In society, from the time we step into this world, we’re in competition with others. Parents are proud of how their kids started to walk earlier than other babies. Kids are rewarded with even tiny competitions at school. We see parents being ambitious about sending their kids to hobbies that they couldn’t get into but forcing their children to embrace them. Teachers are asking what we’re going to do for a living when we don’t even know how to find our home from school and so on.
All of these may be happening to encourage kids to be better at what they do, it also encourages success before happiness.
Although we’re freer to choose what we want to do with our lives in the West, there’s still unconscious programming being played in our heads.
How to encourage happiness before labels
“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius
If I were a kid again, I would want people to ask me what gives me joy rather than pushing me to come up with a job title. What gives me joy? What is my passion?
Even if I always studied what I wanted to study back then, I happened to forget my “why” on the way. And last year, it took me quite a few months of meditation, journaling, crying, feeling stuck to remember my passion. It shouldn’t be this expensive to be connected with ourselves on a deep level.
Schools should encourage creativity to guide students to find their passion
An article shows that numerous psychologists argue that creativity is not just an enrichment or add-on in the classroom (i.e. artistic hobbies). It’s a set of psychological skills that enhance learning and will be necessary for the 21st-century workforce. That’s why we shouldn’t label creative jobs as hobbies only and corporate jobs as the only stable ones to afford a life. Otherwise, someone who deeply desires of taking a step to achieve their dreams but deeply programmed to be afraid of that option suffer in silence in a place they’re not happy.
But it’s not all dark. We’ve been seeing a little change about creative jobs already with social media influencers being popular. Haven’t many of us judged them at the beginning but now we’re looking at them with awe how they turned it into an opportunity for their life? We can also achieve it for other jobs that require creativity too. I see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Ask about happiness and passion
Next time when you meet someone, ask them what they like doing rather than what is their job. I remember someone that I talked to once asking me when I’m getting a promotion. Hello, stranger! What change is that going to make about my personality now?
Instead, ask people what is their passion and what makes the time stop for them. When they talk about their passion even if it’s science fiction books, listen to them closely. The fact that a passion doesn’t result in a job doesn’t make it meaningless.
The answer is always within us
If schools don’t teach us how to find our true Dharma, life purpose, we can achieve that by turning inwards. The answer is never outside us. And Deepak Chopra has a three-step guide to find what fires our hearts.
First, we need to connect with our Self, our spiritual being. We need to find the divinity that is already within us and nurture it.¹ It may be doing things that give you joy or acting in a way that will feed your soul. Maybe it’s saying no to someone?
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Second, we need to define what our unique talents are.² And this was one of the things I was struggling to find. Because schools teach us that talents are usually related to hobbies like playing an instrument, singing, drawing, etc. I didn’t have any of them.
But maybe your unique talent is to love everyone as they’re. Maybe you’re good at expressing yourself or solving problems. Or you have a great talent for managing groups of people. All in all, see talents as more than just an artistic activity.
Third, Chopra believes that we’re here to serve humanity.³ Ask yourself how can I serve? Maybe it’s making someone’s day by providing them good service at your job at the bank. Maybe it’s parenthood. Or it’s guiding someone in their life journey as a teacher. See the source of your action as your divine purpose rather than trying to put a label on it. When we focus too much on the title, our purpose gets blurry, and we worry too much about how others recognize us.
If we want to change programming in society, we need to start the action within ourselves.
Talk more about passion and happiness before asking people what their job title is.
Ask people about what feeds their soul and if they’re happy in life.
If you’re here to plan the next steps in your life, follow the guide from Deepak Chopra. Connect with yourself. Define your talents. Set an intention to serve humanity.
¹ Chopra, Deepak. 2007. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Pocketbook Guide to Fulfilling Your Dreams. CA: Amber-Allen Publishing, Inc.
² Chopra, Deepak. 2007. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Pocketbook Guide to Fulfilling Your Dreams. CA: Amber-Allen Publishing, Inc.
³ Chopra, Deepak. 2007. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Pocketbook Guide to Fulfilling Your Dreams. CA: Amber-Allen Publishing, Inc.