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Should You Chase a ‘Dream Job’ To Feel Like a Success?

Should You Chase a ‘Dream Job’ To Feel Like a Success?

Almost everybody has an idea of their ‘dream job’ or what success should be like.

For a lot of people, becoming a billionaire like Mark Zuckerberg is their standard for success. For others, a ‘dream job’ includes unlimited paid vacation, while you close deals at the Bahamas. Think: Richard Branson of Virgin Group. Right now, you probably feel like you’re not living your passions. You may even feel like quitting your job to chase after a dream career.

But what if you knew that ALL of us can, in fact, have our dream jobs AND feel like a success?

The answer isn’t winning the lottery or becoming a freelancer. It’s actually simpler – and less sexy – than that.

Success by the Numbers

You don’t need to search the deep Web to find ‘success stories’ about people who quit their jobs to chase after their dreams. These tales occupy every blog and news site nowadays. You’ll read about dreary work environments, not fulfilling inner passions, and then finally being set free from these troubles with a letter of resignation.

It’s all good. After all, dreams shouldn’t die just because you’ve become an adult. But if there’s one thing these stories don’t tell is WHAT you do afterward.

You’re not an awful person for wanting to be successful like Bill Gates, or to wish for a career like Tim Cook’s. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself WHY you want these things? If you suddenly become Apple’s CEO, what can you bring to the table?

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chase-after-success-suit-tie

    Some people believe that successful businesses and personalities attained their status overnight. But even Facebook, during their first year, encountered financial troubles. If we truly dissect the path of successful brands and personalities, we’ll see striking similarities in their journeys:

    • Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1975, but didn’t strike a major deal with IBM until six years later
    • Amazon broke the online shopping bubble seven years after it was founded in 1994
    • Apple didn’t take off until the launch of Macintosh eight years later
    • The famous Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC, started selling his chicken as early as 1930, but didn’t earn him recognition until after six years
    • Google beat other search engines for supremacy eight years after it was founded

    Numbers don’t lie: real success takes time.

    Just because you’re Bill Gates doesn’t guarantee that your life will be smooth sailing. Opening an online retailing business is no assurance that you’ll be financially free. And joining the restaurant bandwagon won’t immediately land you 200 franchises around the world.

    The Problem with ‘Dream Jobs’

    In a survey by National Society of High School Scholars, it’s no surprise that millennial participants cited Google, Apple, Starbucks, and Walt Disney as the top companies they’d want to work for. Not only do these businesses boast great company culture, they also offer social responsibility programs.

    To a generation that grew up during the recession, working in an environment that provides purpose, great pay, and flexible scheduling is a dream job.

    But what if you don’t have the necessary skills for the openings they have? Will securing a position at any of these companies really make you happy?

    What if it doesn’t?

    Licensed therapist and Professor of Human Behavior at The City University of New York, Melody Wilding, LMSW, suggests keeping it real when it comes to your ‘dream job’.

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    ‘There is no such thing as a model career. No job has zero downsides, and it’s unrealistic to expect perfection from a particular role, employer, or yourself. There will always be tradeoffs and compromises you’ll need to make in any position no matter how great the organization is or how awesome your boss is – and that’s OK.’

    Assuming you’ll instantly be a success or that you’ll be absolutely happy once you work at your ‘dream job’ is a myth. Like in other occupations, there are good and bad days. One of the main reasons people who acquire their dream careers incur big regrets is because they didn’t align it with their skills. How could you be happy in a job you’re not good at?

    chase-after-success-zenith

      Take it from author, speaker, and consultant Simon Sinek. A ‘dream job’ is not exactly a high-paying career or that sleek office with a view of Manhattan. If you keep chasing a ‘dream job’ in the hopes that you’ll be happier or successful, then you might end up on the wrong path.

      ‘And so living your dream job has nothing to do with the specifics of the job. It has to do with the fulfillment that you get from that job.’

      If you’re a writer today but your dream is to become a nurse so you could help others, who says you’re not doing the same thing now? By being a writer, you’re helping to give readers a new perspective. Who knows how many souls your pen has already inspired?

      In Pursuit of Success: What To Do Instead

      Chasing dreams is not bad. But keep an open mind and try not to jump in with both feet in the water.

      If you believe you have what it takes to bag a job at Walt Disney or Google, go for it! However, do it because you know you possess the skills the job will need. Chasing a ‘dream job’ because you want to escape the challenges of your current career is NOT the way to go.

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      Pursue success with both eyes open by:

      1. Identifying what you’re good at.

      Say you want to break into the healthcare industry, but your current experience doesn’t match anything in that sector. But you really, really want to take care of people. First off: be honest with yourself and identify your transferable skills.

