Choosing The Right Career Path
It’s a fact that many people who choose their own career paths don’t have much passion for or even interest in what they do for a living. The most important psychological reason why is that societal forces are powerful, all too powerful. They usually have more say over conscious thought and intention than our own underlying authentic passions. We have to make a concerted effort to listen to and then follow those underlying passions. It’s like swimming against a powerful current.
What are the compelling societal forces that make us choose a career that’s wrong for us? The same ones that control all the life decisions that end up being wrong for us. Wealth, power, prestige, and popularity. We might rationalize a wrong career choice based on this or that criteria but at bottom it’s usually because of one or a combination of those societal forces.
Our rationalizations serve to keep our authentic passions from conscious awareness and therefore to keep the career path that fits us best from conscious awareness. How can we know which path to follow when our authentic passions are not available to conscious awareness, when they’re covered up by the societal forces we take to be our authentic passions?
The best way we can think of is to pay close attention to energy levels rather than conscious thought processes. You might be telling yourself that your chosen path is what you want to do but your psychic energy never lies. If engagement with the subject matter in your chosen career path make you feel lethargic this is a powerful unconscious message from yourself to yourself. Your psychic energy responds differently when you’re engaged with something that allows you to unfold your powers, something that allows you to manifest your true Self. You feel energized, not depleted, by what you’re doing.
Productive work is essential for well-being. We don’t mean producing x-amount of widgets, we mean actualizing unique potentialities, making work act as a manifestation of Self. Choosing a career path that ignores this essential aspect to focus on the acquisition of wealth, power, prestige, or popularity is sure to end up leading to unhappiness and dissatisfaction. These feelings will come out in the from of general malaise, a sense that something is missing, the belief that life is meaningless. And that’s because something important is missing and life is meaningless when you don’t have the opportunity to actualize your potentialities on a consistent basis. Meaning is personal. The environmental conditions that allow me to derive meaning out of life are different from those that allow you to derive meaning out of life because you and I have different potentialities. What these conditions have in common is that they allow us to unfold our own unique powers and therefore move along our individual paths of self-actualization.