Know yourself and follow your bliss

My boss wanted me to help him get a prostitute back to his hotel in Mexico City  because he didn’t speak any Spanish. At the office in Charlotte, NC, I noticed he didn’t want to go home in the evenings (he didn’t like his wife). I had just graduated with an MBA and was selling chainsaws and weedeaters to Latin America. My heart wasn’t in it and I’d have sucked at that job had I stayed longer. The chainsaws I sold were used to cut down tropical forest and the weedeater’s were second rate – it just seemed like meaningless work.

we even have one guy who likes his job

If you hate your job, it doesn’t help to know what your boss wants. You’re going to suck at your job anyway, when it doesn’t have meaning for you. If you’re faking the passion (or not even trying), you’re headed for a train wreck. Find a job you can do with real passion, before your boss decides you suck and fires you.

As your boss, why should I care if you’re following your bliss or not? I care because I want a team whose passion for the job can keep us together for 5 years, 10 years or longer. If you don’t know yourself well or fake the passion, you introduce a lot of risk to our relationship, and it usually doesn’t work out for either of us. So search your soul.

passion for your career or just good friends?When people think about following their passion with their career, often it ends with the money. “Can’t make enough money at that”, we think. And, probably – it’s true. But, before you put the idea to bed, read The Man Who Quit Money – it’s a deeply moving story that changed my thinking.

Why should YOU care whether you’re following your bliss or not? Popular wisdom tells us that who you are is more important than what you do — but what you do can also change who you are. If you don’t find meaningful work, you may end up becoming someone you don’t want to be.

Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.

Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it.

I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run – in the long-run, I say! – success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.

-Viktor E. Frankl

Not sure how to find meaningful work? Answer some tough questions!  First, let’s consider if you are doing meaningful work now:

  • Do you crave work like a show horse or sled dog does?
  • Are you following your inner voice?
  • Does your work feed your soul?
  • Does your work feel like part of your life story?
  • Do you feel like you found your calling or sweet spot?
  • Can you do this for 10 years because your heart is in your work?
  • Can you do your job with passion?
  • Are the headaches of your job tolerable?
  • Are you at peace with your ambition either because you are chasing a dream or have let one go?
  • Are you able to resist the temptations of more power, prestige, or money you might get from less meaningful work?
  • Are your family and other relationships supported by your work?
  • Are you comfortable with the example you are setting for your kids?
  • Are your gifts to the world being revealed?
  • Does your job give you the chance to do something great or be great?
  • Can you hang in like grim death when confronted with obstacles at work?
  • Are you working to impress or please your parents?
  • Are you surprised by your own productive power?
  • Do you take gratification in a job well done?
  • Do you feel nurtured by your work and work environment?

Read What Should I Do with My Life? if you want to go deeper and hear how others have answered these questions.

Second, consider what inspires you:

  • What skills that you already have do you most enjoy using?
  • Do you like working with people, information, or things best?
  • Where would you most like to work (geography, environment, responsibility level, field)?
  • What cause, problem, or values do you want your life to serve?
  • What do you value in a job besides money? This might include adventure, challenge, respect, influence, popularity, fame, power, intellectual stimulation, creativity, helping others, exercising leadership, making decisions, spirituality, etc…
  • Would you like to be primarily remembered for contributions to the world made with your mind or body?

This is just a sample of the questions you’ll be asked when you work through the legendary book What Color Is Your Parachute?

Finally, a few more timeless words from Victor Frankel’s Man’s Search for Meaning:

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

A human being is not one thing among others; things determine each other, but man is ultimately self-determining. What he becomes – within the limits of endowment and environment- he has made out of himself. In the concentration camps, for example, in this living laboratory and on this testing ground, we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions.

Viktor Frankl on Youth in Search of Meaning 1972:

Get the ebook! If you liked what you read here, and think you may want to refer back to this guide later, grab the Kindle version – we’re hoping you’ll thank us with a five-star review on Amazon if you found this material helpful. The ebook also includes our job search guide.

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  • I love that idea that Frankl borrows from Goethe (in the video) that you should raise your expectations of people and let recognize their search for meaning. I have found in my experiences with youth that the higher my expectations are for them, the more they can achieve. Yes, they begin to believe in themselves and their ambitions more, but more importantly for me, I change as a teacher, and the lessons I prepare for them become richer and more creative. When I raise my expectations for my students, I also raise my expectations for myself. Then we find that we both are living closer to that bliss.

  • To truly know yourself and be able to follow your bliss you must know what you want out of life or at least have a sense of self awareness. I have been a military wife for 19 years and throughout my marriage I have attended four colleges and have finally come to the point where I am seeing my hard work and perserverance pay off. It has truly been a challange due to military relocations every three years. Transfering to different schools over the years has cost me many school points, I became discouraged, and was ready to settle. I came to the realization that I wanted more out of my life than to just be a military spouse and mother of four. My goal is to receive my degree and accomplishing that goal will fullfil my bliss. This is who I am and I am meant to graduate no matter what. 

  • I enjoy working with people and solving problems.  I am the go to person in my office.  I enjoy looking for the solution to problems.  I enjoy cross training with my coworkers.

  • To have a happy and blissful life and career you must know what makes you happy and do that. In time hard work pans out and you can be the best you, you can be. If something doesn’t make you happy strive to reach for what does.

  • To search within your inner soul, one must first establish listening skills toward her inner voice. This inner voice replicates any dreams, goals, desires of what instills the heart into the career path he chooses. It is vital to follow what you want from deep within instead of what someone wants for you. If you follow someone else’s dream, you set yourself up for set-back, resentment, regret, and failure. These negative emotions will circle around in your soul until you venture out to your calling to seek your inner drives to your natural gifts.

  • When someone chooses the career path of a physician, going through with it is the ultimate test of following your bliss.  Arduous hours, years of school, and debilitating loans make it an intimidating career.  Years ago being a doctor meant wealth and power, and while students still head towards this career for those reasons, changing landscapes in insurances and lawsuits make it a much more difficult profession.  Going over these thoughts, I’ve realized that I want and need the challenges that such a career would provide.  I know that I will be financially stable as a physician, but I also know that the opportunity to contribute to society through medicine is the real reason that I will achieve my goals.  The clearest example and inspiration behind these thoughts were when I shadowed an ophthalmologist and one of his patients was adamant about naming his firstborn son after him because his sight was restored.  Seeing the appreciation in his eyes, that was bliss.

  • I have had the same type of job since I was eighteen years old. I am now almost thirty years old. I have worked for many different companies in this time. I have finally decided that I love what I do for a living and could not possibly do anything else and still be happy. I protect and serve people every day. There is nothing more blissfull than that feeling of completion. Well, after some time I started feeling empty again. I decided it was time to enroll in college and further my education and possibly even gain advancement in my job industry. I am now a full time student, father of two, husband, and friend. I am happy!