      It’s possible to get the job you want even without experience – but you need to at least have the capability. Are you patient towards others? Can you practice grace under pressure? Are you up-to-date with the latest healthcare trends?

      If you’re having trouble, enlist the help of an objective friend or family member to help you. You can also consult a professional career adviser. Looking for online resources? Try the interactive Continuing Professional Development (CPD) toolkit from Jobs.ac.uk.

      2. Putting in the required hours.

      Now that you know what you’re good at, it’s time to sharpen those skills. Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos didn’t become successful by just being good. By working long hours, learning from their mistakes, and observing trends, they became great.

      Excellence, after all, is a habit. Something that you repeatedly over long a long period of time that it’s become automatic to you. Consider the example above. Once you’ve established that you have the skills needed to become a nurse, the next logical step is to learn what you can.

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      This may require you to go back to school. Or maybe you need to take a few courses along with your day job. What matters is that you put in the hours needed so you don’t jump into your dream empty-handed.

      3. Steering slowly in the direction you want.

      Finally, don’t chase dreams head on. This is especially true for people with dependents. If you quickly leave your job or jump into entrepreneurship without a plan, you might end up hurting your loved ones more than yourself. Instead, bide your time but steer slowly towards your goals.

      So if you want to enter the healthcare industry, for instance, try a few volunteer opportunities first. For people looking to enter the business sector, look for apprenticeship from companies in the industry you’re targeting.

      Doing so will help you get a feel of what it’s like working at your ‘dream job’. From there, you can assess whether or not it’s a right fit for you.

      chase-after-success-sun-city

        Nabbing your ‘dream job’ is just the beginning. Like the success stories of Oprah, Stephen King, and J.K. Rowling, you need hard work, failure, and time. You don’t want to become a one-hit wonder. You deserve more than that.

        Go after success that lasts a lifetime. Success that you can give to your loved ones and to your community long after the chase is over.

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        Cris Antonio

        Content Strategist, Storyteller

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        Last Updated on December 9, 2019

        How to Become Smarter: 21 Things You Can Do Daily

        How to Become Smarter: 21 Things You Can Do Daily

        Although many people believe intelligence is limited to those with high I.Q.s, there are a number of potential methods to boost one’s cognitive abilities and become more effective at various professional and personal pursuits.

        With enough motivation and determination, anyone can expand their mental capabilities and become smarter. Integrating new habits into your regular routine and providing proper stimulation can sharpen your intellect quickly and leave you inspired to take on new challenges each day.

        So how to become smarter?

        Brain health is an important key in complete physical health. The list below includes the best brain-engaging activities in daily life.

        Inviting Novelty

        To create new neural pathways and strengthen the brain, it’s critical for people to continually incorporate new experiences and information into their lives. At first, these moments might feel useless, but eventually, you will find yourself looking forward to quiet moments alone.

        1. Visit New Places

        Whether this means studying in a new coffee shop, taking a different route to work, or traveling to a different country, displacement is good for the brain. This might be difficult to recognize in the moment since it usually feels rather awkward – at least initially. At the coffee shop, you can’t order the “usual.” You have to study a new menu, pick something you have never tried before, and make a decision.

        While this seems simple, people enjoy the comfort of habit. We like to know what to expect at all times. When you travel to a new country, the language is strange, the customs are unfamiliar, and the culture presents a strange new rhythm of life. Adjusting to these new elements forces the brain to tackle new, unexpected challenges.

        Learning how to communicate through a language barrier forces the brain to develop creative ways to express needs and emotions. Listening to new music, trying new foods, and navigating foreign streets all work to challenge your brain’s capacity to adapt to new situations.

        2. Continue Your Education

        Adult education is one of the best investments of time, money, and energy you can make. While education is valuable throughout childhood and adolescence, adults often underestimate their ability to learn new concepts and skills.

        Challenge yourself to take a class, academic or creative. Voluntarily choosing to continue education provides a perfect opportunity for your brain to create new connections and build higher intelligence.

        Also check out these 15 Ways to Cultivate Continuous Learning for a Sharper Brain.

        3. Read and Watch the News

        This is one activity that maintains the appearance of habit while nurturing healthy brain waves. Setting aside half an hour every morning or evening to read a newspaper or watch the news will help your brain stay active.

        Digesting new information is a good daily habit. The news introduces interesting topics to consider, and will leave your brain churning with new information.

        4. Read

        Reading is the most basic way to facilitate brain activity, but it often presents some of the most diverse opportunities for stretching brain capacity.

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        Reading provides practical assistance by introducing new vocabulary, presenting examples of proper grammar usage, and showing the elegance of a well-written sentence. However, this is only half of the magic of reading.

