“[…] if you don’t love it, if you’re not having fun doing it, you’re gonna give up. […] The ones that were successful loved what they did so they could persevere when it got really tough and the ones that didn’t love it quit.” — Steve Job
1/3 of your life will be spent at work: Working, working, working.
Why? Do we work so that we can buy pleasures when we have time off? Do we work because we, as humans, always strived for survival and a perpetual evolution? Or do we work to have a meaning, a purpose in our live?
In 2014, Deloitte released a report that found that 88% of employees don’t have passion at work, and so they don’t contribute their full potential. Most individuals do their job in order to make a living, and they are certainly not passionate about it. People are constantly pushing themselves into the routine. Waiting for the weekend to escape work and desperately delaying the Monday’s “Driiinng Driiinng” sound that tell them that they will have to do the same things that they don’t really like over and over again. Fortunately, with enough commitment, hard work and patience, we all can find a way to really enjoy this lovely sound of the Monday’s morning that wakes us.
In spite of the fact that we may all already asked ourselves “if we really see us happy in 5 year in the same career” or even “if we can find a way to work less for more”, we can’t escape the fact that we will be working for the most of our lives. So why not do it with love and passion ?
It’s a long journey.
Usually, life gives you 4 different career paths.
The path of love: “I like drawing, I love shoot photos and film, I must become an artist.”
The path of simplicity: “I am good at cooking, I think I should become a Chief or I should work in a restaurant. I know that I’m good at it, so it will be simple, right?”
The path of wealth: “Okay, well, AI computer science got a really promising future and I think I should go into this direction because everyone knows it, we need money to live and survive!”
The path of meaning: “My life and work must be meaningful, not only for me, but to others as well. I think I should become a Doctor, a researcher… I absolutely need to be useful to others.”
You certainly already end up into one of these paths at a certain point in your life, asking yourself “What I am going to do?”, “What’s my goal?”
The system often lock you into this model, this model of having to choose ONLY ONE of those paths. On the one hand, the “path of wealth and the path of simplicity” is often the voice of one of your parents or family members that wants to take care of you. Someone that wants you to succeed, that wants to protect you from harm, fear and dangerous paths. So they advise you to do things that pay well.
On the other hand, we have school, a place that haven’t changed since its invention in 1881. Schools were made to train people to have a lifetime of productive labor as part of the industrialised economy. School do not train people to take decisions, overcome fear and, of course, pursuit dreams. Do school teach you how to be a leader ? How to find your “reason of being”? How to know when you can break rules ? Obviously, No.
Here is some meaningful comments on the “school subject” from one of my source: How To Find and Do Work That You Love (Ikigai) — The Futur
“I Think the world needs to rethink education. Information is already there for all of us for free through the internet, so I think Education should be focused in empowering thinking instead of memorizing information.” — Kurodah Yokazahuchi
“Graduates 10 years ago, still don’t know what to do…” — Julia Zanko
“[…] There are loads of people that are old and never figured out their reason for being. Redesigning your life can happen any stage in your life.” — Kwan Mah
“The education system doesn’t teach kids how to critically think on their own it just tells us what to think plainly spelled out for us. The only kids that exercise that line of thinking are the kids who are naturally good at it, the kids who decide to work on it themselves, and the kids whose parents teach them. It also teaches kids to not stray too far out of the box. The school system punishes kids for trying to learn more at their own rate. I’m not seeing this stuff being changed any time soon but I wish it would.” — O K
All this to say that we end up stuck. Stuck to choose a job that will pay well and that we are not excited about. Stuck to choose the path of simplicity because schools have stolen ours dreams. Or even stuck because we don’t really know where to go next. It’s an endless loop.
The good news is…
Let’s step back into history, the generation of my parents and my grand-parents was just about going to work, doing their nine-to-five and living for the weekend when they had the chance to escape from work (I’m obviously not speaking for everyone there, but it’s a common thing for those generations). We tend to be in a different era now, and the things that you love and that you are good at should also be the things that you are paid for.
