On the White Album, The Beatles claimed “Happiness is a Warm Gun.” You’ve probably heard them all: Happiness is a choice, happiness is a journey, happiness is a dry martini… But have you heard this one:
Happiness is a Process of Elimination
Two days ago someone in my field that I really respect posted this as a part of a longer piece on his blog. He went on to say that “It’s easier and more reliable to figure out what you don’t like to do, than to figure out what you do want to do.”
He makes a concession saying, “Especially from a career standpoint,” making me wonder if everyone compartmentalizes happiness and love in life. Finding true happiness in your personal life is fine… but in your career – ah, that doen’t matter.
Now, I don’t mean to take this out of context or make a big deal about a little piece of his article that was really about something else fantastic and completely different, but I just can’t stop thinking about it. How many people think they really are happy with their career? How many think they really do love their jobs? No. Not like… or figure out what you don’t like – but, love… passion.
How many people are passionate about their work in a way that makes the world complete. How many people understand how much love it takes to turn your passion into a career? I didn’t. Not until a few months ago. I got up everyday and went off to a job I found satisfying – a job I was good at – a profession I exceled in and said I liked… loved.
But, just because I was good at it didn’t mean it was the right job for me. Just because I was on a good path didn’t mean it was the right path. And it certainly didn’t mean it was a path to my passion. I guess I stayed on the comfortable path because it was working. It wasn’t terrible – I didn’t hate it. It was something I knew I could do well and be successful.
Until sort of having my hand forced into seeking a purpose in life, I was cruzing through my career headed somewhere, I’m sure. But where? I was searching for passion that would fit into my environment rather than searching for an environment capable of supporting my passion. Doesn’t that feel like settling? [...and I didn't even know I was]
There isn’t really a point to debate. I realize that people who are not where I am can’t begin to understand my point of view. I know, because I used to look at people who were saying the very things I’m writing now and think, “Wow, seriously? She needs to get a grip. She really should grow up.”
Yes, he is right. It is easier and more reliable to figure out what you don’t like to do. Finding your passion can sometimes be a hard road – especially if you get lost as many times as I did fighting the process… The choice is yours to make. I only know that I want to work in a situation where there are no limits, where people around me are boundless, and where every moment (even the “work” moments) are an opportunity to thrive inside my passion. I want to help others live life on purpose and without fear while reaching the edges of my own passion along that journey.
That wasn’t possible when figuring out what I didn’t like was good enough.