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About Me

About Me

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Hi, I’m Elaina and I want to help you live life on your terms, find a career you love, and travel as often as you want. These are the best years of your life and you deserve to be FREE! 

 

I’ve lived, worked, and traveled to more than 60 countries, including some pretty off-the-beaten path destinations like Mongolia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Paraguay. I lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for 5.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York in 2013. You can read my full story here. I’m now living my dream, settled in Bali, Indonesia, fully independent and working happily on projects that support my deepest passion! 

 

What makes my story unique is that I’ve traveled AND built a professional career, working for companies like IBM and Uber over the years. I’ve also spent long stretches of time freelancing and traveling adventurously through South America, Asia, and Africa. I now make my living helping others break out of ordinary living and get clear on their mission in life. I get paid to help people MANIFEST THEIR DREAMS like I did — how cool is that?  

 

I write about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There’s simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love. I’ve always done things a bit differently and I think there are SO many feasible ways for people to live “off the beaten path”. I hope my blog lets you see what’s both possible and practical.  

 

I started this blog because I want to help you find an exciting career, travel the world, break the norms, and develop yourself both personally and professionally. Drop me a line at elaina@lifebefore30.com or apply to work with me directly! 

Is This Addiction Preventing You from Discovering Your True Calling? Thoughts on the Relationship between Education and Accomplishment

Posted on March 7th, 2016

I recently spent 10 days in silence in India, studying Vipassana meditation. And let me tell you, there’s nothing like 120 hours inside your own head to start seeing the world from an entirely new perspective.

In Vipassana, we observe our bodily sensations with an equanimous mind, teaching ourselves not to entertain feelings of craving or aversion, which are the default settings of reactionary human behavior. Because every experience in our lives creates sensations, we essentially live in a constant state of craving pleasant sensations or hating unpleasant ones, a road never leading to peace, compassion, and enlightenment — unless we use meditation to reprogram our mind-body relationship.

Like everything in my life, meditation was, at first, a game: I wanted to be good at it. I wanted to “win.” When my mind was quiet, I was so pleased with myself. When my mind was a hurricane and I couldn’t sit still for more than ten minutes, I felt miserable.

While of course completely counterproductive to the higher goals of meditation, it’s just what I had been doing my whole life: winning, performing, being good at stuff. Being good leads to being recognized and admired, and society has taught me that this is important. Being good also generates pleasant sensations and my mind begins to crave those sensations, so it does whatever it takes to be good at anything to experience those sensations — sort of like a drug addict.

And so I began to think about my education. I realized that whether it’s a conscious or unconscious byproduct, school presents us with hoop after hoop to jump through. If we make it through the history hoop, we get an A, and we feel good. We like feeling good, so we want to do it again. If we make it through the Spanish hoop, we get another A, and we feel good. Eventually, we lose sight of what we are doing and learning and will do anything as long as we can be good at it. (How much European history do you actually remember from high school? Probably not much if you got an A. I’m guessing you were too busy being good at it to actually digest the information.)

We become addicts to the feeling of accomplishment, and ignorant of the medium we use to get it. We never learn to exercise the discernment of thinking, “Should I be good at this? Or should I be good at something else? I can’t be good at everything, that’s not natural. I will have my natural gifts and my natural difficulties. Isn’t there value in failing in some areas?”

This whole methodology of rewarding the over-achiever, the straight A student, the student who never reveals (or never actually understands) his natural gifts and natural difficulties, although probably not intentional, is very convenient for preparing a obedient workforce. There’s no time to ask what’s right or to question the dimensions of participation, only the lurking incentive of continuously being good at something, being rewarded and experiencing those pleasant sensations of accomplishment. In this way, we never discover our true gifts because we had to be good at everything. We never fail and learn to be okay with it. We just follow the carrot and the paycheck.

I’m not calling for an overhaul of the mainstream education system or offering any practical solution to this challenge. I’m simply sharing what I’ve observed about my own educational experience and that of many of my twenty-something peers. And I’m calling us to recognize how this phenomena of “being good at stuff” influences our lives, goals, and intentions in the world.

Are you on a path right now simply because you’re good at it? Are you addicted to the feeling of accomplishment and this is the path of least resistance to achieving it? Are you unaware of your natural talents and passions? It could be because you were good (enough) at everything. You jumped through all the hoops. You enjoyed the recognition, the admiration from parents, educators, peers, and society. But perhaps now you’re lost. And you’re not alone.

Observing this is the first, critically important step. Break your addiction to accomplishment for accomplishment’s sake. Get on your path of true purpose and don’t get distracted. Don’t “perform” your way through life, and don’t do things for the sake of recognition. Do things because they resonate with your gifts and values. Do things because they allow you to fall flat on your face and not care. Do thing because you’ve thought deeply and independently about them. Do things because they allow you to share, love, and grow.

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About Me

About Me

IMG_5937

Hi, I’m Elaina and I want to help you live life on your terms, find a career you love, and travel as often as you want. These are the best years of your life and you deserve to be FREE! 

 

I’ve lived, worked, and traveled to more than 60 countries, including some pretty off-the-beaten path destinations like Mongolia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Paraguay. I lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for 5.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York in 2013. You can read my full story here. I’m now living my dream, settled in Bali, Indonesia, fully independent and working happily on projects that support my deepest passion! 

 

What makes my story unique is that I’ve traveled AND built a professional career, working for companies like IBM and Uber over the years. I’ve also spent long stretches of time freelancing and traveling adventurously through South America, Asia, and Africa. I now make my living helping others break out of ordinary living and get clear on their mission in life. I get paid to help people MANIFEST THEIR DREAMS like I did — how cool is that?  

 

I write about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There’s simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love. I’ve always done things a bit differently and I think there are SO many feasible ways for people to live “off the beaten path”. I hope my blog lets you see what’s both possible and practical.  

 

I started this blog because I want to help you find an exciting career, travel the world, break the norms, and develop yourself both personally and professionally. Drop me a line at elaina@lifebefore30.com or apply to work with me directly! 

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I’m sure there’s a reason you landed here. Maybe we’re meant to work together and your whole life is about to flip upside down… That tends to happen with my clients as they transform from the inside out.

 

I work with extraordinary, brave, and self-inquiring souls who are ready to do the inner work required to launch them into the next huge chapter of their life. I work with people who are willing and ready to wake up and become more alive and aligned than ever before! 

 

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Currently in: Bali

 

Previously in: India

What’s Hot

Recent Posts

Coaching

Coaching

Hey friend, thanks for finding me!

 

I’m sure there’s a reason you landed here. Maybe we’re meant to work together and your whole life is about to flip upside down… That tends to happen with my clients as they transform from the inside out.

 

I work with extraordinary, brave, and self-inquiring souls who are ready to do the inner work required to launch them into the next huge chapter of their life. I work with people who are willing and ready to wake up and become more alive and aligned than ever before! 

 

Does any of this sound like you?

  • Successful on paper but not fulfilled inside
  • Feeling like you’re working so hard but not getting anywhere
  • Knowing you’re destined to do

Read more

Like Me on Facebook

Follow me on twitter

Follow me on twitter

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Elaina on Instagram

Please enter an Access Token on the Instagram Feed plugin Settings page.