When we say that we don’t know what we’re supposed to do with our lives, we often don’t really mean that. What we actually mean is: we don’t know how to make the optimal choice that keeps a balance between money and enjoyment.
In life, it seems that we are offered two choices. One is to work in a job that we don’t feel passionate about but that helps us make a comfortable living. The other is to do work that we feel passionate about but by taking a significant hit to the amount of money we could make. It can sometimes feel like a binary choice, with little ways out.
Insofar as we spend most of our waking hours working, it’s a natural consequence to want to do work that feels meaningful and good. So, there come moments when we are doubting whether our careers can truly make us happy. When we say that we don’t know what we’re supposed to do with our lives, we don’t really mean that.
What we actually mean is: we don’t know how to make the optimal choice that keeps a balance between money and enjoyment!
If you are already working in a high-paying job, this choice can feel excruciating. And if you are not, then you might be looking for ways to do something you like, while still enjoying some material benefits.
There is no magic trick to go around this conundrum. We live a life in which we have material needs, and we depend on resources to fulfil these needs. Money is one way to do that, and it’s at the center stage of any career decision.
If you are in a situation of career doubt about pursuing a passion, there are some things that can help make this seemingly binary choice easier:
1. Are you undervaluing your passion and seeing it just as a hobby? This encourages you to position it as something that cannot be well remunerated or professionalized.
2. Are you thinking in a narrow way about how you can fulfil your passion in a specific role or organisation? You could think more broadly about your potential for a portfolio or entrepreneurial career (and this certainly doesn’t mean pursuing a ‘side hustle’ that will make you burn out!).
3. Are you spending most of your time with people who have conservative views about your career? A shift in career path is made easier when you have a social circle that you can relate with. So, start connecting with the people who do what you would like to do: creatives, innovators, or simply non-judgemental people who are open to a life of possibilities!
Tune into your inner ability to make and create things. Then see how it feels for you.
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