Young people are truly faced with a daunting task of identifying and developing their latent God-given qualities. I’ve found that most students cannot discern the difference between the life they were born into, and the life they could achieve. The majority of students are too worried about their grades and their social standing, and too busy conforming to the wishes of their parents and the expectations of society, so that they cannot even consider the deeper question of what they really want out of life.
As a teacher, I’ve accepted the fact that part of my calling is to help others achieve their own.
Pressure + Ill Preparedness = Exasperation
This past week, I’ve gotten too many e-mails from people who hate their jobs. They are frustrated because of working conditions, low pay, hidden deductions, and a vindictive boss. They don’t think they can change their immediate situation, and they are not prepared to change jobs. Apparently, the adjustment of one’s attitude toward one’s place of occupation seems to be an extremely difficult lesson for several people.
First of all, quitting is usually a bad idea, simply because it removes you from the trying situation, and thus, the process of growth. But if the conditions are so bad that you are required to do something immoral, at risk of bodily harm, or are about to lose your faith, then it is time to quit. If such is the case, then you are just not ready to tackle this lesson. But even so, you have by no means escaped this lesson. God will bring it back to you in one way or another, until you have mastered it, even if it takes your whole life time. Unfortunately, the lessons become more difficult, mundane and with fewer rewards on each rerun, so of course, it’s better for you to learn the lesson the first time.
On the other hand, if you are poorly suited to the profession you are in, perhaps quitting and changing careers is the best decision you could make. In this case, your current situation is not a total waste. How else can you know how well you are suited for any particular profession, without gambling a year or two of your life on it, just to see if it is right for you?
Four Elements of an Excellent Career
The following Venn diagram illustrates four important elements of any activity. Ideally, a good career should include all of them. These elements are discussed below.
- The Pink Circle – What you have, that other people want or need.
- The Turquoise Circle – If you find something you can do, that people are willing to pay money for, then that is enough to form a source of income for yourself.
- The Green Circle – The right career for you is one in which you have shown some natural talent.
- The Yellow Circle – If you happen to enjoy doing it, then that is a strong motivator to make a career out of it.
Each of these categories are further discussed below.
What You Have That the World Needs
It may be a skill, such as Colonel Sanders cooking, or some knowledge, like how to make or repair something, or even just a really good idea, like Bill Gates had with the Windows OS, which allowed everyone to use the computer, instead of only technical geeks. Find a way to monetize this asset.
The thing that you’re good at may even be something that you don’t think is special or valuable. For example, when I was younger, I had a speech impediment. It was embarrassing, and other children ridiculed me. My speech therapist taught me to talk slowly and enunciate my words very clearly, so that people could understand me, and this is a habit I’ve carried ever since then. Later, I had a minor operation on my tongue that allowed me to pronounce words correctly, but I still had the habit of talking slowly and clearly, which was annoying to many native speakers. When I came to Asia, I discovered that my embarrassing habit was the very same quality that made me one of the best . Now, I’m no longer ashamed of it, because I’m making NT$1,000/hour on it.
In addition to this, I’ve always had trouble making decisions and taking initiative, because I see very clearly how complicated and irreversible every choice is. I’ve received a lot of ridicule about this too, and some people have even called me weak or even faithless. I forgive their shortsightedness. I can immediately size up a given topic on several levels, from many perspectives, and describe it very clearly in words. Furthermore, I understand the gravity of even the smallest decisions, and how they have huge, eternal consequences. (A lot of Americans have this idea that people who talk slowly, also think slowly, and since I’m slow to decide, they think it is evidence that my mind is on the moon, but that is definitely not the case with me.)
Now, putting these two qualities together, my teaching ability, and my analytical insight, I’ve found that being a Lecturer or Professor in Asia is the perfect career for me. Once this has been recognized, there only remains the duty to achieve this goal, which means long years of study and doing research, which I might not always LIKE. (But actually I do!)
What People Will Pay Money For
One rule of success is to do things that other people can’t, or don’t want to do. These tend to be things that others will pay money for. The good thing is that there are always plenty of these jobs available, and one can use such a job to pay the bills until something better comes along. The downside to this is that such jobs are typically low-quality – they are hard, dirty, low pay, and/or thankless occupations.
What You’re Good At
For example, Colonel Sanders cooked chicken since he was 6 years old. We don’t know whether he LIKED to cook chicken, but he was definitely good at it, because everyone else LIKED to eat his chicken.
The Meyers-Briggs Personality Assessment, and all of the concepts behind it, has been very helpful to millions of people in finding the type of career that fits their natural abilities. If you haven’t yet taken the Meyers-Briggs Personality Type Inventory, then do so as soon as possible.
What You Love To Do
Feeling passionate about your work is the rare icing on the cake. There is a good argument that people should not only follow their passion, because without the other three supporting aspects described above, you will be overlooked in favor of your competitors. However, if one does feel passionate about doing things that other people want or need, what people will pay money for, and something one is good at, then one will likely find that success will come all that much easier, simply because one enjoys doing it, and probably spends a lot more spare time mastering one’s skill set.
So in summary, there are a few steps in finding your “perfect career”, which form the acronym DIRECTOR.
- Determine your personal wealth – what it is that you have, that other people want or need.
- Identify products or services that people are willing to pay money for.
- Recognize your Talents, Abilities, Skills, and Knowledge (TASK).
- Examine the strengths and weaknesses of your personality.
- Come to know yourself – who you are, and what you can do.
- Target how you can integrate all of the above assets within a career in question.
- Open your mind. Make a choice. If it doesn’t work out, try something different.
- Resolve to succeed. Make the effort to reach your potential. Don’t give up or get lazy!
The last step is where most people fail. Sir Winston Churchill, who also had a speech impediment, but coupled it with a determined resolve that saved Britain during World War II, said,
“Never, never, never… give up!”
Finally, I have been extremely successful in helping many of my students choose a career in which they are happy and successful. If you feel this is too daunting of a task, then I would be glad to meet with you to discuss the matter.
Gallup Poll: Seven in 10 U.S. Workers Say Their Jobs Are Ideal (2010)