A vocation is your favorite thing you do, which often helps other people. Scholars offer different definitions. But there is a part that many researchers agree on: helping others is an important component of one’s purpose in life. Helping is any action that makes another person’s life better, easier, happier.
Is It Really Important to Find Vocation?
It’s a Natural Need
Remember Maslow’s pyramid: at its top, there is the need for self-actualization. If school has not yet reached this point, here’s a spoiler: American psychologist Abraham Maslow collected and ordered by importance human needs from the most basic to the most complex, but important.
Self-fulfillment is possible when you like the work you do, otherwise, it becomes a drudgery routine.
It Makes You Happier
Vocation in life is an important component of happiness. People who have found their calling are more satisfied with life and sometimes even healthier. Sonja Lubomirski, a happiness researcher, describes happiness in The How of Happiness as a combo of positive experiences, satisfaction and feeling that your life is meaningful. Researchers at the Center for Happiness Research at the University of California, Berkeley, agree with her.
It’s Easier to Make Decisions That Way
When you know what to do, it’s easier to make choices in an ocean of possibilities. That goes for people, studies, and hobbies. You don’t have to weigh the pros and cons every time. Just think about whether it fits your vocation and moves you in its direction. This will be true when you start working.
The world is changing rapidly, with new professions and fields appearing and old ones leaving. So more than once you will have to decide what to do, what to be and how to live.
How to Find Your Purpose
In Japan, there is a special word for vocation, ikigai.
It’s what makes you get up in the morning and go forward in life. How to apply it?
- Draw four circles that intersect in one place.
- Write one question in each of the circles:
- What do I like to do?
- What am I doing well?
- How can I make money in the future?
- What are some unresolved problems in the world?
- Answer them.
Every profession is a set of processes. A process is a set of steps a person takes to solve a problem. Processes are writing articles, researching complex topics, and drawing graphs.
Thus, the set of processes is limited and coincides from profession to profession. Interface designers and programmers do the same thing in terms of processes, but with different tools. Both research what the problems are, divide them into smaller parts and come up with solutions, which they then implement with their own hands.
In terms of this approach, the vocation is to do the business in which one likes most of the processes.
How to apply this?
- Take a sheet of A4 and divide it into three columns.
- Write down in the left column all meaningful hobbies, schoolwork, homework, games, and any activities from the last couple of years. Meaningful ones are those that you have done for more than a couple of days and that had at least something interesting to do. It shouldn’t be something meaningful for everyone. If you like to enter your CasinoChan login daily and play there, you can add it as a hobby.
- Think back and write down in the column in the middle what you liked about each one. Did you enjoy drawing a poster for a school project? Maybe you enjoyed building a house in Sims? Suddenly the thing you liked most among your homework was writing your literature essays.
- Look at all the processes that appeared on the worksheet. Think about it and write down in the right column what professions you can do it in. If nothing comes to mind, read our texts about professions, we write about them often.
Experiencing completely new experiences is the key to finding a vocation. So says Patrick Cook-Deegan, creator of Project Wayfinder. This project runs a year-long program in which teens find themselves in new situations, from creating an art project as a team to hiking.
How to apply this?
- Participate in a whole new event. Patrick highlights four that have happened to those who have found a calling: traveling to another country, spending a couple of weeks in nature away from gadgets, participating in a socially meaningful project and meditating.
- Constantly ask yourself the question, “Why?” We recommend asking it at least five times for every action you take. If you want to do something, ask “Why do I want to do it?” To the answer you get, “Why this particular thing and right now?” and so on. That way you can find the real reasons for your desires and actions, and that can lead to a calling.