Just like ants, humans transport from one place to another. In flocks, every single day at the same time.
Then the streets went quiet.
These massive routines will definitely drown you and your identity if you are not aware of what you are doing. You will just be one of them.Taken from my post 3 years ago, which I wrote after my first 8 days of internship
That post was inspired by what I observed during my commute back then. I took the same bus every day, going to and from my office. I saw mostly the same people, all commuting back to their 9-5 job, they’re either on their phone, sleeping, or had earphones in their ears.
Two weeks later, I met an uncle on the bus (whom I became friends with) and wrote about him on my Medium. He’s a little bit older than my dad.
He started talking about his job and his family. He loves his family so much, showing me photos of his sons, wife, and granddaughter on that first day that we met. Then he talked about his job. His job history is what amazed me.
He once worked for 25 years at a company.
But I didn’t have any role model in building a career.
My dad used to work 9 to 5. He’s now living his dream, as an IT consultant/entrepreneur who works from home. Back then, he never stayed in one company for more than 10 years. He’s always looking for a job that satisfies him. He wouldn’t do it if he didn’t like it.
So when I met this ‘uncle’, I started to realize that there are people who work in a company for half of his life. This way of living exists. (Maybe) It’s not that horrible.
To be honest, I’m now confused. My life is up to me. My options are uncountable, every single one will open thousands of other choices.
After graduating, I could be pursuing my master’s degree, or continuing my career, or applying for a management trainee program. Or travel, or volunteer. All of these choices leave me terrified, but excited at the same time.
My life is in my hands, indeed.
That anticipation of life after graduation.
The possibilities. The choices. The ‘paths’. The excitement. The questions.
Do I have to plan my career? Where do I go after this? Would I be able to be a business owner one day?
Don’t try to find your passion
I stopped questioning things last year when I read the book ‘So Good They Can’t Ignore You’ by Cal Newport. Sure, I still have some career goals and dreams, but I keep the details vague, they don’t involve specific companies or titles anymore.
Instead, I think of the lifestyle and the impact I want to have.
You may have heard the term ‘passion mindset’ before. Or the saying ‘find your passion and you won’t work a day in your life’ on a wall somewhere. Cal Newport doesn’t like this kind of thinking, because:
- when you focus only on what your work offers you, it makes you hyperaware of what you don’t like about it, which leads to chronic unhappiness
- the questions ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What do I truly love?’ are impossible to confirm
I myself believe people are always evolving. Your passion can change. Besides, what would you do after you discover it? It’s not the end of your journey, you would still have to work.
What’s the alternative to the passion mindset?
I am suggesting that you put aside the question of whether your job is true passion, and instead turn your focus toward becoming so good they can’t ignore you. That is, regardless of what you do for a living, approach your work like a true performer.Cal Newport in ‘So Good They Can’t Ignore You’
With the passion mindset, you’ll be asking, “What can the world offer me?”
With the craftsman mindset that Cal proposed, the question becomes, “What can I offer the world?”
Whatever you’re doing right now, you’re actually adding skills to your toolbox. You’re refining the skills you already have.
Rather than dreaming about that job you want and hating on your current job, better focus your energy and attention on what’s in front of you.
Do the work, mindfully.
Don’t forget the other aspects of your life
Yes, it’s important to make money.
Yes, it’s important to have a job.
But life is not all about money and career. You do need some amount of money to live a comfortable life, but after some point, the money you have will be enough.
After that, it’s just a neverending pursuit of wanting more things and feeling restless.
Jim Carrey said it best:
“I think everybody should get rich and famous, and do everything they ever dreamed of, so they can see that it’s not the answer.”Source
What did people regret when they’re on their deathbed? (Source)
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
What do you want to do with the 80,000 hours of your life?
It’s okay to plan ahead, but don’t let it distract you from doing the real work. In fact, give yourself some time right now to do it.
Ask yourself some questions.
How do you want to live your life? What are your values?
If you want to be a bit more strategic and intentional, go to this website, 80000hours.org. There you’ll find some advice on finding a career that leaves some legacy and positive impacts on the world.
Enjoy your working life!