The Art of Work by Jeff Goins
A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to do
Finding your calling can be difficult and tiring. It also involves many twists and turns. There is no destination and you will always be on a journey. Everyone is searching for their calling in life. This book also contains messages and examples of people who have made it.
A calling is not some carefully crafted plan. It’s what’s left when the plan goes horribly wrong. – Jeff Goins
There is no guarantee that you will still be alive tomorrow. Therefore, it helps that you can should live life to the fullest. Garrett was a blind cyclist. However, he overcame the odds and became a miracle. Discover what you were born to do. ‘What should you do with your life?’ Learn to find your vocation in life. A vocation is more than a job. You are dealt with a pack of cards and you need to make the most of what you have. It’s what you do with your chances that counts and makes the difference. When you were young, you had big dreams. But somehow along the way, you gave them up. Listen hard to the whisper in your voice. Do not come up with excuses on why you shouldn’t want to do something. Trust your gut but also do things that are uncomfortable and painful. There are 7 themes to someone’s story: 1) Awareness; 2) Apprenticeship; 3) Practice; 4) Discovery; 5) Profession; 6) Mastery; 7) Legacy. Some stages are overlapping in nature. There is a process to finding your life’s work. Do not think of everything that you could have been. Every life is important and significant. Learn to see difficulties as opportunities. Life is full of surprises and you need to react best to them.
Listen to Your Life. Listen to clues and be aware. Larry did a CAT scan and found that he had brain tumour. Larry only lasted 9 months more before he passed on. Always remember to show your appreciation to people you love. Even in your painful moments, life is teaching you a lesson. You must be aware and learn to pay attention. Sometimes, things are not always in your control. Hard work can only get you so far. Some people like to believe that if you must your mind at anything, you can succeed. But getting whatever you want may not make you extremely happy. Life would not be very fun if you were determined in everything you do, but you had no choice over what you could do. How you react to events makes a difference. 87% of the workforce is not engaged in their work. Maybe we should stop looking for happiness. Rather, we should look for meaning or find a reason to be happy. If people have an on-going project, or a job to do, then they have a reason to live another day. See the purpose in your suffering. Do what is required of us. Pain can be a blessing too. Fear can be a motivator. You must know when a good time to listen to it is. Sometimes, if you didn’t do well in a certain aspect, you could strive to help others improve on the situation. Look out for major events or ‘inciting events’ in your life. This big event might just spark you into action. You must believe that you are called to something. You need desire and willingness to begin. Many people know what their dream is, the problem is that they do not dare to admit or say it out. Ask yourself something deeper. There are no guarantees against failure. The key is to keep moving and do not stop. Some of the answers are already inside you. You just need to dig them out. ‘Clarity comes with action’ J. Everyone has a calling, somewhere deep inside them. The unknown is what is keeping us from pursuing action. Listen to your life. Habits of awareness are very important. Learn to listen attentively. Write down the major events of your life on paper. Look out for a recurring theme. Understand that nothing is wasted. Everything that has happened in your past can shape your future. Look below the surface. Learn to watch other people. When in doubt, commit to the path. Do not have a commitment problem. A vocation is something you become. Change takes time. Committing to a wrong thing is better than standing still. This is better as you will still learn from failure. Failure is painful, but it is the best way to learn.
