to the mall and saw something that you really liked, perhaps you even tried it on, but you knew that you would not look good in it? The same idea applies here. You love the idea of those jeans, skirt, boyfriend, girlfriend, job, but in reality, it doesn’t suit you. They’re not what you want. You want something else, but you don’t really understand why. How is that this situation seems so good, but I’m still not satisfied? This is the feeling I’m getting at.

I see this whether it is a pair of jeans or a job or a relationship. Especially in the culture of the twenties where young adults find their way, it’s so easy to get caught up in the idea of what something is and what is being sold to you. But see it for the reality that it is. Do you want that corporate job because it looks good to your family and your wife and your friends or do you want it because it fulfills you and brings you joy? Do you want to go to medical school because it would be cool to call yourself “Doctor” or because you get more from it than just a title?

These same ideas apply to the article I posted at the top about about a woman who worked at Google for years before finally quitting. The ubiquity of the problem I have described so far is even echoed in this woman’s post as she says,

“When people ask me what it was like to leave, I liken my experience of leaving Google to breaking up with my college boyfriend. He was brilliant, good looking, respected, and everyone loved him — I even loved him — but he wasn’t the one.”

It doesn’t matter if it’s a job or a relationship, the feeling is still the same. Why do people focus on the frame if it’s not right? For the woman who worked at Google, it was the prestige and safety of it all. Familiarity, money, and titles can’t buy satisfaction and joy. I’m not talking about euphoria or exultation, I’m talking about that lasting feeling of this is where I’m supposed to be and I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m talking about that inherent feeling of this feels right. The feeling that even in the hardest days that you most want to give up, you know there isn’t anything else you’d rather be doing.

In the post, the writer says that when she reflected more, she realized she stayed at google for the external recognition. That became the primary motivator for her. Each time she did something and got recognized for it, she got a kick out of it. This feeling becomes almost like a drug where you honor roll leads to getting into college, which leads to a great job and so on and so forth. You might be saying, what’s wrong with all that though? Nothing if that’s what you love. If you love your job and that relationship, then it’s great that you work hard at it. But if you’re focusing on the way it looks from the outside rather than how you’re living on the inside, then it’s time to re-evaluate where you are.

What do you really want? What do you really value? What do you really want out of life? Think of those things and do those. Be with the kind of person that you want to be with. Do they have the same values as you? Apply this even to a break up. When you break up with someone, why people often get caught up is because they miss what could have been. We miss the idea of what it was or the idea of what it was not. We miss the physicality of it; we miss the companionship. We miss those things that did not last. And that’s ok. We can and should feel that way. It’s natural. Let yourself feel those things. I just ask you that you think about reorienting yourself to the picture itself though and what it actually is or was. Doing what you love and being with who you love will fill you up and that’s more important than fulfilling someone else’s vision of you.

So I ask you to think about this topic today. Do you love what you do or are you doing it for something or someone else?

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Rubin Khoddam, PhD Clinical Psychology student at University of Southern California, founder of Psych Connection.

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12 replies


  1. The Compound Effect: How Your Daily Choices Affect Your Life – Part 1! « Psych Connection
  2. 4 Life Lessons We Could All Learn from Elon Musk « Psych Connection
  3. The Compound Effect: How Your Daily Choices Affect Your Life – Part 2! « Psych Connection
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  9. Why psychology is wrong in the way they think about mental illness… « Psych Connection
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  12. Are You Ready to Change? | Psych Connection

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