In recent years, it has become popular to search for yourself and your destiny. Go through different jobs in search of “the one”: roll into IT, work as a barista, do nails. What is wrong with the concept of finding yourself and why does it take years to find “that job” and the results leave much to be desired?
Why so many hopes are placed on the “favorite business”
Half a century ago, few people experimented with different professions. The option – “I studied at an institute or college and have been working in my specialty all my life” – was very common.
Now it seems to many stupid, because in youth it is difficult to guess with the profession. Therefore, as soon as the opportunity to experiment arose, people went into all serious trouble and began to look for a job that would please them.
The idea that you must definitely find your favorite thing is fueled by the following considerations:
“Find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”. Indeed, the work takes a good half of the day. So why suffer and do what you don’t like when you can do what you like? Sounds logical.
“Talent gives you a competitive advantage”. Again, a smart idea. If you find what you are predisposed to, then it will be easier for you to achieve success than for a person who does this work under pressure.
“If there is a passion for the cause, then it is easier to endure difficulties and failures”. And right again. If you work solely for the sake of the result, then when there is none, it is difficult to move on. And if you enjoy the process, you can overcome a difficult period.
All these ideas seem logical and attractive. We add that your activity must be in demand in order to bring a good income, and we get … the meaning of life.
This scheme seems very convincing, and most importantly, it draws a lifestyle in which there is both pleasure from work, and meaning, and money. It is seductive, and people embark on an endless search for their own destiny. They go through different activities in the hope that ikigai will come upon them.
However, he really condescends to few people, much more often the search for a destiny leads to a dead end. Why?
Two insidious traps on the way to yourself
When you take on a new business, you experience strong inspiration. The first steps in the profession are easy to take. After all, if you, for example, did not know anything about coaching, a whole day of training will give a lot of revelations, and the brain loves novelty. New knowledge is new achievements, for which the body rewards with the production of dopamine, which, in turn, gives pleasant sensations. Therefore, it is so pleasant to search for yourself and learn new things.
At first, everything goes well, and then with a high probability you will fall into one of two traps.
Gradually, the increase in knowledge is no longer felt as significant, there is less joy, and more difficulties. You try to practice and, of course, something doesn’t work. There are doubts about the chosen path: “Am I really doing my job? Maybe I don’t have a talent for it, since I’m facing difficulties?”
It seems to many that if they choose “the very activity”, everything will be easy and simple. But nothing like that. Absolutely in any activity you will encounter difficulties and failures. Absolutely in any work there are moments when nothing works. This is fine. Moreover, it would be strange if everything worked out great for you in a new business, and your results would be exactly the same as those of people who have been working in this field for decades.
However, many people, faced with minor difficulties, quit and try to find their purpose again. They choose another profession, but they also face problems there and quit again. Under the slogan “I am looking for myself”, years pass in fruitless attempts, which no one will return. Sadness.
The second trap is not so obvious, and therefore very insidious.
You cope with difficulties, wade through the thorns to the gingerbread and start earning a new business. Everything goes great at first. You are satisfied, with experience comes confidence, you get high on a new business. It would seem that what could go wrong?
And then you notice that nothing changes from year to year. You earn about the same money, solve about the same tasks, and find yourself treading water with displeasure. You don’t like it. You are undergoing additional training or changing employer (or circle of clients), but nothing fundamentally changes. It’s like you hit a glass ceiling and don’t know how to get to the next level.
It is especially annoying to look at people you know and don’t know from social networks who have chosen a different path, were able to find their “true calling” (and how else to explain their success?) and, unlike you, are growing. You start to panic and think that you need to urgently change your profession and find yourself, because the clock is ticking.
Why is this happening? And the fact is that almost everyone focuses on finding a job that they like, but deep down they aim for completely different goals. However, these goals are not realized and therefore not achieved. Hence the disappointment in the old profession and the search for a new one.
What are these unconscious goals? We’ll get to them soon, but first, let’s figure out how the fascination with a new business generally occurs.
An affair with a profession: how does it happen?
It is unlikely that someone opens the OKVED directory and is like: “Oh-oh-oh! I want to repair household electrical products. Usually passion for the profession comes through other people. Here’s what it looks like.
A person works for himself, say, as a manager in a large corporation and at some point feels completely burnt out. Every day he has to get up early and drag himself through traffic jams to the office, every day to participate in meaningless planning meetings and corporate wars. He has not seen the point in his work for a long time and quietly hates it. With all these experiences, he comes to a psychologist.
What does he see? A cozy study with a bookcase, figurines on a carved bookcase. The office is light, sunny and smells delicious of coffee. It’s so easy to forget about the hated work. A psychologist to match the office – in a jacket and jeans, expensive boots. He listens attentively, asks heartfelt questions, supports. And our manager tells his story for the first time and doesn’t feel condemned for being “fat mad” and not loving his high-paying job. For the first time, he is interesting to someone as a person, and not as a machine to achieve goals. For the first time he feels alive.
He continues to go to a psychologist, and gradually he becomes a very significant person for him. When a manager asks the question, “If not a corporation, then what?”, he increasingly sees himself sitting in a chair and asking people deep questions.
He tries on a new role and thinks: “What? Psychologists earn a lot, they are respected people, their work really matters and benefits, unlike my rat race. And my psychologist is a very harmonious personality. He talks about complex things so easily, he understands people so well, he is so wise. Maybe I want to be a psychologist too.”
Notice how a fantasy about a future profession arises from communication with a pleasant person whose lifestyle attracts. We usually evaluate it according to a number of criteria:
We love the work. Let’s say a manager thinks that he will be interested in listening to people, thinking about their situations, analyzing their behavior, helping them solve problems.
Like the result – the opportunity to earn good money, the gratitude of customers, the recognition of colleagues.
Like the lifestyle — a beautiful office, flexible schedule, the ability to work remotely and travel a lot.
Like the personality traits of a particular person. It just so happens that not everyone in a row becomes guides to a new profession, but only people we like. The people we want to be like. For example, a psychologist may seem to be a very harmonious, sensitive person who masterfully manages the contradictions in life, always knows what to do.
From here arises an unconscious desire to adopt these traits, become like your psychologist (harmonious, confident, happy) and get an appropriate lifestyle to boot.
As a result, the idea is born: “If I do psychological counseling, I will enjoy the process, earn a lot, clients will be grateful to me, colleagues will respect me, I will travel a lot and sleep until 9 o’clock, easily solve any problems, enjoy life, make friends and buy socks with parrots.
How do you understand most of these expectations are not directly related to the profession, but a person, without realizing it, hopes through the profession to become like his idol, to acquire his features and lifestyle. Actually, that is why in their youth many people want to be like stars, bloggers or entrepreneurs – after all, they are associated with a luxurious lifestyle, popularity, confidence, independence and other attractive things.
Naturally, this is a direct path to disappointment and an endless search for yourself in the hope of finding a profession that will make these dreams come true. For, as our Matthew, McConaughey, said: “To become the king of beasts, it is not enough to behave like a king. You have to be king.”
What to do in order not to be disappointed in your favorite business, we’ll talk another time. If the article seemed interesting, subscribe to my telegram channelwhere I write about various non-obvious psychological problems and life hacks that help to cope with them.