  • I learned that taking pride, and finding satisfaction in my work was essential to not only my success, but the success of the business I worked for at a young age. During my last year of college I began counseling people in class as part of my degree requirements, and I realized that as much as I wanted to make a difference in peoples lives this was not my calling. I knew that I would not be able to achieve a sense of fulfillment or provide adequate services to my clients so I finished my semester and moved on. I decided to work in a career field at an entry position to determine if I was suited for the work prior to returning to school. After working and volunteering at multiple institutions that provided different human services I have decided that becoming an elementary teacher will allow me to improve the future, and enjoy my work.     

  • It would be amazing if everyone on this planet worked in the type occupation they loved instead of a being employed in an occupation that drew a larger income. In today’s world it is uncommon for one to find employment that fuels passion and generates a substantial amount of income to support a family. I (for example) have had a career in law enforcement but if I were to act on my passion and let it drive me to my true career choice, I would be a maintenance woman. Although am very feminine, I love fixing things.

    Unfortunately, reality sets in. Obtaining a career as a maintenance woman will not provide me with the finical stability that a law enforcement career has. Does this make me less passionate in other occupations? Yes to a degree. Although I love my career I believe
    my true passion lies in maintenance work.

    I am happy doing my job but I do not burn with passion for it. I am happy in my career and I enjoy my work, but I believe that one day I will wake up and find that my job has grown on me. I will find that it has grown on me in such a way that I will never want to do anything else with my life except law enforcement. I will burn with passion for it. Essentially I am forfeiting a career in an occupation that I believe I have passion for, in exchange for faith of one day being passionate for my current occupation.

  • I would say that in order for you to be successful, no matter the job, you must be willing to put your full effort into the job.  You must be able to go in with the same passion you did in day one even if this is year 10 with the same company.  If you are to succeed then personal gratification is a must.

    In the supervisory position I currently hold it is important to me that all who come to work do so in a manner that they are ready to teach and lead this young minds that they are in charge of shaping.  Young men and women can easily see if you are only going through the motions to educate them and they themselves will only give you what you put in.  As such, people must be willing to dive into their working positions with full effort so that the work being done is meaningful.

  • Strong inspiring leaders know how to talk to their employees and learn what motivates them. I had a great leader at my last job who really understood my motivations and listened to what I needed to succeed as an employee. The leader I have now falls far below this ideal making it harder to enjoy my job when I have to interact with him. I am looking for a better job in hopes of better opportunity and perhaps a better leader as well.

  • I have taken the top three key points that I believe have the most meaning to me, my life and my career:Are you following your inner voice?
    Does your work feed your soul?
    Does your work feel like part of your life story?
    Can you do this for 10 years because your heart is in your work?
    My favorite is “does your work feed your soul”…very much indeed my work feeds my soul. I have enjoyed my career as an addictions counselor in the State of New Mexico for approximately 14 years. I am looking forward to the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. I enjoy giving back and my greatest desire to to give back through the United States Army Substance Abuse Program and the soldiers and their families who have given so much of themselves.

  • The concept of following one’s bliss and matching one’s self in accordance with one’s passions is a concept that is exceedingly important in work smart success. I have repeatedly, although successful in the job its self, not found fulfilment in the activity and line of work I was associated with. That was due specifically to the fact that I was not fulfilled with the intellectual stimulation or moral alignment of that institution of employment. That was consistently the case until I came to a personal realisation that I had set the improper end goal. My end goal was previously to earn money in order to simply achieve a degree in order to enter into a workplace environment and my academic career would then end and my professional career would begin. My realisation is that I never wanted to stop learning. That led to a realignment of goals. Instead of studying to simply become a psychologist, I decided that I want to expand on my career path to give others also that bliss of learning whilst learning through research myself. I am still working toward that degree to support that path, but knowing that fact that I do not actually have to leave that academic institution has made it blissfully easy to work so hard.

  • Working for a reputable company is great; but when the work is not what you want to do, it can be one of the worst experiences of a lifetime.  It is important to take it as a life lesson in humility until you’ve reached your career goals.  It is essential to choose a career path that fits you.  The end result may be a life of unhappiness. Consider current skills and find out what drives you.  Taking a personal inventory helps tremendously during this process.  Go for what you know with no excuses!

  • I think to be successful in a career you have to be happy to work and do that for the rest of your life. A career can be financially stable but if you have to push yourself to do the work, the burden of having to push yourself will be harder every day. Enjoy the career you choose and know you can put your full potential.

  • Earning money so that you and whoever you have responsibility over can live is important indeed. But when it comes to retaining a job that doesn’t necessarily fit your unique qualities, Its a good thing to work your best but also mentally note that it is a stepping stone to your true future.
    This should prevent any feelings of hopelessness. You can search for other jobs but doing that without a true plan will just leave you job hopping and burning bridges. So its necessary to identify who you are and what you’d like to be doing with your life. Get a degree that helps you obtain that.
    At the beginning of my own personal work experience, I assisted shoppers in matching outfits, flipped burgers, dealt with angry customers, and had to sell things over the phone that I personally believed was a waste of money. It took me some time, but I had to first realize who I truly was and what I truly loved to do.
    Once I was able to identify that, I was then able to embark on my journey toward obtaining that necessary degree. I could then put the “Stepping Stone” outlook into practice and base my life around my goal. Keeping what was beneficial to it and omitting what was harmful to it. So for those of you who need out of a life that limits you to working jobs that you aren’t happy in; take my advice: Know yourself first, and then create the path that will allow you to attain your bliss.

  • I understand the meaning of your “hell”. I am currently working in an section of the job industry that is fast paced. My immediate supervisor made my life and co-workers life so miserable that we have all had emotional breakdowns in the workplace.Human Resources ignores the ongoing problem. We as employees were told if we do not like where we work at we could quit. With the hjob market scarce, we have endured. I now go to work constantly reminding myself that that job is the reason why I went back to school and I will not quit until I get out of that job. I love what I do, just hate the environment.

  • I loved the ideas from the sections about how to make yourself happy and that will lead to you being a good employee. I currently work as a sales person and it makes a big difference how much you care during the day. The more you care and show it the customers react and it leads to better interactions.

    In addition, the advice on how to wire emails and be productive without assistance is great. it appears to work as i have seen people that do these behaviors rise up in position rather quickly at my work. I just didn’t identify these behaviors as the source of the advancement prior to this.

