We spend our careers looking for an answer to a difficult question: what do I want to do for the rest of my life?
This is a hard pressing question and it is very hard to have just one simple answer. We spend days thinking about what gives us joy until we realize that the market won’t pay us to bring value by watching TV Shows or play Scrabble with our friends everyday.
It’s not that we are lazy or the market is tough. It’s just that the economy asks us more than just do what you love. If you want to get paid to do what you love, you better bring some value to other people.
So we put pressure on ourselves to find a path for professional happiness. But instead of searching for what we love, we should figure out what we don’t want to do.
Some people know what they want to be from an early age and that takes courage and determination. Courage to define a single path for your life and determination to stay on course. But for the rest of us we need to figure it out and you only do that if you try.
Try multiple jobs. Try new hobbies. Meet different people and ask them questions.
Look for people who are examples to you and have the guts to ask those people two simple questions: what your work day looks like and how does your ideal day look like?
Listen to their answers and have the courage to try it out. Have the empathy to put yourself in their shoes and see their work, their life, their careers through their perspective. And then decide something you will try and go for it.
You need to try before you know it is going to work or not.
If it works you will be happy – and it can last for six months or ten years. And if it doesn’t work you will be happy also – because you will know that’s not the way.
Most of us don’t know what we want but we have a pretty good idea of what we don’t want. Let’s take our children as an example. Kids don’t know what they like best as they enjoy everything but they are very stubborn about not liking spinach or mushrooms.
They are fond of many things and they know exactly what they cannot bare – and they know how to spend the best of their time. And we should do it too when it comes to our careers. We should choose the things we love the most and know exactly what we don’t enjoy and then our path becomes clearer.
In the end, knowing what we don’t want is valuable knowledge.
Successful companies are not only defined by what they do but also what they chose not to do. The same goes to successful individuals who are changing the world. Because Success is defined by the opportunities we take and the ones we denied. Our path is not a straight line and our only job is to figure out what’s the next step to take.
So if you are looking for the answer to your questions, just look for something and try it out. The rest will fall into place and the answers will appear – and you will do just fine!