Reflecting back on 2017 I realise that I spent more than the usual amount of time last year counselling others about their working lives … which I find kind of amusing given how fragile my own “career” as an entrepreneur has been, and how much financial insecurity I’ve had to endure along the way … and still today. I wrote a book about all that. Check out General Thinker HERE.
The recipients of my nasal ramblings have included: school leavers navigating their tertiary education options, unhappy millennials seeking fulfilment, retrenched baby boomers pondering their freelance futures, and so on …
In general terms my advice has consistently been to START … and then just be a SEEKER.
… by taking on some work, ANY work … it hardly matters what work
… by embarking on those studies that excite you
… by quitting the thing that is making you miserable
Develop a bias for ACTION.
SEEKING implies that you know what you’re looking for. It requires a certain amount of self knowledge … and that is something that develops with age and experience.
Sometimes a diagram can help. My own Love Work Money diagram from 2002 is a long-time favourite.
There’s what you LOVE to do. There’s what you’re objectively GOOD at. And finally, there’s what will enable you to earn enough MONEY to live. My feeling then (and still now) is that if you’re not already in the place of equilibrium where the three circles intersect, then you should be heading there with all due haste … but from the direction as indicated. Start with PASSION … life being too short to waste time doing work that doesn’t bring JOY … to yourself and others.
And this year I became aware of a similar diagram that adds an important extra dimension of PURPOSE. It refers to the Japanese concept of ikigai … meaning “a reason for being.”
Everyone, according to Japanese culture, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. Such a search is important to the cultural belief that discovering one’s ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life.
All well and good; but the missing doodle is the one that explains HOW to go about finding the centre of these diagrams … finding one’s ikigai.
So I decided to spend the last few days of 2017 thinking about that missing doodle … and what I’ve come up with is this.
Each numbered state is better than the one with a lower number. All roads lead to ikigai (5) … and all that is required to get there is the action to START (red arrow), SEEK (see above) … and CHANGE when a perceived upgrade presents itself.
SEEK and ye shall FIND.