Some people know what is their contribution in the world and for what cause they are working, however many people struggle to find the right answer and get tired of thinking about what their life-purpose is.
“What did I come here for?”
“What am I doing to contribute to a better world?”
“How can I find more meaning in my life, in this profession?”
Some people think that to have a meaningful life they need to do something greater from what they actually do or something that makes them known and remembered in humanity. Who said it has to be like this?
Our purpose can be found in small attitudes and activities that we have throughout our daily lives, it is just a matter of how we see and evaluate things.
Moreover, many people think that finding their purpose has exclusive to be in finding the ideal profession. That way of thinking puts a lot of pressure on us, doesn't it?
I would like to share the work done by psychologists Amy Wrzesniewski & Jane Dutton on Jobs, Careers and “Callings”
The main distinctions are these:
People who have Jobs are only interested in the material benefits of work and do not seek or receive any other kind of reward from it. Work is not an end in itself, but rather a mean that allows individuals to acquire the resources needed to enjoy their time away from Work. The main interests and ambitions of job holders are not expressed through their work.
In contrast, people who have careers have a deeper personal investment in their work and understand their achievements not only through monetary gain, but through personal advancement within the structures in companies. This advancement often brings greater social position, greater "power" in the context of occupation and greater self-esteem for the worker.
Finally, people that considers themselves as having a "Call" consider that their work is inseparable from their lives. A person who believes in working in a "calling" does not work for financial gain or career advancement, but rather for the accomplishment that the work itself brings to them. Thus, people are in this category, normally see themselves with more life purpose and tend to feel more complete than people that see themselves in the other categories.
The interesting thing about this study is that the distinction of Job-Career-Call does not necessarily depend on the occupation. Within any occupation, one can find individuals with all three types of relationships with their work. Although one can expect to find a larger number of people who declare themselves as "call" in certain occupations, for example, teachers and health professionals, it is plausible that salespeople, technicians, factory workers, janitors, etc. can see their work as a "Call". This has been proven in research.
At different times in our lives we can experience these distinctions not only for our work itself, but you can use this classification for any other activity that you exercise in our day to day, such as taking care of children, caring for a relative, cooking, running in a group of friends, belonging to a group of discussions, etc.
How do you perceive each of these activities of yours? Each you do you find more meaningful?
Maybe you have already heard the story of the three constructors who were doing an specific work.
A person passed by on the street and asked each one of them what they were doing.
The first one replied: "I'm carrying bricks"
The second one replied: "I'm just doing some construction work”
The third one answered: "I'm making a temple where many people can find peace"
Can you understand the difference in between their feelings and sense of purpose?
It doesn't matter WHAT you do, it's HOW you do it and how you face and perceive every situation in your life.
The more you manage to re-signify the things you do, the more chances you will have of seeing the world in a more relevant way and consequently being happier.
1. How do you see your activities today? Which ones do you think are worth-wile and give you a sense of purpose? What do you see as a job, a career or a call?
2. Which of these activities are more dominant?
3. What do you experience most often?
4. Do you feel privileged to do any activity?
If you want to find more purpose for your existence, a good tip is to include more activities in which you see as more meaningful or you feel as a privilege to be doing them and not as obligations and duties to be completed.