Our generation is typically very independent and different from our parents’ and grand-parents’ generation. We are more spontaneous, we tend to be more socially conscious (We care more about the world around us) and we want to make an impact, both personally and professionally.
We want to find a purpose, a mission, a goal to our life and a work to escape as much as possible this nine-to-five job. We are not afraid anymore, as juniors, to quit our job after 2 months without any safe plans and backups. WE take MORE risks, but it’s a great thing for our own fulfillment, happiness, and wellbeing. So we might be on the right path, the one where this endless loop end.
So what is the right path ?
If you really want to fly, harness your power to your passion. Honour your calling. Everybody has one. — Oprah Winfrey
So there is a point is life, well, if you care enough about your job, fulfillment, and happiness at work, where you will find this intersection between love, meaning, skill and money. It might be a complete different career that your current one, but you will have found your inner peace to the question: “What’s the meaning of life?”… or at least “What’s MY meaning of life?”. The sooner you will find that point, the better your life will be.
If you are still reading this article, and you feel concerned about all this, I highly recommend you to watch this video after you finished this article.
How to find this ‘Golden path’ ?
What did you like to do when you were a child ?
Take a few minutes to think about that.
What do you currently do ? Do this path brings you fulfillment and happiness ? What if there is an alternative to that ?
To answers these questions, and to be sure to take the right decisions, you have to try things, you have to let your mind wanders and not be afraid to put your hands into different cookies jars to find what you are looking for. It’s part of the learning process to figure out what you are good at and what you like to do. And like I said, find the point where each of those paths intersect.
I said that most parents tell their children to take the path of simplicity, the safest path to a job. Indeed, it was often the right thing to do in their generation, but they also give their children confidence, strength and the ability to not be afraid to get up after they fall. Every parent and/or teacher should be able to put enough pressure on theirs shoulders, encouraging their children to do theirs best without giving up on dreaming. Your life is, after all, your life. You and only you have the right to choose what to do with it, not your parents’, teachers’ or the system’s.
Today, I’m not your guide, nor your teacher. I can’t affirm you and say confidently : “I found myself”, “I found my reason for being”. I’m just here to expose some thoughts, some facts, that were important enough to my eyes. Maybe it can help you into this journey.
Personally, I liked to draw and create stories when I was a kid (path of love), I’m good at web development and I can make ‘money’ out of it (path of simplicity and wealth). I know that in a way, I need to have some kind of purpose with my job, so maybe Ican teach and help people? Having a job to that will have an impact on someone’s else life. (path of meaning).
The answer is: I don’t know. I don’t know yet. The only thing that I’m sure of is that my professional fulfillment is somewhere right into the middle of all this.
“It can take a decade or a life time to find what you are looking for, The only rule is to not give up.”
“This work is not a job, it’s an occupation, a calling, a dream to be able to do this work…” — Dr. Joseph Betancourt
Passion is passion. What does happen when you are in a passionate relationship with someone ?
You become attached to this person, you want to spend more time with her/him, and you have higher expectations and feelings about this union, so you can suffer similarly with a job that is also your passion. You want to spend much time at work, you except yourself to deliver a great work, and you are always pushing your own limits and boundaries to make this relationship with your work even better. This can bring you to burn-out, feeling lost in your personal life… so it’s important to find a healthy balance and relationship between those two. I’m not saying that spending 80 hours a week working is a bad thing, on the contrary, I just want to say “Congrats”, because if you enjoy it, and you feel fulfilled, you might have found your path. Just keep in mind that if you start feeling some lack of motivation, or you become tired, please take a break. Resting is not a synonym of laziness or weakness.
I wish you a great journey and I hope you will end up finding that balance and your inner calling.
Steve Job D5 Conference
How To Find and Do Work That You Love (Ikigai) — The Futur
1/3 of your life will be spent at work
Deloitte 2014 report
Being Passionate About Your Work Doesn’t Always Mean Being Happy With Your Work
“Do work you’re passionate about, do work that works towards your strenghts…” — interviewing Dr. Joseph Betancourt