This I Believe

Matthew - Poland, Ohio
Entered on August 31, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

This I Believe: To Be Happy You Must Live Your Life How You Want To, Not How You Are Told To

I believe that people should strive to live their own lives as they wish, and not as others tell them to.

The entire part of my life that I can remember, some person I have known, whether it be a family member, friend or just an acquaintance, has been telling me how to live my life so that I will grow up to be happy and successful. All these years I have been living by these pieces of information and advice passed down to me by those who have already gone through it all. Things like, “Make sure you bring home all A’s,” “Doing well today is the key to a successful tomorrow,” and, “If you want to be happy later in life you have to go to a good college and get a good job.” All this advice has brought me to be the up-tight, has to get all A’s person I am today.

Recently, however, I have come to realize that all the advice that I have been given and have followed for my entire life may not lead me to my ultimate goals in life. I began to think that even though I might become a very financially successful person, it might not be enough for me to be truly happy with myself. That in fact all this advice might lead me into a field in which I have no interest or passion. Thus creating the ultimate dilemma which a very large number of adults face today, is success worth sacrificing happiness?

A wide variety of answers to this question have been presented to me by many people in many ways. Some have said yes that the sacrifice is worth it because success will eventually make a person happy. They said, “Don’t worry about being happy during your job, because if you’re successful now you will be even happier after you retire.” Others have told me that a person can not live a life that they do not choose. They say that one should not live a life that another person has told them live, but instead do what they love and do it for themselves.

Having contemplated these two different perspectives, I have started to believe that the only way to truly be happy is to live your life as you want to live it. That it is not worth the success if a person hates the job they do to obtain that success. If a person is happy with their life, then in their own way they are successful, even though it might not be a financial success.

I believe that a person should always live their life as they wish, and not to do things to make others happy or because others told them too. As long as people are happy with what they are doing, then they are living their lives the right way.