Countries Are Businesses

When a popular shop changes something about their business unfavorably, its customers have a choice: either 1) be complacent, 2) complain, or 3) find a new shop to go to with more favorable conditions.

In a free world, countries should act the same as businesses. When they start to mismanage, change hours, increase prices, or fall short on the upkeep (i.e. sanitation); some patrons will complain, and some will leave. Citizens of a country are (usually) tax payers, they rely on the services provided by their government, and when the cost of living in that government becomes too great, or the service quality provided by their country goes down too much; the citizens can ignore their frustrations which only allows the problems to fester, they can complain and try to stand up for their right to better services (considering how difficult it is to move… this is perfectly fair), or they can leave and take their tax dollars elsewhere.

In some countries moving to another city, state, or province can solve the problem. Which is good news for those who aren’t allowed to leave their country, or don’t have skills, or other qualifications needed to become welcomed as a citizen of another country.

Some people are not fortunate enough to pack up and move, when they grow tired of conditions in their current homeland they can protest, work with policy makers, and hope things improve, or ignore the problem and learn to deal with it.

But someone who speaks english and has valuable skills such as today with engineering software, mobile, or web applications, this person is literally free to go anywhere in the world. That is how badly engineers are needed in today’s economy. It’s only a matter of time before countries get the message and pay more attention to the customer suggestion box entries. Sadly, these organizations are so big, they tend to get the feedback after the proverbial ship has sailed.

I think the trend of demand for engineers will continue for at least a couple more decades, and with it, countries will be forced to see how they are losing valuable, talented citizens because the country didn’t offer a sweet enough package. Unlike the wealthy elite, engineers can make a good living, but not quite enough to freely do anything they want. They don’t have the luxury of living on a yacht and lobbying politicians, but they do have the luxury to take a job in a another country with better work life balance, culture, and cost of living.

Most Common Regrets of People on Their Deathbed – Reinterpreted

This post documents the findings of a nurse in palliative care; who takes care of patients in the last 3-12 weeks of their life before they pass away. When the patients were asked about their regrets, the 5 things she heard repeatedly were:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Going over them one by one, I think you can easily draw some conclusions about how to live your life better, at least by the advice of those who offered their feedback from the days before theirs would end. Deducting the take away, you can make pro-active rules for yourself. I’ve recapped those here:

1. Have courage to know what you want and live the way you want, not how others expect you to.

This is a challenge for a lot of people, be it from our family, friends, society, or spouse, we feel pressure to live according to others expectations, even when they go agains’t our own personal aspirations. Do what you believe is right for you, it is not always so simple as just heading in the direction your heart tells you, but be clear with the people around you what that direction is, and if you ever feel held back, take note and free yourself from that obstacle.

2. Don’t work so hard. Focus on making time for your self outside of work.

Obvious but illusive; many people love what they do for work, and many people pour themselves into their work, but is it for the expectation of their peers, or for their own satisfaction. I think a lot of the time it’s for the former. I’ve found that the goals of my job, aimed for something I wanted to achieve, but eventually kept me from other things I wanted in life that I couldn’t get through work. Know when your work life balance is out of balance. Make the free time gaps in your work life that can be filled with your hobbies, passions, relationships, and life that you would never achieve through work.

3. Have the courage to express your feelings. Avoid people who don’t accept your true self.

If you can’t tell people how you feel. You will never feel understood. Because no one can understand you when you thoughts are unheard. It’s easy to slip into a life where you feel different from others and don’t see the need or place to share your feelings with them. But this is a habit that grows and grows until it’s normal to not share your feelings. Ultimately no one wins when you do this. People you interact with are being mislead, believing you want something else, and therefore wasting their time on you and supporting interests that aren’t yours. And you are wasting your own time, being with people who don’t understand you, or don’t want to understand you. Just imagine how fulfilling it can be to know the people around you support you and love you for who you are, not some carefully crafted image of the person you think you need to be.

4. Stay in touch with friends.

Perhaps work has something to blame here, perhaps not expressing your feelings does too. It’s easy to lose touch with friends, especially when you start investing your friendships in people from work, or the friends of your spouse rather than your own. In the end we all only have a select group of true friends. They are as important as family and it’s your job to keep them close, even if they aren’t good at it.

5. Let yourself be happier.

Since all of the above issues lead to a life of happiness and fulfillment I think it’s easiest said that if you don’t share your feelings, if you don’t keep your friends close, if you don’t make time for your personal life outside of work, if you don’t have courage to do what you truly want… you won’t be happy. And you aren’t letting yourself be happy. So start doing what you truly want to be doing, make it know how you feel to others around you. Keep your friends close and work, but don’t let it take away from the rest of your life, and have the courage to not work in the name of being happier and more productive when you are working.