Consider Existence for Success
Why are we here?
What is existence, and the meaning of life?
What brings me happiness?
Questions like these prove difficult to answer for most people. They belong to a branch of Philosophy called ontology, the philosophical study of being, which is fully as heavy as it sounds. If you graduated from school in the last 50 years, chances are you took a philosophy class. And, unless you were majoring in Humanities or something related, chances are you forgot everything you learned in that course long before graduation.
In general, capitalist societies don’t place huge emphasis on self-reflection.
Dedicating time and space to reflect on existence and meaning equals less time dedicated to manufacturing or selling. Furthermore, people working 50+ hours/week lack the luxury of disposable time. In traditional business culture, organizations use short-sighted metrics to measure productivity and performance. Consequently, these success-indicators emphasize maximizing return to stockholders.
Notably, workforce-driving value for these organizations is pulled from a system (go to school, graduate with a degree and find a job) that provides the assumed purpose of retirement. For the individual, the purpose of working is saving enough money to be able to retire one day.
Life becomes work in hopes that one day, it isn’t.
Personal fulfillment doesn’t even enter the equation.
The New Wave of Happiness
However, this linear progression through education to employment is quickly being replaced by a whirling zigzag of millennial entrepreneurs and autodidact techies. Thus, change in the business narrative begs the question, What happens when we reflect on our existence and define our purpose? What happens if we apply that to our professional lives too?
In 2016, LinkedIn provided some insight to these questions by completing the largest global study on the role of purpose in the workplace. Unsurprisingly, they found those individuals driven by a self-chosen purpose prove 50% more likely to be in leadership positions. Additionally, they are 39% more likely to stay at their companies for 3+ years.
In other words, being purpose-driven leads to more money (leadership positions typically pay more) and better job security. It also leads to a happier life as 73% of these individuals reported being satisfied with their jobs.
Turns out that requisite philosophy course may benefit your career after all.