When you are stuck fulfilling an obligation instead of chasing a dream, you aren’t your best self. This is why we find more people moving from one job to the next. They are doing their best to be happy but failing miserably. Most of us have done this at some point, quitting one thing for the promise of something better. And we were disappointed to find that the next job or relationship held the same complications as the one we were escaping. – Jeff Goins
You don’t need some big plan. You just need to be a little dissatisfied. You need to have a vague premonition that the world is not completely right. That’s what awareness is: a sense that something more is possible. – Jeff Goins
If you pay attention to your life and the lessons it can teach you, you won’t feel so lost. Your story will seem less like a series of disjointed events and more like a beautifully complex narrative unfolding before you. – Jeff Goins
Nothing is wasted. No job, no task, no obstacle is useless, if we are willing to see how it can fit into our calling…As you explore your calling, you will be surprised by how your previous experiences are conspiring to lead you in the direction of your life’s work. You just have to listen. – Jeff Goins
You cannot find your calling on your own. It’s a process that involves a team of mentors. And everywhere you look, help is available. – Jeff Goins
Accidental Apprenticeships. You can’t do it alone. An apprentice eventually becomes a professional. Sometimes, apprenticeship takes very long, even up to 10 years. It can take up to 10 years to master a craft. Unfortunately, the apprenticeship model is not popular nowadays. There is no such thing as a self-made man and we are all products of the environment. We need help to grow. Learn to refine and sharpen your skills. Help is instructive, but essential. You cannot master something on your own. Listen to those voices, even if people enter your life willingly. When you give birth, it is important to be able to receive support from your loved ones. A mentor need not stay in your life for long as there would be other mentors that come along the way. It is difficult to find a mentor because most people are self-reliant and think they can do it on their own. A teacher will challenge you to think and act differently. ‘The teacher appears when the student is ready’. You must be willing to look for mentors in unexpected places. How do you find them? Fortune favours the motivated. You just need to keep your eyes open. Interns should be involved in the whole process and they should be able to acknowledge the work that they have done. Pass the skills on to the master and multiply it. In Germany, apprenticeship is very common. The student can work and study at the same time and this helps to add tremendous value. An apprenticeship allows you to obtain guidance from an expert. Opportunities are always available, but you have to look at the right place. Practise the tools available to you. You need to seek out your mentor. Give each other support. You need to be deliberate about the opportunities you seek out. Leap and the net will appear. There is a power in harnessing the community. Your mentor might come from the least likely of places.
Always do more than what is required of you. – George S. Patton
For many of us, there is a fundamental problem with our understanding of our own capabilities. We are often exceeding our own expectations of ourselves. And in spite of the evidence pointing to the contrary, we continue to believe in the myth of talent, that some people are born in the certain way, and we cannot rise above our circumstances and achieve something greater than we’ve ever done before. – Jeff Goins
Painful Practice. Forget about passion. Rather, you should do something you are good at. However, there are singers on American idol which were not very good in the competition but went on to be superstars. Talent is over-rated. Everyone needs intense preparation. The type of practise is very important. Doing your best doesn’t work all the time. Mindset is very important. Do not give up too quickly and still think that you tried your best. Most skills are learned. Deliberate practice is a type of performance that leads to expert performance. The right type of practice is the key. Do not give up when the going gets tough. It is easy to settle for good, but not great. The practice must not be too enjoyable and it has to be difficult. Recognize what you do for fun and what you want to excel at. You must love your work. A spark of inspiration is important. Sometimes, you might be practising even without knowing it. This is known as accidental apprenticeship. Where does motivation come from? It starts with a spark. Inspiration and motivation to practice is important. We all want to make a contribution to the world eventually. William Hung’s video went viral. He even cut an album and achieved fame.
Putting an activity through painful practice is a great way to determine your experience in life. If you can do something when it’s not fun, even when you’re exhausted and bored and want to give up, then it might just be your calling. – Jeff Goins
If you can love what you do, even when it hurts, then you may have more than a hobby. And if you’ve never pushed your talents this far before, if you’ve never tested your skills that much, then you probably haven’t discovered your true vocation. – Jeff Goins
The idea that every person can be whatever he or she wants isn’t always true. Success is more than a matter of hard work; it’s contingent on factors sometimes outside of our control. Where and when you were born can influence what you do. – Jeff Goins
When you see a little hope, doors will open…Never give up, because all you need is a little hope. – Jeff Goins
Building Bridges (The Leap That Wasn’t a Leap). Some people can just relocate to Africa. Sometimes, if you move to a new area, you can make a bigger difference doing what you love. Find what you love and what the world needs. A calling is always messy. There is no guarantee of success, but you just have to take the leap sometimes. Do not trust people when they say they just know when they have found their passion. It is an intentional process. Famous people usually like to admit that they have special powers. Action is more complicated than you think. Listen to the whisper in your heart. Clarity of calling doesn’t come from a moment of epiphany, but rather, a series of deliberate decisions. It is crucial to find a mentor. You have to RESPOND to the call by taking ACTION. Prepare and learn to trust your feelings. Every step will reveal choices you have to make. Learn to take small steps at a time. There is no need to do something audacious. Take small steps. Reality doesn’t conform to what you think life should be. Sometimes, leaping without preparation is not a good idea indeed. It would be good if your project can offer hope to others and change their lives. Before you leap, you need to do your research. Instead of leaping, build a bridge. Not knowing is an excuse. It is normal to feel afraid after leaving your job. If you want a safe journey, continue to do what you do. You MUST KEEP MOVING, even if it is in the wrong direction.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it. – W.C. Fields
Pivot Points (Why Failure is Your Friend). You might find your passion by experiencing failure. Even when opportunities have dried up, you can pivot. Sometimes, what you do isn’t what you planned from the start. Pivoting is learning how to deal with difficulties and uncertainties. Successful people learn to deal with failure. Sometimes, you will need to try new stuff. Make the most of any situation that you are thrown in. When you are failing, do not give up and despair. Hardship is an opportunity to succeed. Learn to push through your failure. Focus on what you are meant to do. Life is not a dream. You must transform yourself into a dreamer into a doer. Say ‘let’s’ instead of ‘what if’. Keep moving, even if it’s in a different direction. Stop talking and start doing. You must try.
