“Love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” You’ve probably heard this quote before, but it never meant anything to you because you don’t really like your job, and you don’t understand how anyone can. Work is work, after all — that’s the point. It’s supposed to be something that pays the bills and, while it’s not particularly pleasant, life is what happens outside of the office…right?
It turns out that the nose-to-the-grindstone mentality isn’t the best one to have when it comes to your career, your life. You spend almost a quarter of every week at work — and that’s if you only work 40 hours — so it really should be something you enjoy doing.
There’s no better time than now to pursue your passion. Here are seven reasons why you should chase your dreams:
1. You’ll Live Longer
The pit of despair you feel in your stomach every Sunday night before the workweek starts isn’t just a normal feeling — it’s stress. When you don’t like your job, you won’t look forward to Monday morning, when you have to return to the office, the shop, the classroom or the restaurant. Wherever you’re working is not the place for you if it’s causing you to feel anxiety and despair.
Studies have shown reducing stress can be key to extending your life. That’s because stress exacerbates so many health conditions: heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems and asthma, all worsen due to stress. Accelerating any of these conditions is never going to have a happy outcome, so it’s time to find a less stressful place to work.
2. Your Mental Health will Improve
Stress doesn’t just have a physical effect — it has a mental effect too. Too much stress can lead you to feel depressed, overwhelmed, nervous, anxious or restless—all sentiments you can reduce or erase by switching to a career path that’s better suited to your strengths and interests.
Those who have left imperfect jobs behind have been able to get a handle on their mental health, whether they suffer from depression, stress or even bipolar disorder. In fact, Author, Speaker and Activist Melody Moezzi, who suffers from bipolar disorder, says there’s a positive outcome to mental health diagnoses. In fact, she claims, a diagnosis can help you let go of negativity and pursue what you want in life.
If your job is a stressor, it might be time to leave it behind in favor of something better for you.
3. You’ll Have Fewer Regrets
You’re not the first person who thought it was best to just hang onto a job, any job. It may pay the bills, or it may seem irresponsible or impossible to change course now. However, those before you who have done the same are quick to say they regretted that choice.
Speak to older friends or family members who worked hard at the same job for years. They likely have stories of career dreams they were never able to pursue. Alternatively, you probably have another family member or friend who has completely changed gears, gone back to school or otherwise found a way to skip the 9-to-5 grind. He or she can tell you how great it feels to do what you really want — and that might inspire you to chase your dreams too.
4. You’ll Be Better at Your Job
Even if you’re good at the job you have now, you’ll be even better when you pursue your passion. Why? Because you’ll be in an environment centered on your strengths and your interests. You’ll probably feel more creative and be able to contribute more to the team with fresh ideas and new ways of looking at things.
You’ll also be able to deal with the occasional boring assignment. Even if it’s boring, it’s still part of your dream job, so you might not even notice just how much of a lull it is. Not every job is perfect all the time. After all, by enjoying what you have, you can focus less on what’s dull and revel in what’s good instead.
5. You’ll Work Harder
Again, passion will be the driving force in your new career. No longer will you have to push yourself to find inspiration to work late or take on additional projects. Instead, you’ll be champing at the bit to take on new tasks that challenge you, but also make you feel more accomplished when you’re finished.
To that end, you’ll be able to overcome workplace obstacles much more effectively. No matter what speed bump you hit, it’ll barely slow you down because you want to work and do well. You’ll be surprised at how much passion alone can fuel you to overcome.
6. You’ll Build a Bigger Network
If you don’t like your job, you’re probably not creating a full contact list and tapping them for career opportunities in the same field. Instead, you put in the bare minimum at work, and then head home. You can say goodbye to this network of one once you’re working in your dream job.
Once you decide to switch careers, you can kick your networking into high gear to find the right position. And, once you get your first job in the field, you’ll be sure to pick up even more contacts to work with along the way. Your passion will attract people to you and make them want to work with you. As you extend and strengthen your network, more opportunities will fall into your lap, all because you impressed others with your passion.
7. You’ll Be the Happiest Version of You
You only get one life to live, and you don’t want to look back on it with regrets. We already touched on career regret, and how you should avoid that if you can. However, switching jobs will help you avoid personal regret for the lack of motivation, cheerfulness and gusto you show in life.
How does dislike of your job affect your personal relationships? Do you shun social activities because you’re so stressed after work? Do you avoid your kids after work because you need peace? Do you take your frustrations out on those closest to you? These are all human reactions, and you’re not the first to have them. You can be, however, one of the ones who changes them.
By chasing your dreams and finding that passion and drive, you will be happier in all aspects of life. Your workplace attitude will improve, and you’ll be happier outside of the office. All in all, pursuing your passion can be the start of a seriously spectacular life that’s joyful in all realms.
About Jennifer Landis
Jennifer Landis is a mom, wife, writer, and blogger at Mindfulness Mama. She enjoys drinking tea, dark chocolate, and rainy day snuggles with her daughter. She enjoys sunny days, too, but finds they are less conducive for snuggles. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.
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