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To truly be happier in life, adopt this mindset

two smiling men in sunglasses

To be happier in life, realize that it’s OK to not give 100%.

Every expert out there will tell you that the only way to get the results you want and to truly be happy is to give 100% to your craft, whatever form that may take. You’re supposed to focus in like a tractor beam on whatever it is that you can’t see yourself living without, put on your blinders, and not looking up until your goals are achieved. This mindset is littered with cliché catchphrases like “go big or go home,” “all in,” and thousands of others that offer some sort of variation of this sentiment.

And while it’s obviously necessary and important to be dedicated on some level to your craft, believing that the only way to “make it” by sacrificing everything else in order to get there creates immense pressure on ourselves to give more than we are sometimes capable of giving. We are human beings with real responsibilities, families, bills, rent, kids, pets and hobbies that sometimes our passions don’t pay for. So until they do, it’s okay to dabble in multiple interests and areas that utilize a variety of our talents and skills.

It’s OK to not give 100% sometimes; they’re called interests, passions, or side hustles for a reason… the things that make you truly happy.

be happier - woman smiling in glasses

Author Elizabeth Gilbert alludes to this idea in her wildly popular speech “The Flight of the Hummingbird: The Curiosity-Driven Life”. Gilbert offers that remaining curious and open to following different interests and paths cultivates a more multi-faceted and fresh perspective to offer to society. The flight of the natural born hummingbird moves from tree to tree, flower to flower – creating rich, cross-pollinated lives, and humans are no different. The more talents and strengths and experiences we accumulate and bring to the table, the more clearly we are able to see the bigger picture, and the more creative lives we will lead.

Curiosity will never strip your life bare. Curiosity will never leave you in ruin. Curiosity will only ever do one thing, which is give.

Curiosity will grow you in ways that tunnel vision cannot and make you a happier person.

So often we see people who are schoolteachers by day, and yoga instructors by night, or accountants during the week who coach T-ball on the weekends. Sometimes our day job isn’t remotely similar to our side hustle, but our side hustle is where our heart lies. So, we pick ourselves up after fulfilling our obligations, and we give what we have, when we can, even if all we have left that week is 30%. But guaranteed that the yoga instructor is integrating her mindfulness practices in the classroom, and that the T-ball coach has a softer approach when dealing with others – the grand cross-pollination of life.

Our interests, talents and gifts are part of us and make us happy for a reason, but sadly some are more lucrative than others.

The trick is finding that happy place where talent and adulting are combined. Giving ourselves permission to dabble in more than one area of interest allows us to be vulnerable enough to receive signs that tell us if we are pursuing the right path or not. 

Multitasking is an acquired skill that can only benefit you in the long run, and learning to balance your interests and hobbies with your obligations and priorities is clearly a necessary component of the side hustle. But being able to integrate them with each other is where the magic happens. Even if you aren’t able to devote 100% of yourself to your craft, allowing yourself to pursue a side hustle cultivates a creative life, which makes you more of an asset to society, and 100% human.

Written by Sarah Mickulesku

Sarah is the founder and curator of AmongtheRoots.com. She received her BA in Journalism from Metro State University and is the author of the children’s book, “The Woodchuck That Could Chuck”. Sarah is a minimalist, rule-breaker, adventure-seeker and non-conformist. She currently lives in Denver where she spends most of her time immersed in the woods with her two children and her dog.

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