  • I have experienced first-hand that a necessary condition for success is being passionate about your work. I spent the last couple of years waking up and going through my day just waiting for it to end. I have decided to change careers first by going back to school, and I have not felt more at peace with myself. Fear of not being financially secure or of failing to meet others’ expectations kept me grinding along a path that I thought I “should” be on. It took me a year or so to realize that I wasn’t going forward on this path because I did not have the inner motivation to move forward. There is a TED talk about how we may have evolved reward systems to support the complex neural architecture for physical movement. Analogously, I believe we can only take great action in our lives when motivated by joy. I’m looking forward to moving towards joy in my new career. I hope to share this fire with others at any stage in their lives, young or old, who may have been too paralyzed by fear to be honest with themselves about what moves them from within.

  • I agree with this whole-heartedly! I am going through some tough decisions now in my life about choosing a job I am passionate about as well as when I was deciding to change my major from Music Business to Criminal Justice. I had to sit down and do some soul searching about what i really wanted in my life and what was going to make me happy in the long run. I ulitmately chose to change my major and my path in life because I felt that it achieved what I wanted in my life, to help people and find truth, and I believe that getting out of a field that I was not happy in and passionate about helped me to find where I am at now!

  • In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl quotes Nietschze, “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any
    how. ” If I didn’t have a why I would be living like Suelo, McCandless or Chongo, but for every Suelo, there are a million others living in caves who weren’t lucky enough to be born where there is an abundance of edible food for the picking from trash bins.

    As an American, my bliss is climbing the ladder that will allow me to
    get into a position in which I CAN make the world a better place. This
    summer I worked for a month in a fishery in Alaska, I worked 16 hours a
    day, weighing fish and pulling guts out of machines. I loved it, I could
    easily find bliss in the job, not for tasks at hand but for the things
    the income will allow me to do. The money I earned will allow me to
    return to school for another year without incurring as much debt as I
    had planned. My bliss is knowing that the best things in life have to be worked for and that the fruits of my labor are going to take a lot of time and work to ripen.

  • Driving a school bus for four years helped me understand how to handle kids of all ages. Guiding these children starts with knowing their individual personalities. Giving direction on haow to act as a person in society comes from more than formal teaching. Showing them how to handle situations is just as important as learning the basics of math, reading, and writing.

  • Time and again the idea of authenticity in your pursuits often while under the threat of poverty, hunger, exhaustion, and social alienation are the stories of heroism that persist and give others hope in their own ambitions, or at least a vicarious pride in the actions of others. Of course, the ones that we hear about are the heroes, the successes, and they keep us moving. Less heralded are those toiling in obscurity, giving themselves almost as martyrs to a cause because their purpose is limpid, and in the best of these heroes, their services soaked in self-sacrifice and altruism. Mozart is a fine example: he fell out of vogue before his premature death, gave generously and naiively to any who asked without requesting repayment, was buried in a pauper’s grave and had scant attendance at his memorial service. But he has given a transcendent gift to the world that make his biography a footnote to his music.

    Men like Frankl and Mozart are beacons to humanity if they aren’t so myopic to choose not to listen. Frankl’s book Man’s Search For Meaning provides so many harrowing stories of human preservation in the face of the most dismal living conditions: being forced to manually labor in snow completely naked while being whipped and insulted, giving your one pea from your small bowl of watery soup to another more broken soul, and calming the nerves of those that were understandably going insane with generosity and affection. Most importantly the idea of your one freedom to choose is the keystone to his whole philosophy from which all meaning springs. You cannot steer your life completely, but you can choose your reaction.

    Though my talents may not be as vivacious as Mozart’s and my morals not as saintly as Frankl’s I have abandoned a pursuit of self-enrichment for a more pious, and humble devotion to my artistic pursuits and human relationships. I have had to quit jobs to keep up with the rapid pace of my schooling (I am an illustration major), and while a source of anxiety it has so far been worth it.

  • This article was a lot longer than I expected but I’m so glad I read it! There was so much information in this article that I may have never found out from my employers. Even if I don’t walk away with a scholarship, I’m walking away with so much precious knowledge and advice.

    Reading this article I found out that there are some things I have been doing right, at work. However, there was so much more that I found I need to work on. Biggest lesson from this article is to make my boss’s life easier. My mentally coming into to work next Monday will be different. Thanks!

  • This idea is simple if you don’t like your job you will one not want to go to work, you will lack respect for anyone of authority, and will have loyalty to the company which you are employed. I have to say I have been lucky in my employment history to have enjoyed all of the jobs that I have had. I enjoyed waiting tables because I enjoy people and making them happy plus the money was really good. I have worked in an medical office building which I held many positions or covered many positions since I was called a floater I covered whichever office was short handed. I have also worked in fast food but I truly enjoyed my job I had an awesome crew that was always ready to work and do what needed done without much involvement from myself.
    Point is you have to at the least want to “go” to your job and if you don’t want to do that you need to find another job.

  • Having passion for your work has become so rare but I do not believe that, that makes it less important. Like this points out, employers want to have a team of really involved employees. Not only is the work done better but it creates longer lasting jobs.

    I’m studying illustration and I knew that by doing this I would have to work really hard in order to find a job that would allow me to be passionate about it. That means I can’t allow myself to settle, and that I might have to create a business for myself.

    My career path is narrow but my skill capacity is large and by finding a larger variety of skills that I really enjoy I have more of a chance of finding a job that I can really enjoy, even if it may not be my dream job at first.

    I want to write and illustrate children’s books. It’s not the most common career path but it is something I have always loved to do. I’ve had countless all nighters trying to perfect illustrations and I may be exhausted and creatively drained but there is nothing more satisfying than holding a finished product that I can be proud of. It’s not just about satisfying a customer or an employer, but also satisfying yourself. I would love to be able to call this my full time job because it is more than a full time hobby.

    I want to create things that have lasting appeal which means my work is never going to be done, so I do not want to start a long process with a bitter state of mind. I really loved this article because it reminded me that I don’t need a lot to be happy. I need to stop worrying about the amount of my paycheck but rather the amount that I’m willing to put into a job. If I put my all in to something, pretty soon the outcome will get better and better.

  • I believe it absolutely imperative to follow your passions in your career, for your own well-being, as well as to feel like you are making meaningful contributions to the world and society. For me, this means working in the arts, and spending my life promoting and supporting the arts. My experiences up to this point in my life have undoubtedly had the most influence over my decision to work in the arts and attend graduate school for a degree in arts administration. My time spent at the Detroit Institute of Arts, as an intern in the Public Programming and Community Relations departments, exposed me most directly to administrative work in a distinguished museum. Recently,tutoring elementary students in an impoverished school in the Detroit Public School system has also brought me much joy and satisfaction. I am able to inspire my tutees’ creativity by teaching them how to read and write, so that they may gain exposure to others’ literary works. I also feel that through the America Reads tutoring program, I am indirectly supporting the preservation of the arts by doing what I can to improve the community in which my beloved Detroit Institute of Arts resides. Through these experiences, I have discovered that I truly want to spend my life acting as a mediator between the public and art worlds, either working in public relations or education in a museum, or exploring how art can aid in the renewal of cities like Detroit.

