How is it possible to find fulfillment in life when you’re slogging away at an endless sea of documents at your office computer, or chugging away flipping greasy burgers at McDonald’s?
Newsflash — It isn’t.
These jobs serve as temporary milestones for teens learning how to be responsible or folks in a bad place who need a low brow grind to get a quick leg up on the world.
Unpopular opinion, we shouldn’t settle for 9 to 5 jobs. Even if it pays less, work somewhere that makes you feel alive. And you better forget about choosing a higher paying job that makes you feel like dirt.
Do Something of Value!
Stop following the path of least resistance!
Instead, do something that challenges you. By default, that challenging activity will force you to acknowledge that you are more than the paycheck you receive at the end of the week.
Notice how I said path instead of job. Any job by itself is a tool to be used to attain something of value; be it food, entertainment or a roof over your head. But that’s all it is. It keeps you on your feet, and it might teach you skills you didn’t have before.
Unless you have a passion for what you’re doing and you want to transfer those skills to something else, then it’s just a tool. A way to survive.
Do Your Research
Find a career that makes you feel light on your feet on some days, and painfully insecure on others. When you’re grinding through something hard but meaningful, you aren’t just wading through an endless sea of promotions and demotions.
It isn’t about the corporate climb where more skill and experience means more pay — hardly. When you dive into your career, not a corporate life-sucking job, the journey will become an extension of who you are and what you want with your life.
That’s where the good stuff is. That’s where the pain and the struggles along with success and glory mesh together to create a bright and shiny aperture through which the rest of the world can see you.
When you climb using the ladder you made with your own sweat, blood and tears, the climb will be that much sweeter. You won’t feel cheated, because the only person you had to blame or praise was you!
Don’t Look for Happiness. Look for Meaning
That’s right. Don’t look for the easy jobs.
According to Emily Esfahani Smith, in her article titled, “In 2017, pursue meaning instead of happiness,” “In a survey of over 2 million people in more than 500 jobs by the organization PayScale, those who reported finding the most meaning in their careers were clergy, teachers, and surgeons — difficult jobs that don’t always cultivate happiness in the moment, but that contribute to society and bring those doing them satisfaction.”
That isn’t to say that if you choose happiness, you can’t have a meaningful life, or vice versa. Fulfillment is a kind of happiness that can only be felt when you are contributing to something greater than yourself.
If you want to be happy and fulfilled, it’s going to take hard work. It’s going to take pain. It’s going to take years and years of trial and error. You will only be cheating yourself if you actively avoid failure just because you’re afraid of it.
Don’t Find Your Passion. Cultivate It
According to Ryan Chatterton, author of the article, “The ultimate secret to discovering your passion,” it’s impossible to find your passion, because your passion doesn’t exist outside of you. It exists within you. You must realize it, not find it.
When we were young, we used to be fascinated by everything. Just watching the snow fall or listening to the way the lawnmower revved was enough to pique our curiosity. To find a career we love, Chatterton explained that we must dive into the adult world with this same sense of wonder.
He further goes on to explain, “This is where most of us get stuck, because we’re afraid to pick something “wrong.” But remember what Newport, [computer scientist and author of the book, Deep work], said: “There is no special passion waiting for you to discover.”
There isn’t a wrong choice because there isn’t a right choice, either.
Pick an interest and roll with it.
Don’t just just go in with all the force of fire and brimstone for a short period of time and then give up because it was just too hard. Nothing worth fighting for is easy. Some career paths take decades, and others may only take a few years to get a good grip of, but every single successful entrepreneur will say this:
Sometimes you will lose motivation. Sometimes you will wonder why you are even doing this in the first place, but the time and sweat you invest into this career, no matter what it is, will determine how successful you are in it.
When you fight through the confusion, failures, and struggles, the love you have for whatever you’re doing will grow. Put the time and effort in. It’s worth it.
Hence, Cal Newport’s equation:
(Curiosity + Engagement) x Time = Passion