In the week during which a fascinating Escape The City report was published (available to view and download here), and also featured in CityAm, what better time to reflect on the benefits of discovering, and then doing, work that you love:
1. Work takes up a big chunk of your life
During our working lives, we spend over 40% of our waking time at work – and quite possibly much more than that (e.g. if you’re working in a high-pressure, long-hours profession, are a manager, or have your own business).
This is a fact we can’t get away from – guaranteed, you will be spending a significant portion of your life doing work. We also don’t know how long or short our lives will be. Crucially, people who are dying – or coming to the end of their life – often list the amount of time spent working as one of their top regrets.
Work takes you away from your loves ones, and the activities you love doing most, so if you don’t enjoy it, or believe that it is serving any valuable purpose, it isn’t worth that investment of time.
For example, Sam Walton – the richest man in the United States between 1982 and 1988 – uttered on his deathbed “I blew it”. There’s a lesson to learnt here.
2. You are more fulfilled
As Daniel Pink describes (in his book, ‘A Whole New Mind’) – “In the early years of the twenty-first century, several forces have gathered to create the circumstances for the pursuit of meaning on a scale never before imagine. First, while problems of poverty and other social maladies persist, most people in the advanced world have been relieved from true suffering. We live in an era of abundance, with standards of living unmatched in the history of the world. Freed from the struggle for survival, we have the luxury of devoting more of our lives to the search for meaning.”
(This is also ties in with Abraham Maslow and his ‘Heirarchy of Needs’, and the curious relationship between money and happiness).
As most of us have the basic needs (food and shelter) and an abundance of material goods available to us, fulfilment is becoming increasingly important in our jobs, aside from paycheck alone. Doing what you love will inevitably lead to higher levels of fulfilment.
3. You are more productive
Studies have shown (funnily enough) that employees who are more engaged in their work have a higher rate of productivity. As they are ‘in the zone’ more frequently, and hit ‘flow’ more often too, they accomplish more, and can can meet the challenges of their job with greater effectiveness.
4. Everyone else will look up to you
If you genuinely love your job, you are less likely to complain. Equally, chances are that you won’t begrudgingly complete tasks with minimal effort. If you work for a company with other employees, you will therefore set an example for the others around you. Equally, when talking to others at social gatherings, you will inspire them, and may well motivate them also to make a change and pursue work that they love (this is what happened to me). The world needs people like this to inspire others stuck within the conformity of the 9-5, (or often 8-6!) do-a-job-for-the-sake-of-it-and-because-it-pays-the-bills mentality. If you get my drift.
5. Your mental health improves
With increased fulfilment, meaning, engagement and flow, your mental health score will rise – and this is being increasingly backed up by the world of science and positive psychology. Wellbeing consists of psychological and physical health, and both are intertwined, so doing work you love will noticeably improve your mental state, wellbeing and overall happiness.