Identifying what you love is really about deep introspection and asking the right questions. So often, we are in love with the idea of being someone, being in a certain position that we are caught up in our minds with the moments of triumph and victory without recognising those moments of pains. Finding out what you love is as much about appreciating the sweetness of the victory as being able to withstand the bitterness of loss.
Picture the Sweetness
Whether it is victory in the courtroom, or basking in the limelight for the achievements in the field of your choosing, first consider the sweetness when you have reached the pinnacle. (Reality will be more anti-climatic than that; but you won’t believe it as I say this.) Consider all the aspects of the work/job/activity that you really like and enjoy, and let it motivate you and swing you into action right at this moment. So for those who have nothing that comes to mind readily, consider what you are already doing or repeat this exercise over a few of your candidates.
Consider the Bitterness
Gather information about the downside of the aforementioned work/job/activity. You have to do this objectively and not turn any blindeye to red flags that comes to your attention. You could observe the bitterness through friends, contacts, your own presence within the workplace (yes, you could do a ‘site visit’). Then put yourself in these worst moments of the activity, and consider how you’d feel, and ponder deeply into the implications of the worst case. Objectively assess how you’d cope with the worse case and come up with a rough action plan.
Brewing your coffee
What you love is more about dealing with and learning to love the daily grind and that means being able to deal with the bitterness more than the sweet. This is because that is going to set you apart more than being in love with the sweetness. And ultimately, the question is whether you are able to galvanise the sweet to help you to withstand the bitterness. After all, the true test of whether you can love a person is really when the person is in his/her worst self and you can still continue to love.
Try to distill all of these into specific work roles or potential work positions and list them down properly under the ‘What do you love?’ header in your own personal worksheet (Download the worksheet here).
This is the third part of a multi-part series of writing on Ikigai. The cover article explains why I’m writing this. Read the second part here.
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