Picture: the office I worked at in Kuala Lumpur
‘What would you do for a living, if money was no object?’
This question can keep me thinking for days.
Not many people consider it a feasible option and therefore never ask themselves this question. Nevertheless, it remains one of the most important questions in a lifetime. It’s a question of which the answer can eventually show you the way to true happiness.
Is it really all about the money?
Too many people have a job with the sole purpose of making money. The problem with this, is that if earning money is the goal you work for every day, gathering money becomes the goal in life. And as a consequence, money itself will get confused with happiness.
Plenty of people tend to believe that earning more money, increases happiness in the long-term. But it doesn’t.
It will make you happy for a while, after which you will be just needing more of it.
It never stops. You will always find new ways to spend it all.
Value ‘state of mind’ over money
Once you enter the labour force, in most cases the weekly hours spent on the job, outnumber the weekly hours spent on leisure and social activities. A job takes such a huge chunk of your awake hours, it is directly linked to the state of mind you are in. A miserable job will make you feel miserable for a huge part of the day, no matter how good your private life is.
The remedy is not that simple. It means that either:
– The number of hours spent on the jobside have to be so little, it doesn’t affect your state of mind, or;
– The hours spent on the jobside actually are in favour of your state of mind
The second option often being easier achieved.
The state of mind is more important than making money.
Living > making a living
Too many people spent time doing things they don’t like, to spend their money on possessions that do not make them happy in the long-term.
Society can be incredibly backwards here: priority is mostly given to finding and keeping a job that generates enough money to make a living. Most people do not even bother to ask themselves whát makes their livings.
In modern society it is often discouraged to take the risks of finding your vocation. Both parenting and the current educational system do not encourage children to follow their dreams. Being average at a lot of things is seen as more important, than being exceptional at one thing.
Most children are taught to let go of their dreams once they grow older, to choose a financially safe path. But isn’t following your dreams more important than becoming financially stable? Doesn’t the pursuit of dreams bring potential more happiness, than living a safe and financially stable life?
The answer to this question depends on the lifestyle that makes you happy. The stable average life, or the risky extra-ordinary life.
I personally would always choose for the last one. I am not being put on Earth to aspire the average.
Chosing the right job
Let’s take money out of the picture for a second.
What would be your job, if money was no object? What would be your job, when you would get paid more than enough to make a living, for any job you can dream of?
Since you will spend most of your awake hours on this job, it is incredibly important to choose a job that is in line with the things you love. To be more precise: it makes it important that your job is in line with your passion.
For plenty of people finding their passion is not that easy. Just when you think you are close to the answer, something might change it all around.
To find your true passion, you will need to get to know yourself inside out.
The answers lie outside of the comfort-zone
In order to find out what your passion is, you will need to know what you are made of. Often, external stimuli are needed to find out what you are made of internally. This means that you can only completely get to know yourself, once you experience things you have never experienced before.
These new experiences almost always lie outside of the comfort zone. For me personally, I found travelling solo a way to get to know myself better, and so is gathering knowledge about subjects that interests me. It differs from person to person though.
The easiest way to get started, is to ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the things you love to do in your spare time?
- Why do you love the things you do in your spare time?
- Are there other things that have the same characteristics?
The answers will eventually lead you to your passion.
Everybody has something.
Something that can keep you up at night, when others are sleeping. Something you like so much, you can hardly get bored of – no matter how many hours you spend on it. Something that keeps you fascinated, where others long have lost their interest.
This is the thing you are looking for.
Find a way to monetize
I consider myself extremely lucky to have a passion that is relatively easy to monetize. It’s not that hard to find a job in digital marketing anywhere in the world.
With most other passions, things don’t come that ‘easy’. Hard work and dedication are needed to make a reasonable living out of it. Often you will have to start out doing things, next to your regular job.
The good thing is: you love what you are doing and that will keep you going where others will quit. It’s not easy, but there are possibilities someway or the other.
It will be worth giving it a go.
Now is the time
The last year of high school, you are supposed to have found the thing you want to do for a living.
This is absolutely ridiculous.
It is almost impossible in a safe environment with little external stimuli – such as highschool – to get to know what you are really made of. More life experience is needed to make this decision.
It is quite common people get to know themselves better, when they already choose a clear direction in the opposite way. It is not weird at all, it is common.
The only stupid thing to do is, following the path that they already took. When you studied for one thing, but along the way you discovered you have a passion for something entirely different, it is absolutely stupid to go doing the things your study taught you.
People around you might tell you, you are throwing away your education. However, this is absolute nonsense. Not doing what you love is throwing away your life – which is a far worse decision.
A person who took the wrong turn should never go ahead following this path, just because this is the path (s)he already invested resources in.
Find your passion, and try to monetize it.
It is very exciting, no matter what the outcome will be.