Albert Einstein worked in a patent office; Benjamin Franklin was forced to flee his hometown; Steve Jobs got kicked out of his own company. We all face times of irrelevance; of falling on our own faces and thinking we have no business doing any of this. But pain is a great teacher and failure is a faithful mentor. – Jeff Goins
Dreams are powerful. They are fuel for change. But by themselves, they do no good. Hanging out in coffee shops and talking about one day being a writer or an activist or an entrepreneur is just about the worst thing you can do. – Jeff Goins
The Portfolio Life (A New Kind of Mastery). Places can also have a big impact on you. Later, I decided that I wanted to be a park ranger. Jody changed career from a financial analyst to be a park ranger. Have a portfolio life. Most self-employed people take up portfolio lives and try different types of tasks. Freelancing is the trend. We are hardwired to take up multiple hobbies and combine them to produce our best work. There are 5 different types of work: 1) fee work; 2) salary work; 3) homework; 4) study work; 5) gift work. Careers do not last that long nowadays. Have a portfolio mindset. Invest your life. Have someone to share your vocation with. Play is important too. Play is what you do to make your work interesting. Your work must have an ultimate purpose. Sensible people reinvent themselves every 10 years. You must do your work well. Masters keep pushing and carrying on. Stop focusing on being famous. Money is a by-product. Understand the true meaning of work. What are you working for? We all have a moral responsibility to ask whether the work is good or not. Work is a means of making people better. Increase in income, to a certain extent, does not make people happy. Flow is an important stage to achieve. Use your gifts in a challenging way. A calling may evolve over time as well.
Don’t search for your calling. Explore, try new things, keep your feet moving. Something will grab you. It will call to you. It is no different from falling in love. You can’t sit on the couch and decide that you are going to marry a certain girl. You fall in love after sharing experiences, joy, challenges, maybe even heartbreak. All of which could not have happened without leaving your couch, being involved, and meeting the one girl you can’t stop thinking about. – Jody
A life isn’t significant except for its impact on other lives. – Jackie Robinson
You don’t have to earn a living for 30 years to turn around and spend the next 30 years giving it away. If significance is what matters to you, you can structure your life and work in a way that allows to live your legacy now. In fact, your giving doesn’t have to be a by-product of your success; it can be the very thing that drives it in the first place. – Jeff Goins
Sometimes, all the little things in life aren’t interruptions to our calling. They are the most important part. – Jeff Goins
Your Magnum Opus (What Legacy Looks Like). Poverty is not objective, but it is more subjective. It is more of a mindset. How do you turn your work into something generous? Work should be both the means and the end to a better life. ‘Do what you love and do it for people who you love.’ Success isn’t about you. Work isn’t just a means of getting a paycheck. Do what you are good at and help others. A job is not just about improving yourself. You are still making a difference even if you don’t do things you like. The small things in life count. A calling is a life well lived. Freedom must have boundaries attached to it. Do not spend time pretending to be someone else. You can also prove your talent through great work. If you do meaningful work, you become yourself. Do not ignore your call. Your calling is not just your vocation, it is your entire life. Legacy should be your goal. Be consumed by the calling. Your work is a support system for your life.
It can be dangerous to have a compulsion to work. Lose yourself in the process. However, this could be a problem if you cannot disassociate yourself from it. Use it in your advantage. How do you not let a passion destroy you? You should work hard, but you need to acknowledge the limitations of life. There will always be unfinished work before you die. But you don’t have to kill yourself over it. At that time, you should try to pass it on to the new generation.