Like myself, today’s twentysomethings were raised to find our dreams and follow them. But it’s a different world. And as the jobless generation grows up, we realize idols of passion don’t really materialize for all. The philosophy is no longer convincing for us, or at most, feels incomplete. So what do we do? I propose a different frame of reference: Don’t forget about finding your passion but instead, focus more on finding big problems.
Putting problems at the center of our decision-making changes everything. It’s not about the self anymore. It’s about what you can do and how you can be a valuable contributor. People working on the biggest problems are compensated in the biggest ways. I don’t mean this in a strict financial sense, but in a deeply human sense. For one, it shifts your attention from you to others and the wider world. You stop dwelling. You become less self-absorbed. Ironically, we become happier if we worry less about what makes us happy.
The good thing is that there are a lot of big problems to go by: climate change, sustainability, poverty, education, health care, technology, and urbanization in emerging markets. What big problem serves as your compass? If you’re a young leader and you haven’t articulated this yet, here are some things you can do.
- Develop situational awareness.
- Look into problems that affect you in a very personal way.
- Connect with people working on big problems.
- Take time off and travel.
We don’t find happiness by looking within. We go outside and immerse in the world. We are called to a higher purpose by the inescapable circumstances that are laid out on our path. It’s our daily struggles that define us and bring out the best in us, and this lays down the foundation to continuously find fulfillment in what we do even when times get tough.
Happiness comes from the intersection of what you love, what you’re good at, and what the world needs. We’ve been told time and again to keep finding the first. Our schools helped developed the second. It’s time we put more thought on the third.
Reference from Blog HBR