Why do we do what we do? Because we’re paid to do it. Do we love what we do here/there? In many cases, no, we take a position to provide for our families which can put money in our pockets. Why do we do something that we’re miserable doing? Because we’re sold on the idea that we have to. We have to be unhappy about work because that’s what our parents did. That’s what their parents did. So on and so forth.
There are so many times when our elders remind us that liking our jobs won’t happen often, that many people loathe their jobs. That it’s the “millennial” mindset that we want to enjoy what we do and be happy at work. It’s interesting to think back on the old quote of “love what you do and you won’t work a day in your life”, but when we try to do that, we’re told to suck it up.
There are so many opportunities to be happy. We’re so caught up in the money, the connection, the recognition. So many people want to be in the high castle looking down on everyone they defeated on their way to the top. But when they look around to see who’s there to celebrate with them, it’s only themselves and their trusty companion, loneliness.
Sure, success is great and becoming notorious is something we all seek. But at what point does that passion of ours turn into greed? When do we stop enjoying what we love doing and start doing it for other reasons? When does the financial greed seep in, when does the power of knowing you’re better than everyone else start, how long does it take for your career to become more important than your family?
Many people who have achieved a level of success say that it’s only the “losers” in life who say things like this. “I’m sure you wouldn’t be saying that if you were making 500K a year and driving a BMW.” But that’s the thing, everyone defines success in a different way. Bill Gates could walk away from Microsoft as one of the most successful men to ever walk the entire earth. But he doesn’t because he knows that what he’s doing makes a difference.
George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, committed suicide at age 77 because he said he had achieved everything he could in his life. One of the wealthiest and influential men in the world felt his life was successful and there was nothing left for him to accomplish. Eastman could have lived for many more years working and shaping the photography industry but felt he had achieved success.
What does success look like in your life? A happy family, a loving spouse, a pet that waits for you at the door each and every day? Maybe it’s having the opportunity to go to work each day and have positive interactions with those around you and provide a service to customers that makes a difference. There are so many different ways to achieve success but only if we determine what it is.
The next time you wake up in the morning to head to a job you hate, think about at what cost is it to you? Think about why you do it, can you make a change? Is there help you could seek to change your situation? Maybe it’s as simple as taking a step back to reflect on your life and determine what type of success you’re seeking.