Most of us take life very seriously, particularly when it comes to our careers. I, for one, am driven to be outstanding in my work but admittedly, am a little less so when it comes to other areas of my life.
While some people claim to despise this kind of naked ambition, many of us realise that we didn’t come to this world to achieve mediocre results. We want to achieve great things.
But how do we ensure that? Conventional wisdom dictates that from an early age, we should get into a good school and excel at the given subjects; in order to get into an even better university. University is seen as providing us with the opportunity to obtain a degree in a suitably impressive field, followed by a high-flying job until we can retire on a cushy pension.
But life doesn’t always work like that. Apart from unexpectedly getting let go at work, many of us are finding it difficult to derive joy from the same career for years on end. Think about it: we enter university at around 18 years of age and choose a field of work that may interest us at the time. Others of us start working straight away; but to ask to feel the same way about your chosen career years afterwards is asking a lot!
When we go through life, we’re bound to grow and different things inevitably perk our interest. Yet for many of us, when our mind starts focusing in new directions, particularly related to our career, we resist it. We think about all the money spent towards getting us a first class education; and the time spent establishing ourselves in our career path. So we stay true to the tried and tested; and resign ourselves to leading a humdrum existence because that’s what’s expected of us; and it feels safe.
What if I told you that, no matter how impressive your current career, the ultimate career is seeking joy? To many of us, that sounds fanciful to the point of being foolish, but that’s exactly what we came to this earth to do.
Initially, we may seek joy through practising medicine; or law, but the idea of that we must ‘sustain a stable career’ is also keeping many of us beholden to jobs that we once loved, but that no longer engage us or provide us with a sense of joy.
We came to earth realising that we could be, do or have anything that we wanted. We realised that we’re creators to the core of our existence; and that we came to add to and improve the world in some remarkable way using the creative power of our thought.
When we think about something that we want ÔÇô for example, to become the world’s leading brain surgeon ÔÇô this gives us the opportunity to focus our attention in a particular direction and derive joy from the process of making it happen. Many of us are aware of the action steps towards this type of goal – for example, studying and working hard – but far more important is the mental work that takes place, that precedes any action.
We think about and mould the ideas of what we want in our minds; and when we feel joy about them, the action steps unfold easily. That’s how we create anything in our lives, including the job of our dreams.
We feel a sense of joy and accomplishment when our idea becomes reality, but let’s be honest, while you were over the moon when you received your latest promotion, the excitement’s faded and you’re already wondering what’s next. It’s the same thing with your great car; and even that new relationship.
That’s because once we achieve our goals, the natural thing to do is to seek even more improvement. Of course, we can find improvement within the same job or relationship, or but if you feel called towards a change, don’t be afraid of it. Change is the only natural thing there is.
Realise that wanting to move on doesn’t mean you’ve wasted your time; or are unfocused. No experience is ever wasted; and everything that came before made you the person that you are today. Your past experiences actually provide you with useful information about the direction in which you should grow. They were the perfect launching pad, but you don’t have to stay there forever.
If you feel called towards something because it feels fresh and exciting; and you love the thought of working on attaining it, follow your heart. Go after it; and feel joy in the process of its realisation.
We came to this earth to seek joy through our creative power ÔÇô that is the ultimate career. So figure out what would bring you joy, think about it and feel happy in the process; and then allow it to materialise in your life.
Whether we’re talking about landing our dream job, house or spouse ÔÇô these are just incidental areas that we focus upon, in order to feel joy as we harness our creative energy.
Never tell yourself that you must achieve certain milestones before you can become happy. Realise that your job is to find out what you want; and seek joy in every moment towards its realisation.
Once you achieve any goal, it becomes old news and you immediately want more; not because of greed, but because our natural trajectory is towards grow.
Where in your life do you need to grow? Are you stymieing your growth by unnecessarily limiting your choices? If so, stop that now! Remember, you can have it all and have it work. Don’t be afraid to try anything. If you have the capacity to desire it, you also gave the capacity to create it.
*Primrose Oteng is a Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) and the Founder of the Positive Peace Project, an organization dedicated to creating positive change through personal empowerment. For more information, please contact [email protected]