What do I want to do later when you grow up? That’s a question that obsessed me early on, from primary school at the very least.
Children go through phases: they want to be a firefighter one day, then a police officer or a youtuber the next one. I’m lucky to have parents who raised me without trying to prompt me into a career path. I was free to make my own choices, which triggered my will to be proactive in my search for a vocation.
I made a pact with myself: whatever the job I end up doing, I will love it. I already developed the intuition that you can make up your own meaning. What you do in life doesn’t matter as much as where you’re headed, and any direction is fine. You are free to choose the meaning of your life, there is no definite answer.
We are in an age of entrepreneurship where you have the opportunity to create your own meaningful job. Just take charge. The concept of Ikigai is outdated: you can combine any interest you have to come up with an activity you can be paid for, so don’t limit yourself to what others think is a profitable career path. Dare to experiment, dare to spend time on side-projects you care about.
If you love dancing, or painting, or whatever career path your father figure says it’s not realistic to pursue, just find a way to be paid for it. It’s not always straightforward, you have to develop cross-domain interests to come up with an original business model.
Let’s say you love sculpting. Your ability to get paid for what you do stems from your perceived mastery of your craft: what is it you have to offer and how much is it worth? Find a way to increase your perceived value by communicating about it: create info products, write about it, make videos, record a podcast… Anthony Bourdain is a great example: in his own words, he is an average chef, but he found a way to bring his art to the masses to make a living by combining his eccentric persona, his curiosity for travels, and his past experiences as a chef.
Your entrepreneurial spirit is your best asset to find meaningful work. Don’t be afraid to use it.