…if you could do anything you want to do from Monday to Friday to earn a living, would you know the answer?

It’s a fun question to ask, because what happens is the same thing that happened to Fischer when Cobb asked him how he got here in the movie Inception. He thought he knew, but when he tried to remember, he had no idea. Watch the movie, it’s a brilliant movie.

It seems like such an obvious question. I mean, if someone asked you what you want for dinner, without flinching you will say you want Pizza. If someone asked you if you wanted a Lamborghini, you don’t even have to look up from your newspaper to say “No thanks, I want a Ferrari.” What’s your favourite colour? Favourite movie? Doggy or missionary? You have answers for all of these and if these were the questions you would have to answer in Who Wants to be a Millionaire with a lie detector test thing strapped to your chest, you’d win. Because you have been with yourself for years and years. You are an authority on you! What kinda question is that?

If this question is the last question for a million dollars, you will lose all your money (phone a friend, ask the audience and 50-50 wont help).

How do I know?

7 billion hits on google when you search “what do I want to do with my life” tell me so. Searching for “finding my purpose” returns 1.5 billion hits. “Finding my why” produces just under 1.1 billion hits.

We went into the big bad world not knowing what we wanted to do. We studied because our parents wanted us to have a degree and because society told us that we are all grown-up and we need to do something with our lives. When we chose the qualifications we wanted, we might has well have closed our eyes, dropped a pen on the list and decided on the one the pen landed on.

Years later we are here. Not loving it. Still not knowing the answer to this question. But at least we got by. But we want more now.

It’s not about passion or purpose. It’s about joy. Joy should be the purpose but it doesn’t require a passion to generate joy. Your minimum requirement should be joy.

I am not passionate about photography, but if I could be an Annie Leibovitz or Danie Bester from Monday to Friday for the rest of my life, man, that would give me a lot of joy.

I am passionate about animals, but I need to earn a living. I don’t know how to do that while doing this kind of charity work…also, I don’t know if seeing the abuse of animals would give me any kind of joy, regardless of the happy ending.

I am passionate about helping people, but being in a hospital most of the day, would not give me joy.

Search for joy.

So, the question (if you could do anything you want to do from Monday to Friday to earn a living, would you know the answer?) has two aspects to it that must be considered in your journey to discovery: a) what would give you joy and b) what would give you joy and earn you a living?

You start the journey to answer this by first exploring finding stuff that will give you joy. Do this by listing the stuff that you can do and not notice time fly by. You love reading? Why not consider a qualification in publishing? You love sports? What about a sports writer or a pilates instructor?

If you do not even know the answer to this question, go out there and experiment. What about that photography course? A few art classes? Why not try your hand at making craft vodka or gin? Sewing and fashion design courses? Web design? Movie making courses?

And now you sit back and smirk at the ridiculousness of it all, because you are in your thirties or forties or fifties. Carrying on the way we are carrying on will make the adage “life is short” completely irrelevant for us. Life is going to become one long shlog.

Have an open mind. Sign up for those art classes or photography courses. You never know.