In times of mindfulness and our common wish to do meaningful work we are getting in the mode of thinking more about the reason behind things. While we typically grew up with accepting circumstances and working with them as they are, we get more and more to the point that we want to be sure about the ‘how’ and ‘why’.
This movement results from the fact that many people seem to be unhappy, maybe even depressed, even if there doesn’t seem to be any obvious reason. Complaining is allowed and accepted in our times. Different than in earlier days we are not just glad to have an income, food and a warm place to sleep. We expect everything to be perfect. If that is not the case, we are unhappy and try to change things. And if we don’t succeed in that immediately we become impatient and sometimes even discouraged.
“How do we define the perfection
we are looking for?”
First of all it is hard for us to find out what perfection actually is. We seem to have a certain imagination, but once we reached our goal we often realize that it doesn’t really make us happy. Our imagination of a perfect life is highly influenced by what media and society tells us. It might work for some people, but certainly not for everyone. Actually it’s pretty simple: Our parents all had a certain idea about our future career and achievements, but most probably not all of us have been agreeing to that. We found our own way according to our interests and what we think is important. So we seem to be able to rebel against our parents but not necessarily against what media is pretending to be the perfect life and the highest achievement of human beings. Not everyone has the need to be rich, beautiful, successful in professional and private life as well as everlasting young. While trying to achieve all that many people become frustrated and depressed. They either realize that they will fail in achieving these challenging goals or they find out that having a ‘perfect life’ doesn’t make them happy. And then what?
According to modern marketing insights, we should not only talk about what we are able to do and how, but we should focus to talk about the ‘why’. The reasoning behind new products or services is the most important factor for potential buyers, we learned. So why not adapting this thought to our personal search for fulfillment and satisfaction?
“Finding the personal ‘why’
might be the first step to fulfillment…”
In today’s world we have have hundreds of choices. We don’t really know restrictions anymore. Everything is possible – immediately. This provides us with an unmanageable amount of options and possibilities. No wonder young people find it extremely hard to determine what they are going to do in terms of studies, internships, first jobs, even hobbies. When everything is possible you need to find a way to narrow down your choices. While you might not yet know what you really like and you can’t just try everything that seems interesting, another way of selecting has to be found.
Wondering about the ‘why’ might be a good exercise – not only for young professionals but also for those who are trying to find a different career path or a meaningful occupation. Finding the ‘why’ is going deeper than only the need of earning one’s living. The ‘why’ is very personal. Every individual probably has a different reason for doing what he/she does. Many people just took the first attractive job they could get and developed from there. Often enough they find themselves in a position or industry years later, that they really don’t feel a lot for. They do it, because they have the experience and the knowledge gained by years of service in this function. But are they really convinced and totally dedicated to what they do? Probably not. So starting with the question about the reason of wanting to do things and combining this with topics that really matter to a person seems to be the right starting point.
It is a journey in order to get to know ourselves in a better way. It is about digging deep without necessarily thinking about a concrete job. It starts with simple questions like: What do I like? What makes me happy? What am I good at? Where do I get energized from? What makes me proud? What makes me feel insecure? What do I hate doing? What helps me perform better? By analyzing what we really feel about tasks, processes, ways of working, schedules, environments, purposes etc. we get closer to what really matters to us. While thinking about all these questions we might realize that many things we are doing day by day are really not a fit to what really matters to us, even if the image of our job and the income might be great – even if many others might envy us for what we have.
In the end finding the personal motive and therefore the long-term motivation is most important for every individual. We love doing things that we are good at and that really matter to us. And we are good at things that we love and that matter to us. So all of a sudden it doesn’t feel like work. It is not just a job. It becomes a mission – a kind of vocation… Good luck with finding yours!