    One of my favorite movie quotes of all time is from “Dead Poets Society,” when English teacher Mr. Keating says to his class, “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.” To write your verse, you need to follow your passion and do what you love in all areas of your life, including your career.I know that I will write my verse by democratizing the arts and bringing the arts to the world, as I believe it is my calling to promote the arts and expose others to art. I know how to write mine, so in the words of Mr. Keating, “What will YOUR verse be?”

  • I love the idea that someone could give up all the money thaty had saved because he was tired of being a slave to money and his job. His passion was to be free from the control money had over him and he pursued this. Now he has found happiness and blissfulness which to me is hard to do which today’s world. People take the jobs they believe will make them money when their heart isn’t in it, which ultimately causes them to do an even worse job. Hearing about Vikto Franikl’s experiences makes me not want to be just another person sludging through life working a job that I hate. I want passion in my field of study and career.

  • When accepting a career as a teacher, one should accept the fact that this job will not make you rich in money, but it will make you rich in knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of children each and every day. The job entails endless hours of developing lesson plans, teaching, and grading papers in the evening and carried out into our weekends. However, when one goes into this profession knowing that the outcome reaps great benefits of our citizens of tomorrow, that makes all the difference in the world. When one teaches with that burning desire to make a difference, we are indeed living in bliss!

  • Choosing to go with what you love is always said to be the right way to go. I was especially drawn to the part of the last quote by Victor Frankel that says,

    “everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

    However, I have learned through different experiences, readings and through testimonies by others that it is not enough to just go with what you love. What if what you love most is money, power, fame – yourself. I think that anything can be done right if it is done for the benefit of others. There is a greater joy found in working in order to make life easier for our fellow human beings than just focusing on ourselves.

    One of my experiences that illustrated this to me was when I was asked to do translation for a team of doctors in a rural village. Being bilingual, this task should have seemed easy to me, but I was unsure of myself and thought that I was too shy of a person for this job. But I saw a need and went along with it. Though that was not particularly something I ever saw myself doing, at the end of that month I loved doing it because I knew that it was benefitting dozens of people in that village. It changed me for the better.

  • Choosing my major has been an experience that has been both difficult and rewarding for me. The school I currently attend (university of San Diego) has a good business program, so at first I was heading down that path. It was a simple enough choice for me. I thought since my school is good at business, I will find a job that will make a lot of money, and ultimately have a “successful” career.

    My first year of college went by, and it was the most life changing year of my life in a lot of respects. I realized many things about myself, and the main one was that I didn’t want to be a business major. At all. I wasn’t very good at it and I found that my heart wasn’t in it very much at all. It was at this point that I had an existential crisis. I frantically started searching the web, hoping to find my meaning. I googled things like “what is my place in this world” or “why am I here”, and watching videos online that I hoped would help me find my purpose.

    Upon my search, one of the most profound pieces of advice I came from was from Einstein, and it says “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” I then realized what I wanted to do. I had always loved math. I had taken every form of advanced math in high school, and was one of those kids who would always be adding up numbers in his head. I also love to create things, and make the things of my imagination become reality. it was this year that I declared Mechanical Engineering, because it consisted of two things that when combined formed the essence of who I was. Although the engineering program isn’t as good as the business program at school, I realized that it is not about the money, but about following who you are and what you want to do with your life.

    I think this article is very important because it encourages just that: follow what you love, and you will be happy. Don’t do it for the money, because then you are just a slave to a system that is flawed anyways.

  • Exactly! We need to follow our bliss and never bow to becoming robots or workers without feelings or passion.

    While in my last college, I was a liberal arts major who was completing the basic pre-reqs for the nursing program. I ended up working at a nursing home during this time, and was so disappointed to see how cold and heartless the majority of the workers were. The system is a failure, no doubt, but I could not help but notice how many of the nurses had no heart for their jobs. It was not a calling, but a paycheck. The patients (aka residents) were not people, they were problems. It was an eye-opener!

    I decided I would look inside of myself and do what I loved, whatever the cost. I have always loved the arts, and chose to pursue an art major instead. I certainly have not made any money, and am more broke, but I am happy and doing what I love. When I do my artwork, I can also sleep at night, knowing I have made a contribution to the world that helps others. I could not have done this at a nursing home or hospital nearly as well, if at all.

  • I have always been deeply passionate about studio art, particularly color and movement, since I was around seven years old. I would copy old paintings whenever I could. My family kept telling me that I wouldn’t make it as an artist though, because it’s such a competitive field and I would have to find a way to fame in order to make a living from it. Where else does a “starving artist” come from but from a low-paying field, right?
    So I bounced from interest to interest. First it was marine biology then accounting, then I moved on to criminology and behavioral psychology. I finally settled on graphic design when I became a freshman in college. My entire second semester was horrible. I was taking entry-level courses for my major, and I hated it.
    Now here I am as a very proud studio art major sophomore, and I’m loving it. I no longer care for making a lot of money, I just want to do what I love for a living. I plan to go into illustration with painting as a side venue. I still want to show the world how to see the way sound moves in and out of existence and imagination. I still want to share my lifelong obsession with color and movement. This article reminds me that I made the right choice in changed my course of study and outlook for my future. Thanks.

  • Knowing my bliss was never really a problem for me. It was finding the courage to do it despite what my family thought of it or what the world thought of it that I struggled with. I have always been able to see music and color as basically the same thing, and since others did not, I wanted to share this with them.
    However, I was not allowed to draw very often for a couple years at a time. Painting was totally out of the question, too. They were considered too messy. Because I did not have art classes and this field is considered to lead to a very poor lifestyle, there was no need to practice it. All this was according to other people, of course.
    It took me a few years and several very different interests for a possible major in college, but I finally settled on graphic design. I hated my freshman year with that major, so I’m now a studio art major as a sophomore. I don’t even care what other people think, because I now rely on myself for strength to do what I dream. I even have the support of those who did not want this major for me. Now, I’m so much more excited about my future because I know that I will have the degree proving that I have the ability and skill to prove that I can enter this field with confidence.

  • When I first told my parents that I wanted to major in social work, my mom said “I always knew your heart would be bigger than your wallet.” At that time, I really didn’t understand what she meant. Now that I’m in my second year of college, I understand what she meant by that comment. Social workers don’t make any money and they work like dogs. Even though I always told myself I would get a good education and land a job with 6 figures, I’m happy with the choice of majoring in social work.

