Aristotelian Sense of Purpose
“Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.” Aristotle
A week ago, I had an interesting encounter with a young and nervous girl who was headed for University. Her dilemma: “I don’t know what I want to do with my life.”
If I had a dollar…
She asked me if there really is a career path that will make her rich and feel fulfilled?
What a question!
The way society designed the route to choosing a career path leaves little room to match our personalities, strengths and interests to an appropriate field of work. We are expected to make this decision at a time when we aren’t ready, aren’t exposed to other (unconventional) options, or aren’t honest about what we really want.
And yet, any time a person wishes to take some time off to think, explore the world, or really doesn’t see a himself sitting behind a desk for the rest of his life, then fear of judgement, disappointment from parents and threat to survival forces one down a path of inescapable monotony.
From the early ages most of humanity adopted a rather exhausting approach to deciding what to do for a living—“Stop dreaming about what makes you happy, accept what is and get on with life, there are bills to pay.” This is a popular belief, and probably came down a long and loving line of ancestors and parents who explained that the type of work we do is of no importance, so long as it covers our financial needs and hopefully we have some spare change left over.
We were also told that hard work, sweat, and a couple of sour tears were sure to get us to the top of the success ladder. All ideas that included art of any kind, color, or didn’t require a suit to work everyday was enough reason to have our sanity questioned.
In the past, hardly anybody worried if their sense of spirituality and soul center was being nurtured. Their main goal was to pay the bank, feed the kids, and avoid debt. Take a careful look into the workplace today and you will notice dissatisfaction. It’s as if these people are still uncertain about what they want because they hadn’t taken the time to really think about it, went with the first open space, and have been sitting at that desk for the last 20 years, constantly thinking how life hates them.
The way many people choose a career path is by noticing what society applauds, but this hardly leaves the individual themselves content, let alone proud of their achievements.
Human wellbeing has become such a low priority that people have placed money and getting rich on their to-do-or-die lists. Even economists will tell you there is no relationship between an increase in your bank account and human levels of happiness. Not in the long run, at least.
No doubt, money is great; you can buy things and go places. But the things you buy don’t bring peace of mind and the places you go aren’t far enough to escape inner dilemma. I am not against money, a house on a hill and having eighty pairs of shoes, the point I’m simply making is this—doing anything just for the money, with no intention of enriching the lives of others or yourself, will only make your pockets full while your purpose is left to starve.
Life is becoming increasingly modern due to an influencing environment which places an urgency upon many people to experience a sense of belonging by satisfying these desires other people told them to need.
In addition, it’s not the economy that’s bad or at an all time low, it’s people. It’s us. While it is true that you are not your jobs, working hours or pay slips, rather a role you play in the game of life, but the truth is the low energy you carry, sad perception of life, and hardly any trace of hope for better days plays a big part in what you experience.
Aristotle said, “Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.”
By taking the time to figure out what you really truly want, you could easily find the perfect job where one of the perks are a deep sense of purpose. You can express your personality and passions. Maybe it’s Science or Hairdressing or teaching brail to the blind. You see, when a person does that which he is good at purely for the pleasure of it, there’s little difference between work and play. Remember you are not your job, it is what you do so there’s no obligation to do the same thing your whole life. Society has convinced us that one job per person keeps life in order.
I have a rule in my life that must be followed every single day:
- Build yourself
- Learn something new
- Be kind
Whether you love or hate your job, practicing this rule is sure to make your world a bigger and takes you places you never expected.