Confident of how to choose your career? Think Again.

You’ve arrived at the crossroads of university and lets imagine that you want to become ’successful’. Maybe you’re sick of people telling you that you can’t do it. Maybe you’re sick of hearing all the self-help woo woo. Maybe you recently got a shock after learning what your favourite hero Elon Musk had to endure to get to where he was today, and you’re thinking…who in the right mind would choose to go through that?

finding-career

Now, if you approached finding a career like most people do, here’s how you would conceptualize it:

– Start out by applying for the BIG 4 or some-other high paying firm.
– OK, great, you got in, let’s try to climb the corporate ladder.
– Shit, that was hard, but now let’s try to aim for a managerial role.
– You eventually get there. But now it’s 10 years later and the mere thought of being married to your job for the first 5 makes you wonder who the hell said it was ‘glamourous’ in the first place.
– You say “heck it” and buy a new BMW. Ahh, that feels better.
– Dreams of travelling and changing the world evaporate. Along with most of your time.

That’s how most people try to do it. And if you haven’t noticed, most people aren’t happy. In fact, most people are quite the opposite. This is not a coincidence.

In case you haven’t read a few books on how to build a fulfilling life, this is how people who actually are happy do it:

– Decide that they aren’t going to stand for a life solely of material pursuits & mediocrity.
– Observe the career opportunities that overlap with their talents, values and passions.
– Choose the most aligned path and work their asses off in a niche they want to master
– Gain experience from constantly exploring new business/career ventures
– Finally discover their true passions and how they want to contribute to the world
– Build highly successful business/career around it that leverage their experiences & talents

Pleasure Vs Fulfilment Mindset??

These are the two mindsets of crafting a career. People who are always complaining about their bonuses see a career as medium for pleasure. People who become truly fulfilled see their careers as a medium for
fulfilment. Call it the “Pleasure mindset” versus the “Fulfilment mindset.”

pleasure mindset

One gives you lasting happiness and one keeps you treading water, always fighting to keep your face above the surface.

Most people with the ‘pleasure’ mindset tend to focus on more practical things like job stability, size and prestige of the company, monthly salary and how far up the ladder you’ve climbed relative to your peers.

Most people with the fulfilment mindset tend to focus on more emotional things like their passions, travelling the world, building great experiences, and doing work that gives you fulfilment.

People usually don’t focus on their fulfilment because having the power to purchase the latest car or the biggest house, provides a lot more tangible benefits in our minds. They feel more attractive in the moment when we think about them. There’s a clear image of a certain result in our head instead of that fluffy route of passion.

But here’s the kicker.

Pleasure however is a constant cycle of ups and downs…The more you feed it, the more it grows. “I will spend X amount of energy to receive Y reward.” And when you don’t, you feel a restless urge to find the next
shiny object. Fulfilment on the other hand is more of a continuous process. It requires one to focus on creating a life of alignment to ones strengths, values and passions. Combine that with the factors of
opportunity and environment, and what you can expect are incremental wins over a longer time as you adjust and tweak your trajectory along the way.

This is why you’ve heard stories of professionals who end up committing suicide or going into depression. They focus on filling their ever ballooning short-term desires rather than finding out what they stand for
and building a life around it . So when they eventually realise that money doesn’t actually bring them happiness, (and it doesn’t because happiness is a choice) they break down because they don’t want to admit living life as a lie.

With fulfilment, on the other hand, its about seeing your career as honing your craft for a form of self-expression. Just like how a potter slowly sculpts his master pieces, levelling up his skills in his chosen niche,
while being able to still make a comfortable living and savouring each moment – because he finds joy in the process.

Therefore, it is a better investment of one’s finite energy and discipline to focus on developing fulfilment in your career. It’s fine to still have pleasure. Hell, I’d like to travel with my family to Japan, but that’s not
what my mind will focus on this year. Instead, I’ll be looking at how I can add more value to the people around me, how I can improve in my strengths and which direction they are pointing me, how can I impact more people and innovate — and then focus on those. The money then naturally flows in as a side effect.

You are far greater than you could have ever imagined.

Most youths don’t know their direction simply because they do not carve out the time to sit down to do the inner work. Because of our upbringing and education system, most people only do so during major crossroads – University/ Graduation. Even when they do, they have no idea how to.

When you set aside time and learn the right skills to uncover what truly inspires and motivates you, you can start experiencing massive growth for both your career and personal life. For the past 2 years, I’ve been
obsessed on devising a universal system that allows anyone to build a career from their passions.

After studying the traits of hundreds of highly fulfilled and successful people, I’ve boiled it down to 3 things…

1) SEEK: You must know yourself to the core to live fully everyday

You must be able to uncover and throw out your baggage, and find out what matters most to you to find your inner fulfilment. Doing so will help you see the possibilities of the world and live true to yourself. Not doing so means you will always be in self-sabotage and feel an emptiness in you. I have developed exercises to help you develop true confidence, and connect the dots of your past. Its like laying out the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle of your strengths, passions & values from the box to see how they fit.

2) EXPLORE: You must take a targeted approach towards discovering your
passion

To accelerate the discovery of a passion that is sustainable as a career, you need to be able to narrow down on the sweet spot of inspirations, strengths and opportunities. You must get clear on your “hidden values” to
create a mission statement that embodies your value proposition to the world. It is so important to understand and have the ability to create your “purpose statement” because that is your trump card to both success and fulfilment. Without this… you’re as good as navigating without a compass.

3) TRANSFORM: Leverage on your purpose statement to explode your network and personal brand

You must be able to find and secure opportunities for valuable career experiences & mentorships. Doing so will help you get into high income careers you love. Once I found the internships and mentors in my life that
are aligned to my purpose statement, I could easily go out and create products and messages that had an impact on people. This led me to be able to coach & run workshops for people older than me and establish
partnerships with other companies as well.

When you’ve got these 3 pieces down… you will experience massive growth in your career & personal life, period.

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Sheng Wei is the founder of Pursue Your Passion, a community that helps people find and do work they love. His passions are in Personal Development, Advanced Personalised Learning, Entrepreneurship and Technology and occasionally chatting about life with people over coffee. He juggles between giving workshops and his course in the NTU Renaissance Engineering Programme. Visit: www.pursueyourpassion.co to find out more.

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