Four years ago, I was working as a system dynamics simulation expert with an international company. I could do my work remotely, received a high salary plus a substantial year-end bonus, we had the Christmas parties in some of the most luxurious hotels in Switzerland, and I had the opportunity have some of the leading experts of the field as my colleagues. There was only one problem; I was not happy or to be honest, something in me was extremely unhappy about what I was doing.
Six months after being hired by the company, my spiritual awakening began by discovering meditation. The more I meditated, the more meaningless my job became. More and more, I believed that a mathematical representation of a system could not be deemed as a basis for making predictions about its future behavior. I believed that there were important intangibles that could not be measured mathematically. My colleagues did not share this view. I found my job soulless.
Every day, I was feeling more demotivated to start work from my home office. I did my best to ignore this by thinking about the high salary I was getting from the company, by reminding myself that I was a non-European Union citizen working in Switzerland, by buying things I did not need, etc. But the protests of my psyche became louder and louder, my digestion system did not work well, and back pain came hunting me down every now and then. I could not go on anymore. I was feeling sick and had to take a leave of absence and go to my home country, Iran, for a vacation.
My trips to Iran are always emotionally intense, happily unpredictable, and profound adventures! They give me chance to reconnect with my family, friends and culture, speak my mother tongue … But much more than this, they give me a chance to share knowledge with, and learn from the people of my homeland, whose genuine enthusiasm and passion for learning brings me much inspiration and joy. That trip was not an exception, I delivered a series of workshops and seminars that were attended by hundreds of people. The picture in this post was taken from one of the workshops that I delivered for participants from different countries gathered in Tehran for an international conference.
After coming back to Switzerland, I kept looking at pictures from my seminars and workshops. I looked at my face, I was happy, I had a high level of energy, the participants looked energetic and inspired as well and I remembered how quickly time passed during the seminars. I made up my mind and went to the headquarters and met the CEO.
“I can’t do this anymore,” I said.
“Why?” asked the CEO.
“When I was in Iran, I did not miss my job, I did not miss my colleagues!” I responded.
Nearly four years after that day, I am almost done with the first draft of my book on the intersection between design, systems thinking and psychology, I am mid-way in the process to become a psychoanalyst at Jung Institute, and I teach a variety of courses in different universities, which are appreciated by the students. Last year, I even started delivering training courses for university professors on “designing effective learning environments”, I have a feeling I am making an impact, and most importantly I am happy. This four-year journey has not been easy, but every day of it has helped me in knowing myself better and in finding meaning in life.
This post is a commemoration of that day and the decision to follow my bliss. Ever since, my Linkedin headline has been: Following my bliss. It is the best description of what I do and what I should be doing for the rest of my life.
Link to my Linkedin profile.
I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. By following your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you.