What did you want to be when you grow up?

I am pretty sure I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but I am a lot closer to finding out.

The research and thinking for this post has left me reeling as I agree with two, maybe three different views. The first is from an Okinawa, a Japanese island, which is known for having some of the longest living people. Their secrets to not only living long, but also happy lives are about healthy eating, community and ikigai. The other two I will come back to in later posts but for now it’s the ikigai that I want to tell you about. The translation would be something like ‘the thing you live for’ or ‘the reason you have to wake up in morning’ so it is pretty huge! It is worked out by finding where: what you are passionate about, what you are good at, what the world needs and what you can earn a living from all cross over. This could be the way to find your life’s purpose and by earning money, doing something you love, and people need, you can live the dream.


But where does that leave those of us who don't really know what they want to do, love doing many different things, or feel that they don't excel at anything? Sadly the answer is frustrated, lost and unsatisfied with life. I have been pondering if this is because our workforce has changed so much, there are far more jobs to fill for people in call centres, or doing admin, computer work, roles that never existed when ikigai was created. And although it will be for some, many people end up in a job that doesn’t fulfil their dreams. I like to hope that not all of these people feel unsatisfied, that their work family makes day to day life better and interesting. That they feel good when helping others or they did a good job, but it is different from their life’s purpose nonetheless.


The other side is, if you spend your life looking for your one true purpose then the majority of people who never find it, will live their lives feeling that they are never fulfilling their potential. That they are a failure and that will lead to an unsatisfying and unhappy life.

In one of his blogs Max Manson suggests 7 questions to ask yourself to find your dream job, he suggests that while you might not find your purpose, you can at least find something that is important! One of the questions (and I recommend you answering the rest) is ‘What is true about you today that would make your 8 year old cry?’ I talked to my long suffering man, who commutes and works in an office, about this. At 8 years old, mini Simon spent all his time outside: adventuring, biking, camping and the thought of telling that little person that he would spend the majority of his adult life inside, made me cry!

The idea being that when you are young you do things ‘cause they make you happy. You don't care about if it will make you money or if you are good enough at it. Think back to what you dreamt about, plans you had before you were told that your marks weren't good enough, or there is very little work for…. *insert your childhood dream here.

It might just be that you are the one the world has been waiting for, and unless you go for it, the world will be a poorer place.


Do you remember? What you loved to do, or wanted to be when you were a grown up?

Lastly and this one has had the biggest shift my considering my own career, is that of a multipotentialite. Starting from the discovery of a Ted talk by Emilie Wapnick, who explains some of us, will move from one career to another. Adapting and acquiring skill, but never mastering, our current favourite field. There is much to discuss on this topic, so much so that it needs it's own post, but fo now, I will leave you with her Ted Talk.

Also to watch Tim Tamashiro's Ted Talk on Ikigai

Find the remaining 6 questions you need to answer on Max Manson's blog

Until next time! xxx




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