I have come to an interesting realization the other day, after a long, busy and satisfying work day. Don’t you love those days? Where you don’t even notice the time passing by because you’re so immersed in your work. Those are my favorite days.
A while ago I wrote a review on a book I read about finding your Ikigai. The book also mentions this work flow I am talking about and how this contributes to a long, happy life. I couldn’t agree more: I love my flowy work days far more than my lazy weekend days. I hate those days. I hate being non-productive, bored and lazy. That’s NOT why I came to this life.
I don’t have a passion
A little dramatic, I know. But that doesn’t make it any less true for me. What’s even more interesting is that I am not someone who is ‘following their passion’. I love my job, but I wouldn’t call it my passion. I don’t jump out of bed with joy every morning or spend every day smiling from ear to ear. I’m not sure I am a very passionate person, but I do get in the flow. This brings me to my next point – part one of my life-changing realization.
Your job doesn’t need to be your PASSION in order for you to enjoy it or to get in the flow. At this moment in my life, my job is my Ikigai. It makes me happy, brings me lots of positive energy and makes me feel super accomplished at the end of the day. I feel good about myself and the work I do, I feel like I am using many of my abilities and I am learning new things all the time. I am still being challenged and it’s almost never boring. That’s a pretty great thing.
If money wasn’t an issue
Part two of my realization: you know how people sometimes ask you what you would do if money wasn’t an issue? People often answer this question with: I’d quit my job and travel the world. That’s great. But take a step back and look at what you wouldn’t have. Me, a passionless person, would not have those flowy workdays that make me feel so good and accomplished. If I didn’t need to work, I probably wouldn’t be doing this job. I am not going to deny that.
The reason why I’m not going to deny that is because money (specifically: financial independence) has always been my driving force. My mother always struggled with money and the only thing I always knew for sure is that I wanted to be financially independent. It was my one and only goal – it still is. It has driven me to go to university, work my ass off and get my PhD. I am so fucking proud of myself, I can’t put it into words. The fact that I NEED to work for money and want to be financially independent has made all these things possible.
What working for money has given me
My point is this: most of us want to stop worrying about money, quit our jobs and live the life we ‘really want’. We see this lack of money as something that holds us back. But it doesn’t have to be. Think of all the things you’ve made yourself do because you need to earn a living. Think of the ways you’ve challenged yourself and grown as a person. How different you are now compared to 5-10 years ago. How much you’ve learned and how much stronger you are. I know I am much wiser, stronger and more self-confident than I was 10 years ago.
This all hit me at the end of a fantastic work day. Not passionate or life-changing, but very, very satisfying. I hadn’t noticed the time go by. I had almost forgotten to eat lunch. I had accomplished more than I thought I would and I was feeling great. As I turned off the lights in my office and locked the door I thought to myself: someone who doesn’t NEED to work for money might never feel this way. And I suddenly felt really sad for those people. Everyone should feel this sense of achievement and accomplishment. It’s what makes my life worth living.