A few years ago, while mingling at a graduation gathering, I sat across from twin girls who just completed their junior year in high school.  When asked, they both mentioned they wanted to go to college, so I expounded, “What major are you eyeing?”  They both looked at each other, looked at their mom who was sitting next to them, and then responded almost simultaneously, “Nursing.” Nursing is a good career, it pays, it has a succession path forward, and it almost guarantees a job.  Our city has two big hospitals that continue expanding. Mom was nodding with a smile of approval.  When I asked why they liked working in such environment and taking care of those who were sick, the answer was, “Not that I like it, but it pays quite well.” It saddened me to hear the answer. I’m not sure money will sustain people working in an environment they don’t enjoy.  I’ve seen enough evidence of it from people I have known.  They have good careers, good salaries and benefits, but are miserable at their work.  They hang on to it because of the money.

Then just a few days ago, I met a nine-year-old happy and active girl who was camping with her mom. On one of our conversations, I asked her what she wanted to become when she grew up, “There are many things I want to become.” she said excitedly. “Name three that top the list,” I responded. She blurted out three things that didn’t seem to jive with each other. “I want to be the best in Taekwondo, a Fashion Designer, and an Astronaut … I like all three of them,” she said.  To which I responded, “Then you should be all of them. You’ll be a great Astronaut with the training you’ve gained from Taekwondo. And you’ll be the first female Astronaut that makes it to outer space in a fashionable way.”  Then I heard mom’s comment, “She used to want to be a surgeon, and I thought, YES – she’ll make a lot of money. But then she changed her mind.”

Having a job and making money is great. They allow us the freedom to buy and have what we want.  Unfortunately, what we want and have isn’t a guarantee for happiness and joy. Unless, while working and making money we also pursue a cause that inspires us to get up every morning; truly and sincerely makes us jump out of bed with glee.  Otherwise, that nine-to-five-and-40-hour-a-week commitment is going to take a toll on us.  I was one of the victims.

My career was smoothly moving upward after I graduated from college, it was in line with my major and what I loved doing — writing.  I couldn’t ask for a better deal. I was excited and I wholeheartedly immersed myself in this career. Five years into it, I was burnt out, I took off on a year sabbatical. Upon returning home, I went back into the same industry in a different capacity. Halfway into this second tour of duty, I again started feeling the symptoms of unalignment, unsettling motions of monotony.  The same experience repeated itself and that was the time when I decided to seek an answer — what got me into that vicious cycle?  I became a student of personal growth.  It took me a while, but I did find it. Repetition was the culprit. And a purposeless life was the killing weapon.

A job tends to become repetitive, you’re doing the same thing day in and day out. The projects may vary, the people you serve may be different, and those you work with may change, but the procedures are the same. They are repetitive.  Repetion is good, to a certain point and on certain things. The danger is, you can get easily carried away into Lalaland and then you lose sight of your goals, lose interest in doing something new, excitement fades, you get entangled in a life of finishing task after task … then you find yourself moving farther away from living your inspired life.

Here’s something you may consider … Start a personal project while working in your job.  Start small and expand. See it to completion. Then start something meaningful, something that has an impact on someone, a project that propels you forward, liberating you. Take notes on how you feel making a difference.  Soon enough it also makes a difference in you. In the process, you learn the most valuable lesson in life, that helps you become your truest self.

Graduation season is here.

Regardless what major or college our younger loved ones are pursuing, what career we wish for our college graduates, let’s help them reach a goal that gives room for them to stretch themselves to become a better person.  Our society has glamourized degrees so much that it seems to be the only passport to making a living. It may be. I’m just hoping we don’t let them lose themselves in the process. Self-education is fuel that makes them feel fulfilled, long after they complete their formal education and continues through the journey of working a job and earning money. Self-education helps us all lead a big and purposeful life.

What graduation gift is valuable to you? What self-education experience has made a mark in your life? Share with us …

#selfeducation #fulfillinglife #graduation #livingyourinspiredlife #ingemaskun