Routine. It’s a word that inflicts fear into some and comfort in others. Our current capitalist landscape enforces the value of a routine in all of our daily lives. Working 9-5 for five days a week at a job where you do the same task day in and day out is expected in our current social/political climate.
Even from our basic adolescence, we’re programmed for this very thing. Our current academic landscape enforces these very same concepts of routine, as students spend an eight-hour working day inside doing similar tasks day in and day out.
This isn’t to disparage the value of a routine. Routines help us achieve success in areas that take a lot of work and time, as well as allow us to maintain some sanity by easing up on our daily decisions. But we have to be careful. Routine can easily lead to a false sense of comfort and allow us to fall into a pit of monotony that sucks the life out of us.
It’s easy to lose focus of the bigger picture when you’re just a machine repeating the same actions at the same time day after day. This couldn’t have been any more true for Darryl Elvina. Going by the alias “Entrepreneurs Zen,” Elvina found himself entrenched in the rigmarole of life’s routine. Fortunately for himself and others, he found a way out.
Identifying the parts of our lives that are monotonous and keeping us down can be surprisingly tricky. While there are things we repeat day in and day out, it’s tough to identify the actual value in these acts and how they may or may not be contributing to our lives. This couldn’t be more true for Elvina, who said, “the expectations of me were always on going the traditional route, school, college, degree, engineering job. I always heard, ‘Darryl, what kind of engineer do you want to be when you grow up?’ As if I had no choice like I was destined to be an engineer.”
Elvina is not alone.
For a majority of families across the world, parents want their children to grow up financially stable. As a result, it often leads to parents directing their children towards a specific career direction. Whether it’s something that runs in the family, a loftier career than they may have had, or something in between, parents often guide their children towards lucrative and financially stable careers.
This is altruistic in nature, but it doesn’t address the whole picture. Pushing someone to a lucrative career can quickly lead to monotony and inner turmoil if it doesn’t truly align with the person’s desires and needs.
Elvina had this exact reckoning during his third year at university. “Well, fast forward to studying Nanoengineering at UC San Diego… My third year in, it hit me. I was doing biology research at the UCSD School Of Medicine. Three hours into doing the same thing, day in and day out when it hit me – is this what the rest of my life was going to be like?” Elvina had reached that point. Sure he was in a prestigious program that offered financial security, but the prospect of doing this day after day had become crushing.
This moment of identification happens to a majority of students in their early 20’s, so what happened to Elvina was very natural. It’s how we respond to this recognition that dictates our future happiness. Some choose to settle in and accept this prospective monotony, but others like Elvina did not.
Not Being Afraid of Change
Once Elvina had his reckoning, he decided to make a change. He took a step back and analyzed the things he enjoyed doing. During his free time, Elvina enjoyed books and podcasts on being an entrepreneur. At the same time, he had become aware of online marketing and all the opportunities it offered. As a result, Elvina shifted his focus towards those things and carved out a niche doing copywriting and online marketing. He stuck through his program and graduated, but he quickly was leaving that life behind.
Elvina found himself interested in emotional work, the type of work that promotes inner healing and eliminating unconscious blocks. After this initial interest, a friend introduced Elvina to the Huna Hawaiian Spirituality Workshop. From here, his true calling was revealed. As he put it, “inside all of us is the intersection of what we love doing, what the world needs, what we’re good at, and what we can get paid for.
Focusing on that unlocks boundless energy, intrinsic motivation, fulfillment, and flow – effortless high performance. This is the game of having it all. And I want to spread that to as many entrepreneurs as possible.”
This was it. Elvina had discovered his calling, and before even he realized it, he was a spiritual shaman and life coach for others who were struggling with the same things. This was a future that Elvina had no way of predicting for himself, as he himself has said that he “Definitely did not start out wanting to be a shaman/coach. I just wanted to make progress on my own goals. But sometimes, you just have a calling – and things find you.”
Working hard and having laser focus is important for achieving certain dreams, but more than anything, remaining open to the world around us is how we can truly find inner happiness. From an undergraduate program in nanoengineering to becoming a spiritual shaman, Elvina’s career journey has been far from conventional. However, by remaining open and embracing what the world told him, he was able to find peace and inner fulfillment.
Fear not of unexpected change because sometimes it’s what allows us to truly blossom into the flowers we all have the potential of being.