Figuring out how to make a living doing something worthwhile is a challenge many of us face. How to do it? We’ve been taught to follow the rules. We think doing that will bring us lasting success and happiness. But we’ve got it wrong.
Following the rules misses something very important, what we actually want. Many of us have no idea. To figure it out start by getting to know yourself. Your deepest self is the only part of you that can answer that question. Few of us experience a powerful pull to a single career, but still, believe it’s the answer. Why should we choose a single career path from youth to retirement?
To find your answer let go of your assumptions, and look for work that will be satisfying as well as lucrative. It’s naive to think that money is unimportant. But, it isn’t the only thing that matters. Explore how survival consciousness affects you by looking at when you’re being too practical, limiting your options by valuing economic benefits over fulfillment.
Embrace your confusion as a gift. Explore options you’ve been taught aren’t realistic. Understand what’s valuable to you. Pursue things that still make sense and let go of everything else. Your values, the things that are most important to you, are your guide.
With values in mind, consider what you’re passionate about. Don’t judge yourself for what you discover. Very few of us have been taught to dig deep and accept what we find. But, it’s the only path to happiness.
By the time we’re adults a lot of the things that drove us when we were younger have been set aside in favor of more practical options. Your passions can often be found in your teen years, or even childhood. Rebellion is about inner passions that were squashed by your family or education. Embrace the passions of your youth from a more balanced, mature perspective.
With the inner noise out of the way, it’s time to consider your relationship to what you do. A job that’s a means to a greater end is a valid option. It lets you pay the bills while you pursue other interests. If you discover a calling, great. Then you can start to passionately pursue that goal.
I like the Sanskrit word dharma when looking at all this. It implies a direction rather than a specific goal. It can embrace anything or many things. It leaves room for you to grow and evolve. Having many careers will likely become the norm as we live longer. You may be meant to explore a number of different avenues, perhaps even at once. It’s about you and the learning and growth you gain through experiencing life.
Instead of allowing your uncertainty to make you feel inadequate, use it as a springboard to find your unique path to a career, or careers, that will be engaging and serve you for the rest of your life.