Drawing by Kitty Wong, an illustrator and fashion designer living in Hong Kong. Follow her blog here, her lovely tumblr here, and shop around in her Society6 shop. And if you like this, there’s more to come.
A few weeks ago, my father graced my inbox with a list he’s talked about for years: Zig Ziglar’s list of 100 things he learned on his way to the top. See my intro blog post to the illustration series here. And if you’re interested in seeing the list, just email me: bri.garcia7 @ gmail-dot-com. It’s worth keeping around.
I came across this blog post from one of my new favorite blogs, Barking Up the Wrong Tree.
This post jarred me a bit. A lot of us probably grow up being told to “follow our passion”, and that this is the key to having a happy life and finding work we’ll love. Apparently, this is all wrong, and here’s why:
The first fundamental misunderstanding is this idea that we all have a pre-existing passion that’s relevant to a career, and if we could just discover it, then we would be fine. Research says actually most people don’t have one.
The second problem is that it’s built on this misbelief that matching your work to something you have a very strong interest in is going to lead to a long-term satisfaction and engagement in your career.
If you study people who end up loving what they do, here’s what you find and if you study the research on it, you find the same thing: Long-term career satisfaction requires traits like a real sense of autonomy, a real sense of impact on the world, a sense of mastery that you’re good at what you do, and a sense of connection in relation to other people.
Apparently, I’ve been thinking about it all wrong. But this makes complete sense: in order to feel we have purpose and really connect to what we do day in and day out, all day for years and years, we have to understand how our work reverberates in the world. On top of this, we should also want to evolve and grow in our craft, and as I’ve pointed to before, I think it really boils down to curiosity. And the last part, having a sense of connection to others, also falls under systems thinking, which has been listed in numerous studies and books as a huge contributor to happiness and success.
And so number #84: “Go as far as you can see, and when you get there, you will be able to see farther” speaks to me in this way. We may not know where we’ll end up, but vision matters. We may not all be masters of our craft yet, but I’d argue there is no final mastery; the winning is in growth. We may sometimes feel over or underwhelmed by our daily grinds, but knowing we’re impacting our teams, companies, markets, industries and economies makes the world (literally) of a difference.
And curiosity. That will take you far, forever.