Own My Growth

Helping folks with practical tips to manage themselves better

Why Do You Do What You Do

A young reader of my blog reached out to me regarding one of my earlier Blogs https://ownmygrowth.com/2020/04/23/mans-search-for-meaning/, requesting me to help provide more clarity on the concept of meaning to help him come to terms with his current work situation.

I’ll try and illustrate this through a work example.

Two executives are working in the back-office of a seemingly dull Operations Unit at a Corporate entity. One of the executives treats the work as “tedious.” In contrast, the other executive treats it as a challenge to see how efficient he can be in comparison, the average performance of other executives. The first executive is bored and frustrated with the role while the second executive is engaged and excited about the position.

The first executive gave the role a meaning of boredom, while the other executive gave the same position a meaning of challenge. The position is the same, but the meaning given defines how each person perceives the role.

The meaning we give a role or anything we do in life comes from the context of our life at any point.

Within every individual, there exists at all times some tension- “what one has accomplished till now and what one has yet to achieve”. This tension stems from the gap that exists between who you are and where you are today and who you want to become and where you want to go in the next one year, five years, ten years, and so on.

This tension is a good thing. It is the source of our purpose, our goals, our growth and the meaning we seek in life. So don’t try and ignore this feeling of unease. Invest time in trying to figure our who you are , your strengths, your purpose and what do you want your future state to be.

There is a story about President John Kennedy once visiting NASA headquarters for the first time in 1961. When going around the facility, President Kennedy it seems introduced himself to a janitor who was mopping the floor and asked him what he did at NASA. The Janitor apparently responded, ” I am helping put a man on the moon.” The Janitor found meaning in what he was doing by connecting it to a bigger purpose and a vision. He found meaning in WHY he was doing what he was doing.

So can you. You just have to commit time and intention to explore and figure out your purpose and blueprint for your future life. Your life will become more meaningful.

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