    It’s not an easy major. The things you study in these courses aren’t things you can learn and obtain; they are qualities that you already have as a person. Not many people can learn to be empathetic, compassionate, or open-minded. Some people were just not born that way and it’s okay if you weren’t. Fortunately, I was born that way and that’s exactly how I knew I was meant to be a social worker.

    I never once listened to my parents, teachers, or society when they said to become a doctor or an engineer because I knew I couldn’t conform to something I wasn’t equipped to be.

    “At the end of the day, the person who has to be happy is me.”

  • Knowing who I am and following my bliss were two of my biggest problems while becoming a young adult. I always felt confident in writing about who I was, but never in speaking on who I was; therefore making me unsure about myself as a young woman. I always steered away from the spotlight and the compliments because I thought, if no one noticed me then I would never be embarrassed or disliked. That however was mistake number 1. It seemed the more I tried to get away from the spotlight it followed me. As time went on I realized that if you are destined for greatness then there’s nothing you can do about it, and so I accepted who I was and became great at being me.

    Once I was confident and sure about myself I began to realize that I deserved so much more in this world. This is what actually lead to me following my bliss. I was once told “follow your bliss and the world will open doors for you that no man can close.” I apply this quote to all things I do in life and have been granted greatness from that point on. I truly believe that if all people take heed to the concepts of truly knowing themselves and following their bliss, the life in which they live will be much more valuable.

  • I’ve just spent 2+ hours poring over this entire site. I am gearing up to apply for my first “real job” and before reading this, I was a strange combination of overly zealous and absolutely terrified. I now sit here with several pages of notes, a thrice emptied coffee mug, and a new found attitude towards the job hunt that is both confident and humbled. Thank you!!

  • I started working as a barista at Starbucks and within two months was promoted to a shift supervisor (along with a $2 raise 🙂 ). So I completely understand the passion needed to work at a job; there are those who work with me who are there solely for the paycheck. The stress-level at Starbucks is too much for the pay, and it is easy to discern those with a passion from those lacking. The cliche, “do what you love so that it’s not work,” rings true at this job, as with every occupation.
    Enjoying your job is worth so much more than money.

  • The concept of “knowing yourself and following your bliss” seems like a no brainer when I think about it. Obviously who wants to subject themselves to hours each day working towards a goal or purpose you do not believe in wholeheartedly. However, in actuality, this concept is much more difficult to follow through with, especially in a culture where we are told happiness should come from success, which should come from making a good income. These monetary notions guide many of our ideas of what it means to be “successful.” If I have learned nothing else from my studies at school and through this article, it is that everything is subjective. Therefore, why not pursue something I am passionate about because no matter what there will be people that will comment positively and negatively. I am a double major, pursuing both a BFA in Dance Performance and a BS in Cultural Studies. If I had a dollar for every time I have been asked my career aspirations (and after a lengthy answer) have been given the “well that seems challenging in this job market, but hey good for you” I certainly would not be rich, but I would have enough money treat myself to something quite nice.

    However, these encounters and inquisitions about my majors have not made me bitter, but have allowed me to reevaluate my goals and aspirations in my career and check in with myself. Do I still find these things meaningful? Am I still passionate about them? And each time, the answer is always yes. As this article suggests “If you don’t find meaningful work, you may end up becoming someone you don’t want to be,” and that to me is my biggest fear. It is not fear of not making enough money, or not pleasing my family by choosing a more “concrete” career in their eyes, but not being honest with myself. I hope to reflect back on my life and remember the various instances that proved meaningful to me.

    Pairing my extensive dance knowledge with my newer cultural studies seems the perfect fit. Dance has been a way for societies to express triumph, tribulations, and convey their history. It can be seen as expressive, spiritual, ritualistic, entertaining, political or informative. The plethora of dance styles allows for a multitude of ways to observe and compare it to more familiar dance forms. Various cultures use dance as a way to keep their culture, their beliefs, and their practices alive. Not everyone has to agree with me, nor do I want them to. Part of the beauty in life is the abundance of different viewpoints, perspectives, and opinions. Like dance, success is defined by the cultural context in which it is found.

    This article was refreshing to read because it is less and less often that there are people who still assert the idea that your work can be both meaningful and you can love doing it. There does not need to be this schism between work and passion. Ultimate success is loving what you do. I enjoy hearing about people who love their jobs and post endless pictures, etc. about it on social networks and rightfully so. There is not enough people, in my opinion, that are talking proudly about their jobs. If you find meaning in your work, you not only are happy in the process, but you simultaneously are improving and helping the company you work for. It would then appear that meaningful work has a ripple effect and contributes to an all around better work experience and life..so I think I am going to go ahead…and follow my bliss.

  • Follow my bliss is my mantra. I was born to be an Artist. If the essence of Art was something tangible , something that you can see and touch, I truly believe that it runs through my veins. Art is my life force and my bliss.

    Starving Artist, I have been hearing that line for at least 13 years; both in my home and in other places. I am sure that all the people who repeat it have either heard it from others , but I have heard it from other Artists. They are not trying to discourage me, but as much as that can be true, I have to follow my bliss.

    I am so happy I never listened to them because more and more I realize I can’t live without Art. When you follow your bliss regardless of the hardships you will make it because it’s your passion, and success is inevitable when you pour your soul into it. I have sacrificed and ready to sacrifice much more in order to become successful.
    Hello success, you may not know me, but it’s only a matter of time. When I meet you I will remind you of all my sacrifices.

    I am 21 and a Junior at Savannah College of Art and Design(major Illustration 3.85 GPA), and minor in Sequential Art 3.84 GPA.

  • I have always wanted to be a screenwriter but I’ve now realized that it’s a hard industry to get into. You need to know the right people in order to make it big in Hollywood. So I’ve settled for something more realistic like Marketing/Advertising. I think it’s an awesome major and will allow me to get my foot in the door and become more confident about all the job opportunities that come with it. One should have a stable job which pays a decent amount of money that they love at the same time. People need to find their middle ground.

  • My favorite classes in elementary school were Math and Science, which, not surprisingly, ended up giving my parents the idea of being an engineer. I even joined the math club, but when I wanted to join the science club, I did not have the time to participate in it. However, in high school I was known for singing every lyric of every song that I came to like, and developed an interest in music.

    I had come across some students that had recorded songs and I decided to do the same. When Junior year arrived, I started looking for people to make a band, which eventually, during my senior year, brought my friends and I countless memories that we would treasure forever. When I came to college, I was undecided on my major, but I was not undecided on my passion for writing, recording and performing. When my parents try to guide me towards different careers they always speak of job opportunities and money, which for me had major distractions. But what they didn’t know, was that I had always known my potential for being successful.

