WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY LIFE? HOW DO I FIND MY PURPOSE? a simple concept for answering complicated questions
The average person will spend at least a third of their life at work.
If you do a job you hate that pays you well, you will be happy 12 days a year (on your pay days).
Above roughly £40,000 a year, the amount you earn will have little effect on your happiness. (Source: Barking Up The Wrong Tree).
That is why it is so important to find a job you love. Or at the very least, one you like.
The Japanese have a concept called ‘Ikigai’.
It translates roughly into English as ‘the reason you get up in the morning’.
Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self.
You may have no idea what you want to do.
Equally, you may be focused on a particular job with laser-precision.
Either way, before you embark on your unique journey, realise that the to really reap the rewards of a given profession usually takes 5–10 years of focused hard work.
A decision to pursue a career should come with a higher purpose. One that is the contribution you want to make in the world.
This can be something small. Like making people laugh, or feel attractive in stylish clothes you’ve designed, or something bigger, like feeding the hungry or housing the homeless.
The best bit is, there is very little creativity cannot do. So almost anything is achievable.
But getting a creative job is hard. Largely because so many people want them. It’s simple economics. Demand is high, so supply is low.
As a result, you have to want to do it for reasons bigger than wanting to earn lots of money or work in a job that your friends think is cool.
It is going to take at least 10,000 hours of focused practice to get great at your desired profession. So you have to have an intrinsic love for it.
As Steve Jobs once said:
You have to work so hard, for so long, for so little, that you have to love what you do, otherwise you’ll give up, and you will give up, because you’re a sane human being. You’d literally have to be insane to work so hard, for so little, for so long, for something you don’t really care about.
Take your time to go through the exercise below and be honest with yourself.
Step one. Draw a circle and inside of it, write a list of 10 things you love doing.
Next, draw another circle that intersects the first circle, like a Venn Diagram. Inside of it, write a list of 10 things you think you are good at, or could be good at.
Next, draw a third circle that intersects the first two. Inside of it, write a list of 10 things you think someone, somewhere would pay you to do.
Finally, draw a fourth circle that intersects the first three. Inside of it, write a list of 10 things you think the world needs.
Where circle one and two overlap is where possible passions lay.
Where circle two and three overlap is where possible professions lay.
Where circle three and four overlap is where possible vocations lay.
Where circle four and one overlap is where possible missions (in life) lay.
But here is the clever bit. Where all four circles intersect is potentially where your ‘Ikigai’ lays.
Try to find something that fits every single circle. There is no guarantee this exercise can help you find your purpose (that requires a grand and lengthy search of self. But it can at least point you in the right direction.)
Do you have a job or career in mind? Does it fit all four of those circles?
If you think you have found something that fits these criteria:
-You can be happy doing a job that you love.
-You are or you could be good at it.
-Someone will pay you an amount you are happy with to do it.
-You can give the world something it needs.
-You are willing to make a massive commitment to getting the job.
Then you may be onto something. The only thing you are missing is the knowledge.