I love uncovering tidbits about our financial lives in generally nonfinancial books, music, movies and even television commercials.
You’ve no doubt seen the commercials for the Mexican beer Dos Equis, in which a nameless, well-dressed, bearded man only described as “The Most Interesting Man in the World” shares supposed wisdom that is quite intentionally humorous—even hysterical at times. Here are some of the lines used to describe this gentleman:
- “Police often question him, just because they find him interesting.”
- “He speaks fluent French, in Russian.”
- “He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels.”
- And one of my favorites: “He lives vicariously through himself.”
He’s even taken a moment out of his busy schedule to give us some career advice in which he posits, “Find out what it is in life that you don’t do well, and then don’t do that thing.”
This is supposed to be funny—and when he says it, it is—but as I ponder this further, I realize that so few people seem to have taken his advice. Especially the way that many people gripe about their jobs, I can’t help but think they are doing something that they don’t do well, because generally, we enjoy doing things that we do well.
I’m entirely sure that the most interesting man in the world is not making an attempt at profundity here, but I’d like to twist his humorous comment into an affirmative one that I do believe would serve you well as foundational career advice, no matter how old you are or the status of your employment. That is:
“Find out what it is in life that you DO well, and then DO that thing.”
Follow along: The foundation of every solid financial plan is the cash-flow mechanism. The driving force behind every cash-flow mechanism is most often a job or jobs. If that job is primarily made up of duties for which we are well equipped, excellence is almost invariably the outcome. When we do a job with excellence, we tend to advance professionally, thereby increasing the household cash flow. This career progression tends to improve our overall financial health.
But our career is really less about money and more about life. Most of us spend the majority of our waking hours working, and if we do so with the primary if not sole purpose of bringing home a paycheck to then enjoy life, the mathematical truth is that we’ll spend the minority of our lives actually living.
I’m not affirming workaholism, nor am I suggesting you “live to work.” I also understand that the realities of your current economy make it even more difficult to drop the job you hate cold turkey to pursue your passion. But I am inviting you to join the minority of workers who have infused their occupation with their life purpose and incorporated their job into their life.
Watch this short video—laugh again—and then consider what a first step in this regard might be for you.
If you enjoyed this post, please let me know on Twitter @TimMaurer.
This commentary originally appeared May 23 on Forbes.com
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