If you missed last week's blog on The Power Of Movement, go check it out!
Having a life purpose or passion is one of the keys to living a longer life. Think about it, if you have something that makes you jump out of bed in the morning do you think that'll keep you going longer than a life that is just "meh"?
It's unbelievable that so many people walk around hating their job. They drive long hours to get there, hate it while they're there, drive long hours back home, have a quick dinner, binge some Netflix, go to bed and repeat.
That sounds exhausting.... Don't you think?
But above that, it actually decreases your life expectancy. A great deal of research has been done on the subject and while much is correlational (it's hard to isolate job satisfaction from other areas of life) it pretty much all points to the same thing.
Job satisfaction lowers overall life satisfaction and when you are not satisfied in your life (stemming from your basic psychological needs not being met) then you have less reason to want to keep going. Our subconscious thoughts have greater power than we often know.
Now I'm definitely not saying you need to go and find a new job, leave your job, or anything like that but something to consider is the phrase "work to live, don't live to work." I do not even for a minute think you were put on this planet to work a job you hate your whole life and then die a dissatisfied human.
About a year and a half ago I asked my husband if he loved his job and he replied with "meh, it's fine." That blew me away! Do you honestly want to get to the end of your life and look back and say it was "just, fine"?
While working a job that you love is a great way to increase your life expectancy that doesn't mean that it's the reality for everyone. I am not naive enough to think that but that means you need to be doing other things to increase your overall satisfaction in life.
Life purpose and passion don't necessarily have to come from a job. Just remembering that large bodies of research have tested the hypothesis of the "spillover effect." That's where your stresses from work follow you to other aspects of your life. Just being aware of this can help tremendously.
My husband used to come home angry from his day at work. He had to drive an hour there and an hour back and his unit was new so it was a bit of a mess. He was very unsatisfied and he'd bring that home and let it out.
I suggested he try to find ways to not bring it in the house. Maybe on his drive home, he turned on some heavy metal music and gradually moved to happier and happier movement. Or he took a couple of minutes at home to rant but then once it was out, let it go and find a way to enjoy his evening.
Once he became aware that that's what he was doing he worked hard to be able to leave work at work and enjoy his off time. His overall satisfaction in the other aspects of his life and his mental health increase a lot.
This is critical. You need to discover what your life purpose is. I fully believe we are all put on this earth for a reason. We all have a purpose. But so many people make it to the end of their life and even if their life was awesome they look back on their deathbed with some regret or dissatisfaction.
Discovering this is up to you. No one can tell you what your life purpose is. This is a very personal thing and a personal practice.
But in every Blue Zone, each centenarian was able to look back on their life with excitement and recall so many moments that they loved. They each showed a very distinct passion or purpose. Something they strived for their whole life. Which is impressive because each of them would have lived through the second world war and other incredibly difficult times.
Everyone's purpose or passion is different. There is no right or wrong way to be passionate about something. Once you find it you often can't help but let your passion show. My sister-in-law occasionally takes photos with her fancy camera. She took some engagement photos of me and my husband and I have never seen her light up the way she did behind the lens, directing us. But she just kept telling us she was an amateur and didn't know what she was doing. But it didn't matter, she couldn't hide the passion she had for taking photos.
If you have the ability to, change careers if you don't feel your job is increasing your satisfaction or it doesn't align with your life purpose. It doesn't have to be starting a business. That's what I did and it worked for me but that's not everyone's path.
A job is something we do for a huge part of our lives. Sometimes we can live our life purpose through our job. If your life purpose or passion is helping others you should pick a job where you get to be of service to others. If your life purpose or passion is being a leader you should get a job where you can lead a team. If your life purpose or passion comes from creating beautiful things that fill you with joy you should start a creative business where you get to create those things (maybe starting an Etsy).
Sometimes you can't get a new job or starting over would be difficult. So find a way to love it or find something about it you love.
My father-in-law told me about his job history when we were on a ski trip. He started in the recreation industry. He loved being active, working in the community, being in charge of things. He was hard-working, loved learning new things but had a wife and 4 kids.
So he got a job working for the city. It wasn't in recreation but he knew he needed to make more than he was to support his 4 kids. He ended up working his way up in his department so he was part of the buying team. Because of his previous experience he often got projects that supported outdoor activities. His first project was an outdoor skate park. Now he drives past and sees it full of kids and he's filled with pride and joy.
He had to change jobs away from one he loved but he found a way to fulfill his life purpose within the confines of his job. He strived to help create more spaces within the city for people to be active and have fun.
As I mentioned your life purpose or your passion can come from something other than a job, especially if you can't seem to find a way to make your job more enjoyable (that's a mindset aspect we won't touch on here). Sometimes you can find passion elsewhere in your life.
For instance, my sister-in-law who loves taking photos, she doesn't do that as her job. She works a government job and then has other ways of increasing her life satisfaction and doing things she's passionate about. She has an adorable puppy to play with, she takes photos for fun, and she snowboards.
Some people love playing an instrument, writing in the evenings, playing video games, painting, or any other hobbies. How you fill the rest of your time can have a huge impact on your overall satisfaction.
If you come home and binge Netflix because you're just exhausted and irritated from your day at work that gives you no enjoyment, your life purpose isn't to mope on the couch and watch Netflix shows you don't particularly enjoy. But if you come home from work, maybe a little irritated, and pull out your easel and paint your heart out (if that's what you love to do) then you can end the day happy and feeling fulfilled.
Honestly, I'm not big on rules or things having to be a certain way as I think everyone is unique and different, but this is definitely a hard and fast rule.
Do not wait until you retire to finally do things you love, to finally discover your life purpose or what you're passionate about. Do it NOW!
It's called life satisfaction not retired satisfaction. They say our most capable years, our prime, is when we are younger but we often waste those younger and look back on our lives and think "I wish I had done this or learned this when I was in my 20's."
Your life purpose is yours. It can come in many shapes and sizes. You can find it in your job, in your hobbies, in a side hustle, by creating, or simply by enjoying slow moments. But don't think you're so stuck at work that you cannot do things you're passionate about. This mindset can actually decrease your life expectancy.
If you discover it now you can do it for longer! So no more waiting.
I love talking about life purpose, passion, and life satisfaction. I think they are all related and when you accomplish one you accomplish the others. When you're living your purpose you're automatically passionate and satisfied with your life. If you're passionate about something it means that you're living your life purpose (or part of it) and you're satisfied with your life. If you're satisfied with your life (genuinely satisfied not I'm pretending to be satisfied because I can't admit I'm not) then likely you've been living your life purpose and pursuing something you're passionate about.
This is your life. You get to make the rules. Even if you think you have to do something (like work the job you hate because you have to put food on the table and you think you're not qualified for something else) you are the one making that rule.
To quote the show Letterkenny "Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life."
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