    I have seen countless stories, videos and messages about people succeeding when following their passion. I know that by following my passion I will be in the right path of life because when no matter how hard the challenge is I know that I will be successful and enjoy the pain of working in it.

  • I think following your bliss is the only way you will be truly happy on the inside! No one but you has walked in your shoes and your experience is your reality. If you follow your bliss you are taking ownership for your happiness and success in all the areas of your life and in things or activities that you have to do or participate in. You may have to make sacrifices and you may become unpopular but in the end the reward is yours.

  • Knowing yourself and following your bliss is not always easy but will in the end bring you the most happiness. Everyone believes that you have to go to college and get a job based on a certain income, when really we should be focusing on what we enjoy. Within the past one hundred years society has become so much more industrialized and targets the need for big and better things. Rather they should be doing something they would greatly enjoy more for the long period of time you have to do it before retirement even at whatever pay you may be getting so that every day you wake up to something you want to be doing. This world is a lot more than material possession, and now that we’re in the twenty-first century we have a hard time seeing that. Knowing yourself and what you want to be is the first step to the path of bliss. When you know every day that you do something enjoyable that you’re going to have to do for almost two thirds of your life you realize that you’ve truly accomplished a goal that not many others reach. This is a generation of the future that can take advantage of the choices we are given today, and the studies we are allowed to apply ourselves too. In the past colleges either cost too much, or wasn’t need for most hands on labor jobs that were around, today we get to place ourselves in college courses that allow for the learning of a subject in correspondent to the job you pertain to want. This option really opens the choices of today’s world, as you can choose to be anything due to the knowledge collected throughout the years and the power of integrity to achieve happiness.

  • Money and success are not the answers, they cannot be. Our world is so obsessed with the consumption of more stuff that it is overtaking us. We may, then, have full pockets, but we will also have very empty lives if we continue down this path. Instead we need to live passionate, purposeful lives to make us happy.

    I am working to be a graphic designer and the obsession with the consumption of more stuff has been an eye opener to me. If I allow myself to get into the advertising business and make more advertisements to persuade people to buy more things, where in life does that get me? I may have money, but is anything meaningful? Am I benefiting a cause greater than myself? No, I am not. That’s the problem. People are so obsessed with finding what will make them happy that they forget that if they search for happiness, they won’t find it.

    I loved what Frankl said about happiness, “Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it.” The more we search for it, the farther away it seems. Instead, we should dedicate our lives to something greater than ourselves, something we are passionate about, and then happiness will follow.

  • As a young adult, just like other many young adults, we tend to dream about doing things that are substantially “out of reach” and we begin to get discouraged because we do not know how to achieve whatever we have been dreaming of. Many of us dream to be out of the ordinary especially having a career or a lifestyle that doesn’t include having to wear a suit and tie everyday. Everyday I get asked why I chose to become a DMP(Digital Media Production) student instead of becoming something my family would much rather me to be such as a lawyer or another teacher. In no way am I saying those occupations aren’t someone else’s dream, but it is just not mine. I want to be involved with technology and the entertainment business, creating visuals and sounds millions of people will admire one day. Everyday I become more and more grateful for the decision I made because I am loving what I do thus far and this truly brings me bliss. In other words, if you can find balance with the world while doing what you love, I feel as if one has truly found an area of bliss.

  • This article/ lesson is by far my favorite. You can give people step by step instructions in how to be “successful” but without a sense of passion in that success it is meaningless. Waking up every morning to go to a nine to five job that continues to suck the life out of you seven days a week is the life that many of us fall into because of our societal need to be “successful” over being happy, or at least content. to be truly successful we must allow our hearts to play a role in our educational and work lives. For example, in my college career I consistently find students who are stressed out of their mind, frantically trying to stuff facts into their brains for the sake of a test, over the sake of gaining education; a marvelous privilege we are allowed in this country, unlike so many others. I understand that we put ourselves through this misery out of fear of failing, out of the fear being old, lonely, and broke.

    Instead of letting this fear control us, the education system (high school, college, etc.) has to promote explorations of all the different fields education has to offer. There could be millions of potential doctors that have it in them to cure cancer, but instead they are sitting in an office because they took the most obvious path,and stuck to it fulfill that need of being recognized as successful because they have some sort of career, no matter how much they hate it.

    In my opinion, when you explore different educational options, you explore yourself. When you know yourself, you find your passion and when that passion is sparked there is no putting out that flame. we work harder because it is not only a job, it is a part of you. I would like to share my passion with you all. My name is Noemi, and my passion is helping animals. In my teenage years i always found a warmth in me when I volunteered my time to animals shelters, little did i know that this warmth was my passion flame. Three years ago I went started my college career for a degree in psychology, not fully understanding why other than “being good at it”. One day on campus i saw a flyer for a local animal preserve looking for help, and the second I stepped onto the property I knew in my heart there was no other place i was meant to be at the moment; my flame had been ignited. Two years later, I am still volunteering my time at this animal preserve, and working towards completing my psychology degree with a minor in biology.

    After i graduate, I plan to complete my PHD in Ethology (the study of animal behavior). This is my passion, something I would go to the end of the Earth to achieve, and that is why I will be successful.

    Imagine a world where everyone did exactly what they WANTED to do. The quality of life would have no limits.

  • This lesson is something that I have searched to see recommended. It is very easy to search for a job because it pays well or because you have summers and holidays off. The reality is that when that enjoyment ends, you still have a job to do. If you do not enjoy what you are doing, you are not going to do a good job and you will poison the passion in those around you that may love what they are doing. This lesson is something that I learned a few years ago and that is why I am currently moving forward towards a career that will give me bliss in helping others. I currently work where I help others and I enjoy it more than the years in retail and straight customer service.

  • Thankfully, I have been fortunate to have followed my passions as a teacher in the arts for 35 years now. What Color Is Your Parachute was almost like a bible of how to determine and follow your bliss back in the ’80s when I first encountered it. It still sits on my shelf today. The updated editions are just as valuable because what most people need is validation that what they believe to be their passion really can be turned into meaningful work.

    What is not specifically spelled out by many well-meaning passion preaching gurus is that the process takes time to evolve. It rarely happens with any regularity in a short amount of time. In fact, if a time limit is placed on finding the passionate place, that person has missed the point. The point is to be open minded and open to possibilities as they come your way throughout a life time. This can mean doing the tough work of setting aside expectations and trusting that the right thing will come around if you put enough right effort into whatever it is you are doing at the moment.

