A few of days ago I was teaching a workshop full of smart young men trying to find away to get ahead in life. Ages 19 to 23, many of them are trying to make their way from man-child to grown man. They’re clever enough to know they just don’t want to make money; they want a career, a job that will ignite their passions. They are perplexed by the challenge of how to be practical yet fulfilled in their jobs. They’re struggling with a crisis of confidence.
After attending a prestigious boy’s school some of them have yet to find a permanent place in the working community, others have already been made redundant before they made a mark. Many feel they will never live up to their potential. They came to the workshop looking for answers and hope. While hope is important, it is not a method.
My message was clear. There is something very important that they’ve overlooked. Before they can find the answers to all of their pressing questions, they need to know the answer to what I consider is the most important question:
What makes you happy?
I was sad that some of my boys couldn’t remember the last time they felt pure happiness. Others had to peel back the layers of self imposed and external pressure to find a shining moment of genuine joy. I asked them to anchor themselves in that moment so they don’t forget what it feels like to be happy, because honestly, happiness is fleeting. You want to catch it and savour it when you can. There’s nothing as precious as a hearty laugh or the joy you experience when helping someone in need or perhaps it’s the bliss of the moment you realise you are so happy you can’t imagine being anywhere else.
We can’t expect to find that happiness every day. You have to catch it when you can. But knowing what it feels like will inspire you to seek it out in every facet of your life. When you follow your passion and align it with your values and beliefs, you will find lasting happiness. Now that’s the kind of job you want.