How many times have you heard, “Find that thing you love, do it for the rest of your life, and be happy”? Absolute nonsense if you ask me.I believe that the key to happiness is finding three things that you are passionate about. One for self-Actualisation, one Business plan, and one for Conditioning your body.
Let’s start with B. Your B plan is the passion that will get you money. This one is important because it will feed the other two. Now, if you think having what you love as a job is the best thing that can happen to you, read what Mike Rowe (the host of Dirty Jobs) told a fan when asked for life advice.
A fan wrote to him asking for career advice.
I’ve spent this last year trying to figure out the right career for myself and I still can’t figure out what to do. I have always been a hands on kind of guy and a go-getter. I could never be an office worker. I need change, excitement, and adventure in my life, but where the pay is steady. I grew up in construction and my first job was a restoration project. I love everything outdoors. I play music for extra money. I like trying pretty much everything, but get bored very easily. I want a career that will always keep me happy, but can allow me to have a family and get some time to travel. I figure if anyone knows jobs its you so I was wondering your thoughts on this if you ever get the time! Thank you!
– Parker Hall
And here’s his reply.
Hi ParkerSource: The Real Mike Rowe
My first thought is that you should learn to weld and move to North Dakota. The opportunities are enormous, and as a “hands-on go-getter,” you’re qualified for the work. But after reading your post a second time, it occurs to me that your qualifications are not the reason you can’t find the career you want.
I had drinks last night with a woman I know. Let’s call her Claire. Claire just turned 42. She’s cute, smart, and successful. She’s frustrated though, because she can’t find a man. I listened all evening about how difficult her search has been. About how all the “good ones” were taken. About how her other friends had found their soul-mates, and how it wasn’t fair that she had not.
“Look at me,” she said. “I take care of myself. I’ve put myself out there. Why is this so hard?”
“How about that guy at the end of the bar,” I said. “He keeps looking at you.”
“Not my type.”
“Really? How do you know?”
“I just know.”
“Have you tried a dating site?” I asked.”
“Are you kidding? I would never date someone I met online!”
“Alright. How about a change of scene? Your company has offices all over – maybe try living in another city?”
“What? Leave San Francisco? Never!”
“How about the other side of town? You know, mix it up a little. Visit different places. New museums, new bars, new theaters…?”
She looked at me like I had two heads. “Why the hell would I do that?”
Here’s the thing, Parker. Claire doesn’t really want a man. She wants the “right” man. She wants a soul-mate. Specifically, a soul-mate from her zip code. She assembled this guy in her mind years ago, and now, dammit, she’s tired of waiting!!
I didn’t tell her this, because Claire has the capacity for sudden violence. But it’s true. She complains about being alone, even though her rules have more or less guaranteed she’ll stay that way. She has built a wall between herself and her goal. A wall made of conditions and expectations. Is it possible that you’ve built a similar wall?
Consider your own words. You don’t want a career – you want the “right” career. You need “excitement” and “adventure,” but not at the expense of stability. You want lots of “change” and the “freedom to travel,” but you need the certainty of “steady pay.” You talk about being “easily bored” as though boredom is out of your control. It isn’t. Boredom is a choice. Like tardiness. Or interrupting. It’s one thing to “love the outdoors,” but you take it a step further. You vow to “never” take an office job. You talk about the needs of your family, even though that family doesn’t exist. And finally, you say the career you describe must “always” make you “happy.”
These are my thoughts. You may choose to ignore them and I wouldn’t blame you – especially after being compared to a 42 year old woman who can’t find love. But since you asked…
Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.
Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way they feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.
PS. I’m serious about welding and North Dakota. Those guys are writing their own ticket.
PPS. Think I should forward this to Claire?
Bottom line is, know that this need not be something you absolutely love doing all day long, it is something that you love just enough.
A is the most important. This one will help you jump straight to the top of Maslow’s pyramid.
Find that one thing that you truly love doing for fun. I like writing (duh!); it is the one thing that I do to keep me sane. You will have something of the sort too; playing the guitar, sketching…anything. And the best part is, you don’t even have to be good at it!
Conditioning your body is the third and final part of the puzzle. Last week, a friend and I had a conversation about how it is hard to find healthy food. Shouldn’t it be easy to find healthy food and hard to find junk? Unfortunately, it isn’t, and you have to put in some extra effort to stay healthy. So make sure that you eat right (follow the rule of thirds) and set some time aside for exercise.
How does all this lead to happiness? A will help you become the most you can be. B will put food on your plate, a roof over your head, and pay for the things you want. C will help you stay in shape to do the other two.
And oh, these three need not stay the same. They can change as and when your interests change. But incorporate all three in your life; the rule of thirds is valid here too.