“Life is difficult,” said M. Scott Peck in his classical book, A Road Less Traveled. “This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths,” he explains. “It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it.”
Despite your more than able mind, your open heart, and your best intentions, life can throw you an unexpected curveball. You might be inexplicably confronted with a chronic illness despite your best efforts to pursue a healthy lifestyle. You might get fired from a job because the company could not keep pace with the competition. And the love of your life might leave you for some petty reason.
These things happen. Bad things can happen to good people. While you may be true and brave with how you deal with everything, impeccable with your word and earnest in your efforts, essential aspects of your world could still slip into entropy.
The question is not how you can avoid all the chaos heading your way, stirred up by causes outside your control, but how, despite the unpredictability of the human condition, you can carve out a rich, happy, and fulfilling life.
Besides adopting the right attitude and practicing more wisdom and kindness in dealing with difficult people, the best answer might be finding work that you love.
The reason to focus on work as your weapon of choice in the battle for happiness is because that is where you spend most of your time. If you can find work that you love, then this will be time well spent.
Characteristics of Meaningful Work
For work to be meaningful, it has to provide you with some unique benefits. Without these benefits, the work is mere drudgery, a mechanical way of earning a paycheck and paying for your livelihood.
Here, then, are 3 essential characteristics of meaningful work reported by people who love what they do for a living:
Contribution does not necessarily mean self-sacrifice for the sake of a noble ideal. Doctors, for example, are ranked as some of the highest paid and most admired professions in the world.
The medical field is all about contribution. It’s at the forefront of careers focused on making a positive difference to human beings. In this case, it seeks to alleviate human suffering caused by ill health.
However, becoming a doctor is not an easy route. The most formidable gateway to even getting started is the challenging MCAT exams. It’s all that stands between pre-med students with exemplary GPAs and medical school admissions. Fortunately, there are tutorial groups like Next Step Test Prep to help students pass the MCAT. Preparing on their own, students might not study the right materials or get stuck on comprehending some essential topics.
It’s almost impossible to stick with something for the long run if it is boring. When work is mechanical, repetitive, and predictable, it’s boring because it doesn’t stir human creativity.
Often people mistake a good job for a lucrative one, but if you are doing work that bores you to tears for the sake of a handsome paycheck you will neither be happy nor fulfilled.
Creative work, in contrast, increases your clarity, purpose, and joy. You feel motivated to solve problems, empowered by your knack for coming up with ingenious solutions, and encouraged enough by accumulating successes to gradually improve your performance.
Some ingredients of creativity are autonomy, complexity, and reward.
Autonomy is an essential aspect of creative work. Unless you are free to make decisions, you can’t be ingenious.
Complexity stirs interest. If something is too simple, it does not excite a need to come up with a new perspective, solution, or way of doing things.
Finally, the end product has to be rewarding. Rewards can be psychological, spiritual, or financial. There has to be some kind of payoff for the time and energy invested in a task.
Fortunately, in today’s knowledge economy, there are many opportunities for creative work, ranging from freelance writing to graphic design and from writing code to building a gorgeous website.
Doing engaging work is a rarity. Only about 30 percent of American workers are engaged. The other 70 percent are either going through the motions (not engaged) or hate their jobs (actively disengaged.)
The best way to describe engaging work is to compare it to working with a jigsaw puzzle. In its initial stage, a puzzle is chaotic. Then, through patient application, you use intelligence to tame chaos, and what was once random information now expresses order and structure. Engagement, then, can be defined as the joy of putting things together in better way than you originally found them.
A manager, for example, who takes a motley crew of workers and turns them into a collaborative team is turning chaos into order. For someone who loves encouraging people to excel, this whole process is engaging.
The Money Factor
It’s commonly assumed that the purpose of work is to earn money. This is not entirely true. Billionaire Warren Buffett is a perfect example of someone who works for the sheer fun of it. In fact, he jokes that he plans to retire 5 years after his death and run his business through a Ouija board. Meaningful work, then, is work that fulfills you on many levels. It’s a perfect vehicle for joyful self-expression.
About the Author: “I’m [David Jones] a creative blogger with five years of experience. I focus on travel, business, lifestyle, health and gaming related topics. I’m working with a team of writers and clients satisfaction is our core goal. I have contributed contents to many high quality sites including entrepreneur, huffington etc… .”