Until recently, the New Age movement encouraged readers to “love what you do if you want to do something extraordinary”. Readers were told by New Age celebrity authors and gurus that if they could fill their lives doing what they love to do, it would make their lives extraordinary and then they would realise their life purpose. Given that a major part of a working person’s day is filled with work, paid or unpaid, it was easy to assume that in order to find your purpose you had to get a job that you loved. That is extraordinary.
Intentional or not, the ideas touted by celebrity authors and gurus – whose qualifications or careers were based in some form of healing or natural therapy – often prompted life purpose seekers to be like them.
“I did it,” they proclaimed, “and so can you!”
Their disciples made it a life purpose goal to pursue some type of personally meaningful career in the healing arts. Guru authors taught their readers that they could have what they wanted if they applied the manifesting process correctly.
“You can have it all,” they said. “You can have a job that you love and you can make as much money as you want out of it.”
They even suggested that the more you loved your brilliant career, the more money you were destined to make out of it. Passion for your job and your purpose were considered the same thing. In this way, these healing based careers become synonymous with fulfilling your life purpose. There was an assumption that if you couldn’t swap your current, dreary job for one in the healing arts then you had not yet found your purpose. All you had to do to find your purpose in life was to think long and hard about what type of work you would love to do in the healing arts, and then study the relevant course to get your qualifications, set up shop, overcome your fear of asking for money for your service, and commence trading. In addition, this entire process was usually done without a business plan, because it rested in the hands of the Gods, and the universe or the angels were going to take care of the details. It was a “build it and they will come” attitude. This approach works when the “builder” makes a correct prediction, but making business predictions is not what builders do best.
Many disciples, self-help readers and seekers have in the past spent a lot of time, energy, space and money devoted to pursuing the fantastic notion that to find an extraordinary career and make a living from it meant you were living your purpose. However, only a handful of seekers are still in business and even less are making a full time living that supports all their family’s needs. It now appears that the path to finding your life purpose and doing great things was sabotaged from the beginning.
As a consequence, myths about realising your life purpose are being dismantled, and attitudes are evolving. Human survival instincts have risen to the challenge. They have done so out of the very down to earth human necessity to pay the bills, put a roof over your head and food on the table. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs makes sense to everyone, including seekers. Self-actualisation is the last of five human needs you are meant to worry about, not the first.
You don’t have to love what you do to create something extraordinary. Loving what you do is no longer the only prerequisite to finding a meaningful career or path in life. It might help, but it’s not the only way to manifest the extraordinary and it’s not the only path to your life purpose.
Why do you get out of bed and go to work in a job that you hate? Do you love the fact that it keeps you in total control of your finances, or that it pays for your love of travel, or your collection of musical instruments, or your passion for watercolour painting, or your children’s education? Why you do what you habitually do will give you major insights into your life purpose.
When you love WHY you are doing what you do, whatever type of work, paid or unpaid, then you’re in exactly the right place to realise something great. Maybe that is your purpose.