I turned to my mate and said, ‘I’d be happy selling pineapples’.
And he burst out laughing at me thinking I was some kind of moron.
You see I was at one the best schools in the country where medicine, law and finance were the main career paths for us, so educating us to sell pineapples wasn’t exactly on the agenda.
REFLECTING ON YOUR STORIES
It’s pretty funny the stories you remember and this story dates back over 20 years to when I was about 16. But it’s always stuck with me for some reason.
In part I said it because I was pretty lazy at the time, so spending all day on the beach selling pineapples seemed like a pretty nice way to earn a living.
But having taking the time to reflect on it all these years later, I know I was trying to make a point that I couldn’t quite grasp and connect with at the time.
And the point I was trying to make was that I didn’t need a career or ‘success’ to make me happy. That my happiness wasn’t dependent on what job I did or what I achieved with my life.
That I could be happy even if I was selling pineapples on the beach.
THE LESSONS I’VE LEARNT ABOUT HAPPINESS
One of the lessons I’ve learnt over the years is that being happy isn’t attached to the traditional idea of ‘success’.
True happiness is an inside job where you can be happy with life no matter where you’re at.
Whether that’s earning minimum wage, a six-figure salary or more.
Of course a job can be a really positive thing – besides the money and prestige.
It can bring you joy, happiness and fulfilment. It can give you a sense of purpose and satisfaction and a whole raft of other positive things.
I know because I spent 15 years in a career and there were certainly some really great moments.
But I’ve been guilty of attaching my happiness to the work I do, which often lead to me feeling discontent.
But a job doesn’t have to define you, it’s just a part of you. Something you do and you don’t need your job to make you happy or content in life.
Because while it’s important to make sure you have the basics covered. You can still be happy, be content, when you don’t have a lot.
And despite your ego telling you that the job you do matters. It doesn’t.
And I know because I’ve experienced this twice in my life when I’ve gone from ‘successful’ career to minimum wage.
The first time was when I went from producing a primetime TV show to delivering meat. My ego took a real big hit and at times I felt embarrassed.
And the second was 10 years later when I went from earning a six-figure salary producing some of the biggest TV shows in Australia to serving beer at the local pub.
And once again me and my ego came face to face.
I judged myself and I feared the judgment of others.
But you know what, I don’t think anyone really gave a shit about what job I was doing except me.
And despite my ego not being a fan. I loved both those jobs. I was really happy doing both of them.
A CHANGE IN PERSPECTIVE
And that second experience – working at the pub – proved to be a real pivotal moment for me.
Because despite the HUGE drop in salary and the battle with my ego, I can probably say that I was the happiest and most content I’ve ever been in my life.
Because I just accepted the circumstances. It wasn’t the job I wanted to be doing, but working in a pub was great fun. I worked with awesome people and it was a 10 minute walk from my house.
And having just moved back to London after living in Sydney for 7 years, I got to spend time with my friends and family who I’d previously only see once a year.
Being with the people you love is priceless.
So moving back to London didn’t work out the way I wanted.
I didn’t get the job I wanted.
Or earn anywhere near the sort of money I was used to earning.
But it showed me once again that once the basics are covered, I could be happy without the big salary job.
That spending time with the people you love is probably the most important thing in life.
And that when a plan doesn’t work out, focusing on all the good in your life can change your perspective.
So if you’re selling pineapples.
Or delivering meat.
You can still be happy.