If today were your last day alive, are you doing what would you be doing?

img_0024I often hear and/or read this question in the areas of meaning and purpose in one’s life. I have come to the conclusion that although it’s a great question for certain areas of your life, it’s really not a valid one to ask in others. For example: when it comes to viewing a person’s career or line of work. If I were to ask just about anyone this question in terms of their jobs, I can almost guess that the majority, (somewhere in the range of 98% of people) would respond that they probably wouldn’t be going into work that day. What they probably might say however, is that they would be spending time with people they love, talking, having fun, and just enjoying life together. The activity would carry less importance than the companionship.

Those that answer they’d rather be at work, alone, or doing some other activity can use their response as a wakeup call that their relationships may not be in the best possible shape at the present moment. Many times we use work or other activities as a way to escape from something else in our life that isn’t working out the way we’d like it to right now. Perhaps you’re not interested in facing your significant other so staying at work allows you the opportunity to keep from dealing with what needs to be dealt with. In the same way that people can use drinking, sex, drugs, or other forms of numbing out feelings, staying busy and ‘away’ also give us that same opportunity, without taking responsibility for the fact that that’s how we’re using it.

That being said, I believe it is possible to work in a field or a job that you enjoy. That it is possible to have both a career you love and make a living at the same time. What I don’t believe is that it’s possible we could love that job so much that if given the choice between spending your last moments with those you love, or spending it doing something you love, we wouldn’t chose to spend it with our loved ones. An exception of course might be if we work with our loved ones, or if we have no friends and family outside of the office, but those are probably few and far between in that 2% margin I mentioned earlier.

So now I ask you – what is the better question to ask when it comes to finding a job or career that’s both meaningful and fulfilling for you? Is a better question; “Do you truly enjoy and find meaning in your line or work? Or, “Can you see yourself doing the same thing 10 years from now that you do today?” or how about “If you knew this was the last career you would ever have, would you continue doing it?”

I can’t say that I know the right question to ask, but what I know for sure is that there isn’t any one question that we can answer which will give the answer to everything… or is there?

Post your ideas for a better question to ask

  1. If I could make a living doing anything, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?
    2. When it comes to my career, if I could do anything I wanted to do, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?
    3. If my job was my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?
    4. If I had a choice, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?
    5. If a decision had to be made today about my career, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?

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