    Sometimes it takes a very long time for the right opportunities to come along and very often a leap of faith is involved in making the decision to drop one thing and follow the bliss when it happens. This takes fortitude and guts. But those things are possible in most everyone who is working at right work which means doing a good job at whatever you’re doing at the moment with whatever you have to work with. Do your best as often as possible whether anyone is watching or not. True, most everyone is looking at their phone instead of you, but when it matters, someone will be watching.

    What’s also important is to treat everyone the same no matter how they treat you or others. That’s their issue to own. You can’t change anything or anyone but yourself, and you cannot control anything or anyone but yourself, so spend time learning acceptance and self-control. They are simple lessons really, but sometimes difficult to learn because they don’t show tangible results as quickly as the “click here” mentality many people have adopted thanks to technology.

    The technology that is supposedly connecting us in more ways is in some fashions disconnecting us from ourselves. That isn’t rhetorical. It means that we spend so much energy trying to connect to technology in the name of numbers, that we fail to notice ourselves and what our purpose(s) are in the machine of life and work. True, we are children, parents, siblings, spouses, employees, friends, enemies, lovers, volunteers, and on and one, and we tend to lose sight of our core desires (passions) because it feels like we have all these expectations to meet because we have 1500 friends on a social media site. That’s a perspective problem. It’s also a choice to be in control of our selves and understand that self is the thing we truly have any control over.

    According to the list, I am already doing meaningful work, but I am just to embark on another leg of the journey for myself. I’m diving into graduate work for the first time in 30 years and the potential to fail is the same for me and it is for anyone else. The difference lies in the fact that I have the experience telling me to be patient. Good things do happen.

  • It took time for me to come to know myself and it took changing circumstances to follow my bliss. After 17 years with a large HMO I left an Administrative Clerical career to do just this-follow my passion.

    Early on in my career I had always been tied to healthcare in one way or another: pharmacy cashier, Orthopaedic file clerk, then to the granddaddy of HMO’s. Early on in life I knew I liked helping people and in a way that was tangible and noble. But life is crazy, beautiful and I struggled to figure out what that meant for me or believe that I was capable!

    Motherhood came at 20 years old and I spent 18 years just getting by in different jobs and then in different positions within the HMO but each time advancing. I volunteered within the organization and in the community to fulfill my need to help people; and to show my son the value in people’s lives.

    The last position I held as an Administrative Secretary within the organization was an awesome experience. In time healthcare changed and so did our local regional administrative leadership. Within my department this created a revolving door of managers which left no stability or continuity in department processes, needs and especially conflict of physicians and employees.

    Increasing work load, and responsibility brought me more money but less time away from my son. And without a consistent management style to refer to I no longer found joy in what I did or that I was helping people.

    In the end I was fortunate to be able to take time off to decompress and figure something’s out. Did I really want to leave my job after so much time invested? What would I do if I left? Could I afford to leave?! What can I do to build on the career I’ve established and still find happiness in my work?

    The answer was nursing. Which was hilarious to me because I never thought I was smart enough or able to take time off for nursing school. But I remembered the awesome nurses I worked with everyday and how what they did had such an awesome impact on people’s lives and let’s not mention how knowledgable they have to be!

    I realized how nursing meets my need to work with and help people, to keep learning and to build on the career I’ve already established.

    I’ve just completed my first year of college and man was it tough! But I’ve applied everything I thought I was made of and learned new things about myself along the way.

    Money can’t replace time, fulfillment or make the rough days a little easier. When you search and find what you need and want, money isn’t the main issue, you don’t mind spending your time and you will be fulfilled.

  • During a professional development, after
    completing my first year of teaching, we were asked, “If you were not in
    education, what else you would do?” I thought I could come up with a list,
    especially since I held various policy internships. After the time was up, I
    still couldn’t think of anything, it was this moment I realized I was in the
    right field. I know I am following my passion.

    Education is my career and my life. It is not an
    easy path, I face my fair challenges but the last five years energize me to
    keep moving forward. Every day as a teacher, I love to see my students find the
    joy of investing in their academic achievement because they know they have the
    skills to be successful. I love working with parents and showing them ways to
    support their students at home so they are the advocates of their child’s life.
    The endless to do list, the weekend stress over lesson planning, the days that
    are harder than others for me are worth it. It takes a unique individual to be
    in the field of education and it is this uniqueness that keeps me intrigue in
    my work.

    I am consistently told, Karolina, “I never saw
    you as a teacher.” I smile at them and agree with them, I didn’t either. I saw
    my world differently in college because it was communicated that the purpose in
    a career was to earn money, however, one day I heard a different message on how
    to pursue a career: Follow your passion and money will come.

    By embodying this message, I have seen early
    success in my career than I have anticipated. I am more proud though that my
    success impacts the success of others and this drives my motivation every day.
    Education is my life because it feeds my soul.

  • My decision to attend graduate school to become an elementary school educator was at one time hindered by what my definition of success was. Frankl’s words about finding meaning and purpose speak deeply to me. What once was a desire and erroneous passion to want financial success above all – the idea of commuting and working seemingly endless hours, leading to a diminishing, and simply unhappy, unsatisfying lifestyle was one I was willing to endure. I found a love for the field of psychology, and wanted to pursue a doctorate in the field. After a year and a half out of college, I wanted nothing more than the financial reward that mundane, and uninteresting careers would give back to me; then, something changed in me. I began substitute teaching, and spending much time in elementary schools due to the psychology research position I had been working at for months. I came alive when I was in front of the classroom, and naturally connected with children. I had always ruled out the possibility of becoming a teacher, for the difficult to admit fact that it is not a career that is known for its monetary gain. I began an internal, personal, and mentally taxing journey, constantly going back and forth with where I wanted to take my career. My family would comment that they had never seen me so happy as when I was teaching, or around children. I struggled with the decision to follow my true passion, where my true purpose, meaning, and love of life was – in teaching. It was once difficult for me to admit that I had counted out who I was meant to be, and where I was meant to go with my career, simply because of my inadequate and naive definition of success. Now, I find happiness, intellectual satisfaction, and a new level of success that I never knew could be attainable until I started on my teaching journey. Certainly, all of the money in the world could not buy the sheer joy I have found in discovering myself and what my meaning and purpose is in life. Now, I have never been so sure of who I am, where I want to go, and what true success is: it is waking up every single day feeling so happy to be doing what I am about to commence, and not thinking twice about the financial success that may or may not come along with it. I have found my bliss – it has just taken a little bit longer to realize it.

  • I really do feel this article brings a lot to the table, that you should really be invested in your job to do outstanding work at your job. It doesn’t make sense to put so much effort, money, and work into something that you don’t have the energy to wake up in the morning for. Sure, no one never wants to wake up to go to work, but being able to work for a company of your liking in an area you advance in is worth getting out of your comfy bed. Adding to that, because you have that degree the expectations are high and it’s up to you to prove your worth.

