Why Most People Aren’t Satisfied with Work & What to Do about It

Ever wondered what you’re supposed to do with your life? Turns out, that’s not such a unique feeling.

A recent Gallup poll revealed that 87% of the global workforce is not engaged with work. In other words, employees are either not motivated or just plain unhappy about their jobs. Most feel like they’re missing out on something more and for one reason or another, they’re day job isn’t it.

To me, that sounds like a problem.

For years, I felt just okay about my job. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. And I struggled to figure out what to do with my life. Did I have a calling? Was I meant to do something? Or was I just not one of the special ones?

Then I had a conversation with a friend where I told him I didn’t have a dream. He didn’t believe me. In fact, he insisted that my dream was to write. And as soon as he said it, I agreed. I wanted to be a writer.

“But Jeff,” my friend Paul said. “You don’t have to want to be a writer. You are a writer. You just need to write.”

Two years later, I quit my job and pursued my dream. And in doing so, I learned a crucial lesson: activity follows identity. Before you can do something with your life, you have to discover who you are.

In writing my latest book, The Art of Work, I interviewed hundreds of people who were doing meaningful work. They all seemed to say the same thing: “I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. It took time to figure it out who I was.” That was a message I could relate to. Here’s what I learned:

Everything is practice. What often feels like a setback or failure is really preparation for what’s to come. Don’t neglect the chance to learn where you are. It’s all preparation for what’s to come.

Discovery is a process, not a moment. Don’t wait until you’re ready. That’ll never come. Act, anyway. Clarity comes with action. Discovery happens in stages.

A calling is not just a job. It spans your whole life. Your magnum opus is really a body of work. You’re not done until you’re dead. So keep creating and learning as you go.

This book began as a manual for how I became a full-time writer, but as I started diving deeper into these stories and interviews, it became something much deeper than that. It was a work that surprised me. The same is true for the process of finding your calling, I suppose.

The thing that we’re searching for that will satisfy our hearts is hidden in a road full of unexpected twists and turns.

For more about this, check out my book, The Art of Work.

Jeff Goins is the author of four books, including The Art of Work. For thoughts on writing and life, you can join his free newsletter.

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