I recently led a discussion at a local café on the topic of finding the right livelihood. In order to prepare for my presentation, I spent a great deal of time reflecting on what this idea means, how it is reflected to us, as well as the steps that are necessary to pursue a livelihood that is best for you. While I will not claim to be an expert in this area, I thought that sharing my thoughts on this subject might help those of you reading frame your mindset regarding your future in a more positive way, and may facilitate a change in your perspective towards finding your best path.
Livelihood is defined as “a means of securing the necessities of life.” Although a standard definition, this can be perceived very differently between people. What one person may consider “necessary”, another person may consider frivolous or undesirable. For this reason, there is no set “right” livelihood for everyone, despite our society placing pressure on each of us to fit into a mold that is considered “normal”. When we hear the word “livelihood”, words that typically come to mind are career, income, and job title, amongst other employment related ideals. Emphasis is placed on success, as defined by materialistic determinants and other representations of where we stand on America’s socioeconomic ladder. One of the first questions that you should be asking yourself, before working towards the livelihood that is best suited to you, is…
“How do I define success?”
Some of you may know that “right” or “proper” livelihood is the fifth fold of the Noble Eightfold Path, as described by Buddha. This path is intended to lead you to “awakening”, and to help you become “unconditioned”. It is a process designed to help you remove, or move beyond, the conditioned responses that obscure your true nature. As previously alluded, our society has engrained a standardized vision of what success looks like, as well as the generic characteristics of a successful individual. However, be cognizant of whether these images align with your true, and unique, nature. There are a few questions that you can ask yourself to further investigate your true essence. These include…
“What are your values, and passions?”
“What makes you happy?”
Once you begin to address and to meditate on these questions, you will begin to break out of the box that society has tried to constrain you to, as you begin to uncover your true nature.
However, I would like to note that I recognize that we cannot always be completely idealistic. For many of us, finances and other responsibilities cannot be ignored. While I would like to encourage you all to get creative, and to be open to all of the opportunities available to you, achieving the exact lifestyle that you want takes time. As you progress on your path towards your end goal, make sure that you are making time outside of work to participate in activities that you enjoy. The more energy and time you put into your passions, the more you attract the right people and situations to help make them a substantial part of your reality. The more you work towards and focus on your dreams and goals, the closer you will get to them.
I would like to end this piece with a mantra that we are planning on living by to manifest the livelihoods that are right for us. I have also included questions that can be used during times of meditation and reflection to help further establish what your goals are, and the kind of life that you want to lead.
Love yourself enough to make time to do the things you enjoy, and to pursue and believe in your passions.
Innovate and imagine ways you can make your aspirations a reality, and ways you can build the life that you want.
Value your strengths, and how they can best be used to help you accomplish your goals.
Explore ways that you can involve yourself in activities that you enjoy & ways that you can find new activities, experiences, and people that bring you happiness.
Questions for Reflection:
- How do you define success?
- What are your core values?
- What are you passionate about?
- What makes you happy?
- When do you feel most at peace with yourself, and most comfortable? Describe where you are, whom you are with, and what you are doing.
- Who/what places the most pressure on you to have a certain job, or to lead a certain lifestyle? What does this job, or lifestyle, look like? Why is emphasis placed on this specific idea? How do you feel about this opinion?
- What are your goals – professionally, socially, emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc?
- What legacy do you want to leave/how do you want to be remembered?
- Do you feel fulfilled by how you are currently spending your time each day? Why, or why not? What changes, if any, would you like to make?
- If money was not a limiting factor, what would be your dream career/how would you spend most of your time?
Thank you for taking the time to read our post! Feel free to share any reflections you have, or any advice that you have regarding finding your right livelihood! We’ll look forward to seeing them below 🙂
Love & Light,