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You Might Have Missed the Point

There is no shortage of people who hate their jobs.

Neither is there any shortage of people who are underemployed or even unemployed, especially in today's market. The more I hear about people looking for work and trying to make a lot of money on the next big idea, I get a sinking feeling that a lot of us have missed the point.

In fact, a lot of us haven't spent time to really think about the point to begin with. By 'point,' I mean the purpose of this - of life, of work, of who you are. What's the point? Why are you here? What are you working towards?

Many of us graduate college and go look for work. Why? Because we have been told so or we somehow feel compelled that's what we are supposed to do. We, along with mostly everyone else, have the following life plan:

  • Graduate college
  • Get a job
  • Find a spouse
  • Buy a house
  • Have some kids
  • Get better jobs every few years
  • Send our kids to college
  • Retire
  • Die

Look around. Most anyone you meet thinks that's the point. The point of our existence is to check the above list off one by one, until we arrive at some state of emotional bliss or complacency. And/or, of course, death.

Here's the deal: the point of all of this is to be happy. Your definition of happiness will change. What thrilled you at 20 might very well bore you ten years later. Thus, the key is to know who you are and continue to discover yourself throughout. Then, you'll be able to define and chase what it is that will make you happy.

Community, family, meaningful work and stacks of money might make you happy. Solitude, recognition, security and influence could also do it for you. You'll never really know unless you are willing to ask yourself very hard questions about who you are.

If you don't like your job, leave. Go and find your deepest passions and chase them down until you can no longer run. I guarantee you'll be happier, regardless of how much money you have.

Adrian's traveling around Asia until who-knows-when and he's figuring out how to make it happen. He's achieved great life/work balance because he travels on a shoestring budget and finds work to continue chasing his dream.

Bier is currently in Mexico, working on his Spanish and learning how to surf. I took him to the airport last week. He may return after the holidays and work on a cruise ship for several months next year. And he'll be happy doing it.

My sister, when she graduates college, might go live in the woods. Seriously. And she'll love every second of it.

These people are willing to look inwardly and figure out what drives them. They're willing to risk stability in order to live a very passionate existence. They've figured out what the point is.

Besides, if your point is to make a lot of money - I mean a lot of money - you'll never do it by selling insurance, working at a bank, or doing something in marketing. You may have a steady 9-to-5 for the rest of your life, but you won't be a millionaire. To make a boatload of money, you will need to be an entrepreneur or have a talent (like dunking a basketball or singing very well) that less than 1% of people have.

Now that you've realized that, go and chase your dream. Only after you've been willing to ask yourself what the point of all this is.

Photo by sidewalk flying

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