Finding Our Calling
Finding a purpose that’s interesting, promising financially, and worthy of dedicating our lives to accomplish, can be daunting, which is why so many people give up trying. It may take many years of trial and error, but if we enjoy the journey and learn along the way, nothing will have been lost. In fact, a lot can be gained and it’s very much worth the effort. It’s a big deal that will change our world, so don’t give up!
“Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow” is a book I read when I was on the cusp of entering the work world. At that time I also read, “What Color Is Your Parachute?” and many other books on the theme of choosing the best career, making money, and planning to create a bright future.
The Pig and the Python: How to Prosper from the Aging Baby Boom and The Wealthy Barber are a couple of great books that are fun to read and have some great ideas about career planning and money management. One of the reviewers for The Wealthy Barber said, “Chilton looks at financial decision making from a common sense point of view, again hammering home the key issues (eg. don’t buy things you don’t need).” That’s great advice for minimalists and everyone else too!
All of these authors agree that a key strategy to deciding the optimal career path is to take the time to closely examine our habits and our passions, to determine the things that we already enjoy doing, and then create or find work that fits. In other words, to know our best career path, we need to get to know ourselves better. Self awareness and getting in touch with our needs, our aspirations, and our fears are all super useful, no matter what we intend to do with our lives. The exercises and examples inside these books are valuable tools for self exploration at any stage of life.
Lucky Obsessions: Turning Flaws into Assets
Often people overlook clues in their lives that could help them find truly satisfying careers. For example, many people seeking a career as professional organizers may tend to be perfectionists. In other situations, being a perfectionist could be detrimental, but in the right context it’s an extremely good thing. It’s about realizing that our negative aspects may have some super silver linings. It’s brilliant that our quirky habits and faults may be the essential factors in our ultimate success.
I have the desire and ongoing motivation to keep things orderly in every aspect of my life because it continues to be extremely helpful to me. If you asked my husband of 25 years, he’d tell you that although my tendencies to organize things have been profoundly useful, it’s also been a source of disagreement between us. We have come to a compromise. I’m more patient and tolerant about disorder than I once was, and he’s more tidy than he once was. Really, we’re both perfectionists, but in different ways.
My love of simplicity and order led me to seek careers involving many types of organizational skills. Arranging things, scheduling, and planning are like a gratifying game to me. Writing provides an enjoyable and challenging creative outlet. Writing is also difficult because it requires a person who can self-motivate, who enjoys their own company, who has something they feel is important to share, and is brave enough to actually share it. I have these qualities most days, but I admit it’s not always a smooth road.
Luckily my passion for simplicity and order is exactly opposite to most people’s obsession with collecting stuff until they feel crowded, overwhelmed and scattered. I’m not saying that I never feel that way. In fact, I probably feel that way more easily than most people, which is why I am so motivated to keep things orderly. I love minimalism because it puts me in control. This control also provides me with more money, time and freedom in my life.
Something that the career and finance books I mentioned above failed to clearly impress upon me, was that I’d need to be ready to accept that nothing is going to be 100% perfect. I was seeking perfection, so I tossed away some great opportunities due to the exasperating qualities that inherently come with any “dream” job. As Steve Jobs of Apple computers said,
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. As with all matters of the heart, you will know it when you find it.”
Idealizing: Inspiring, Yet Problematic
The problem with this kind of advice is that it paints too rosy a picture. It leaves out the inevitable shit-sandwich aspect that must be accepted as part of any career. The fact is that if we’re completely honest, we won’t love EVERYTHING about anything. What I mean is that there will be some annoying, irritating aspect that we will have to deal with or overcome in order to succeed at anything. Recently I discovered the article, 7 Strange Questions That Help You Discover Your Purpose in Life by Mark Manson. His approach to the topic is balanced, useful and extremely entertaining!
Finding our calling is a worthy challenge for every person alive. The world would be a much better place if more people did work they enjoyed, since we spend so much of our lives in this pursuit. We all want to be fulfilled by accomplishing things that are valuable to us. Imagine a world full of satisfied people who feel great about their lives. That’s a place we all want to live. That’s the kind of world we’d want to demonstrate for our children.
As you can see, I am extremely passionate about minimalism which I write about here, and I’m also a professional organizer and have run several cleaning businesses. It’s marvellous to do work that makes you feel great because you are contributing your skills and your enthusiasm.
Whether or not you have found your purpose yet, your interest in minimalism shows that you are definitely interested in living on purpose. Enjoy life, learn all you can about things that fascinate and inspire you, and take action on the stuff you care most about.
Minimalism inherently leads to clarifying our priorities and streamlining our lives to accomplish those things that we deem most important. So by continuing on the path you are already on, you are headed toward knowing yourself better and doing what you find worthy of you.