    In my first quarter at Savannah College of Art and Design, one of our foundation classes was design. With the luck I had I got one of the toughest design professors the school had. He had strict rules and especially high expectations for the whole class. He knew that because we got accepted to this serious art school, he expected everyones final project to be their best work. At the start of his class I thought he was insane, and as classes went on not only did I understand his views on teaching, my work improved greatly. Our last two projects we got to do the project in our own ways, he asked about what we liked and why we liked it to put in our final project. He set us up for these three months to put our passion and all of our hard work to truly care about the work we give in. I felt that was the most important to truly succeed in the future job I decide to be in.

  • I worked a retail job that was not at all fulfilling. Even though it paid the bills and was convenient to have because the hours were good; I unfortunately spent most days dreading clocking in then counting down the hours until I was off. It was a job I stayed at because I was comfortable, met sales goals, and was able to remain level-headed when it came to hot-headed customers. As I read through the questions of “how to find meaningful work” I realized that I was unable to confidently agree with any of the statements in relation to my retail job I previously had. My “gifts to the world” are so much more than being able to sell something that someone probably does not need. Although this job had taught me a level of patience I never knew I could achieve, I don’t believe it added to my grander “life story”.

    Fast forward to a year later, I now work for the Boys & Girls Club and feel as if my “gifts to the world” are truly being shared with students on a daily basis. As I went back and reread all the things that define meaningful work I realized my current job fulfills all of them successfully. I tutor kids in reading and math, and seeing the improvements they make in just days is considerably more rewarding than any sales goal I met. I can confidently say that this job has become a milestone in my life story.

  • I feel that nobody knows a person better than yourself. Ever since I was 5 years old I have had the passion to be a sports broadcaster for ESPN and my passion has never been lost and it never will be lost.

    Sure some sacrifices have to be made but I am willing to do that because my passion for sports broadcasting is undeniable. Plus if sacrifices are made, then the rewards you receive will be huge.

    Following your passion will only make you more happy in life. And if you have a passion, chase it, like I am doing right now.

  • I never understood how some people are willing to spend their whole life doing work they don’t have love for, just for the money. What’s the point? When we die, none of that money comes with us. We only have a small amount of time in the world and that time and how we spend it is the only thing of real value. Nothing else should matter. Once that time is over, so is everything else materialistic in our lives. At 21 years old, I have come to realize this and it has made me look at my life differently. I have a deeper appreciation for all of my every day experiences and interactions. It made me realize that I see no meaning in my job. I’m working for a multi-billion dollar company selling shoes and handbags and clothes that I don’t even like. Aside from money, what else am I getting out of the 40 hours a week of my life that I spend there? I feel like I’m selling my life; 1 hour of my life in this world for $X, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I need a lot more than money. So I quit my job; put in my notice today, actually. This article couldn’t have been more perfect. Now, I’m off to find myself and follow my bliss. Thank you.

  • Growing up my mother always shared stories of all the jobs she juggled when she came to the United States from Sinaloa, Mexico. Raising three children on her own, she was a domestic workers for several years and worked as a waitress at the same time all while having to depend on welfare to get us by. With not even graduating from high school, she felt her only option for a stable job without depending on welfare was to go to beauty school and become a cosmetologist. She always reminded us that she never wanted my siblings or I follow a career based on financial necessity, or to struggle as much as she has. This lesson reminds me deeply of my mothers advice, and she too feels like doing something for the money will not bring you happiness or satisfaction. She believes in having choices, and that is why she instilled the importance of education in my siblings and I.

    I genuinely believe that if your heart is not in your career, you should not be doing it. When I refer to success, I refer to having a career in what you love and what you are passionate about, not in what you hate but makes you money because money is not the key to being happy. Victor E. Frankl’s quote is something everyone should take into consideration when choosing a career path, “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose”. A life without meaning is a wasted one, no matter how rich you are or how big your house is or how many cars you have. Personally, I also feel that if your career is not helping others, society, or the environment in any way, it is also a waste. I take this lesson in the most positive way, as my hopeful career as a politician is based off of what I can do to help society, not for a paycheck or being recognized.

  • I am pursuing a career as a classical musician. Jobs are scarce in general but even for lower level professional orchestras, they want to see a full resume. It’s hard to make it in this industry as is but it’s even harder when you’re starting from the bottom and don’t qualify for the smallest jobs. You just have to practice, be as involved in extra ensembles and competitions as possible, practice some more, and just work your butt off. It will pay off.

  • I think it is important that we teach our students to FOSTER their passion rather than follow it. To follow it implies that these students already know what they consider their passion and are willing to take steps to achieve this form of self-actualization. The reality is that not every student has fully experienced the world to harness their curiosity towards something, and not every student will have the same amount of willpower to stay committed to harnessing said curiosity. If you blindfolded a person with a thick cloth and told them they were still capable of seeing a mile away from their current position, would they believe you? Not likely; they would need to take the blindfold off. Similarly, if we tell our peers that they just need to follow their passion to achieve happiness they will feel confused unless they understand what to do.

    I’ll leave an anecdote to emphasize my point. I’m currently pursuing a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. This major was suggested by my parents, yet most people would dismiss this suggestion as it is believed that your parents do not fully understand your niches. Upon hearing this suggestion I wasn’t too excited with the idea of engineering, so I decided to research my major and learn of its main principles. I slowly began to become more interested as I learned of all the technicalities of my major. I then began studying advanced math and jet engines prior to my freshman year. In college, I learned to program FPGA boards and calculate physical properties, which further fostered my passion. I now can’t stop thinking about my major, and I can’t even make a cup of coffee without wondering about the physics of my instant coffee machine.

    What I’m trying to say is that you have to know something before you can understand it, and just telling people to “follow their passion” will make them listless. Most people agree that anything good in this world must be done with some elbow grease, and as such we need to learn about our world before we can make the decision to devote ourselves to something.

  • ‘To choose one’s own way,’ is a very powerful statement that serves to encapsulates so wonderfully the message Frankl is sharing. By truly choosing which direction an individual will follow, there is the empowerment, the sense of purpose even if it is the road less traveled, it is by their choice to do so. Granted these concepts are often difficult for many to accept when it comes to an effort that fits in the work category versus the fun or play category.

    Individuals who choose military service as their occupational training often have this lessons associated with work and play efforts more directly taught to them, and do carry the lessons through their lives once out of service. That is when the roads of choice reappear in what occupation does one do now, the fear, uncertainty and anxiety can be overwhelming. This part of Frankl’s words can be a bridge for many to overcome the negative emotions associated with the search for employment by simply choosing to go one owns way.