I enjoyed reading this recent post by Cal Newport titled: When Working Right Is More Important Than Finding The Right Work. The main subject of this article is that there is no such thing as ‘the perfect job’, but given the circumstances, you can make a lot of different jobs rewarding and enjoyable when you approach them with the right attitude and zeal.
This reminds me of the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the Chicago psychology professor who coined the term ‘Flow’. Csikszentmihalyi made it very clear for me that in any job that is to a certain level challenging, but not too much, you can reach a state where you can emerge in your task and enjoy it very much. In most of Csikszentmihalyis research, he proved that subjects often change their work a bit to make it more challenging, and that way enjoy the work more. I remember one subject that worked at an assembly line and performed his work with greater precision than he was asked by changing the rules a little bit. That way, this man could reach the ‘Flow’ state.
In Minfullness practise it is often stated that even doing the dishes or brushing your teeth can be enjoyable, given that you do the tasks with your attention completely in the present moment. I have experienced myself that this is true.
There was nothing intrinsically bad about Thomas’ prior jobs. The problem was his mindset. He was obsessed with the fantasy of a perfect job, and this obsession led him to find fault with the work actually available.
He left the Zen Mountain Monastery with an important understanding: finding the right work pales in importance to learning how to work right.
This excellent article on Study Hacks concludes with the following quote:
“No matter what kind of work I do or where I live in the world, I realized that I am the same person with the same set of likes and dislikes,” Thomas told me. No new job can change these realities. That effort is up to you.