19 April 2019

"Ultimately, when you have purpose in your life you are able to answer the question many can’t, why. Why do I exist? Why am I here? Why have I been born?"

For over 18 years, the Gallup Company has surveyed millions of people in over 175 countries asking them about their jobs (and other things about life). Unfortunately, the data is not encouraging. Simply put, about 85% of people around the world hate their jobs. In Japan and China the numbers are even worse with these two countries topping out the results at 94% disliking their work.

This is pretty discouraging news when you realize that people will spend 1/3 of their lives at work. Add to that the fact that another 1/3 of your life is spent asleep and it is pretty depressing to think about.

There are many reasons why people hate their jobs but the number one reason is that their job becomes a means to an end. The reason the person is working is not for the work itself but instead to be paid. Money can be an enticing reason for people to take a job or switch jobs but ultimately we know that it does not fulfill us. No matter how much money you make at a job, if the only reason you work is for the money, eventually you will begin to dislike and hate your job.

When someone works at a job just for the money, what they are missing are two crucial aspects of a life well lived. One is passion and the other is purpose. Passion is what excites us, it motivates us to get out of bed, it makes time fly, and it brings a smile to our face. Everyone has passions and knows the great feeling that comes from operating inside your passion.

But passion without purpose can still leave a person unfulfilled and somewhat lost. We all have an innate desire built into us by God to live a life of significance, to make a difference in this world, and to be a person who leaves a mark on those around them. This is where purpose comes in. Ultimately, when you have purpose in your life you are able to answer the question many can’t, why. Why do I exist? Why am I here? Why have I been born? When someone’s work and vocation answers the why questions in their life, work no longer is work.

So what does all this mean for us? Well, what this should do is to challenge us to have a paradigm shift and change that little formula we have for our children. You know the one that says “Good Grades > Good University > Good Job (money) = Good Life (happiness).” It’s a scary thing to do but instead of focusing on grades, colleges, and money-making careers we should be focusing on helping our children find their passion and purpose in life. School must prepare students for life and that involves learning how to read, write, and many other life skills, but along with that there should be a major emphasis on helping our students discover who they are, what they love, and why they are here. When we are doing that we are truly achieving “education for life” and following a formula that will guide our students to a life of passion and purpose. Then one day down the road when they get that phone call from Gallup they will be one of the lucky few who can say, I love my job.

Written by Karl Steinkamp

Karl Steinkamp is passionate about Dalat International School and training up young people. Karl was a student at Dalat and returned with a degree in education as a student teacher, high school principal, and now Head of School since 2006.
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