        Whether you choose fiction, non-fiction, historical literature, or poetry, reading offers an opportunity for the reader to make big-picture connections between the literature and real life. In this way, reading is an alternative way to make your brain travel to a new place.

        As your imagination works to create tangible people, places, and experiences from the words on the page, your brain is rewiring to understand all the new information.

        Here’re some great books to read:

        5. Approach Work in New Ways

        The workplace is a canvas for new experiences. Regardless of what type of job you might hold, everyone is at one time or another presented with opportunities to think outside the box, problem solve in a creative way, and contribute fresh ideas to the team.

        Instead of stressing over each new problem, it’s important to relax and starting imagining alternatives for reaching an end goal.


        Challenging Yourself

        Like a weightlifter who develops muscles, one must exercise the brain on a daily basis, pushing it just beyond its current capabilities. As Albert Einstein once said,

        “One should not pursue goals that are easily achieved. One must develop an instinct for what one can just barely achieve through one’s greatest efforts.”

        This quote encapsulates what I believe about the brain. With enough focus and stretching, the brain can truly surprise people.

        Underestimating yourself holds you back from success. When people begin believing in their abilities, they often go beyond what they thought was possible.

        6. Do Brain Training

        Organizations like Lumosity offer fantastic daily brain training. With puzzles and games designed to increase neuroplasticity, Lumosity was created to challenge the brain to make new connections.

        A group of neuroscientists at University of California Berkeley developed this program to provide stimuli for the brain to push it to adapt and re-train itself in uncharted territory. Success stories abound concerning the results of this public experiment.

        You can also try these 11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory.

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        7. Ask 5 Whys When Encountering Problems

        One of the most standard problem solving solutions, the 5 whys still provide a solid start to uncovering the root of a problem.

        Asking a question gets the brain working to find an answer. Instead of worrying about the problem, always start by asking why.

        Learn more about this problem solving framework here: How to Solve Any Problem Efficiently with 5 Whys (Step-By-Step Guide)

        8. Eschew Technology to Keep the Brain in Shape

        Technology does wonders for the modern world, but in some ways, technological dependence stunts the brain’s capacity for problem solving, adapting to new environments, and being a reliable resource for practical things like simple mathematics and navigation.

        Try going on a trip without a GPS. Work a few algebra problems without a calculator. Make your brain work for you; you’ll see the results.

        9. Foster Creativity

        Finger-painting in preschool was not only a fun activity; it helped open up the mind to new possibilities and ways of solving problems. An artistic mindset creates new opportunities to find new solutions, fresh inspiration, and peaceful confidence.

        The blend of these elements in both personal and professional environments allows ordinary people to shine by becoming an innovative thinker and inventive leader. Find ways to incorporate creativity into the dull grind of daily tasks.

        Take a look at these 30 Tips to Rejuvenate Your Creativity.

        10. Draw

        You don’t have to be an artist to appreciate the benefits of drawing, which cultivates brain activity in a unique way. In addition to nurturing basic hand-eye coordination, it sends synapses to neurotransmitters to help more permanently and vividly store your memories.

        From doodles on a piece of scrap paper to charcoal portraits, drawing is a healthy brain activity for everyone.

        11. Paint

        Painting is an extension of drawing. It feeds the same areas of the brain; but unlike drawing, painting often introduces new and unfamiliar textures and colors to stimulate the brain.

        Painters often have a keen sense of awareness towards their surroundings. Engaging in painting encourages people to notice minute details of the world around them. Focusing the brain in this manner brings a heightened state of alertness.

        12. Play an Instrument

        Learning to play an instrument also has outstanding benefits for the brain. Hand-eye coordination, memory, concentration, and mathematic skills all improve through playing an instrument. While some are more challenging to learn than others, any instrument facilitates increased and improved cognitive functioning.

        From training your fingers to master complex musical passages on the piano to counting the beats in a musical measure, instruments force various regions of the brain to work together to create music.

        13. Write

        Like reading, writing encourages vocabulary growth, grammar skills, and use of proper syntax. Writing helps the brain store information more effectively and fosters better memory skills. Studies show that students who regularly take handwritten notes during college classes consistently score better on tests.[1]

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        Writing forces a person to pay attention to their memories, experiences, and internal dialogues – a combination that increases brain function altogether.

        Learn more about the benefits of writing: 5 Benefits of Writing: Why You Should Write Every Day

        14. Role-Play

        Put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and your brain starts to rewire to help you think like a different person.

        For those struggling to form creative ideas, role-playing can help the wheels start turning in the brain to help develop unique solutions for difficult problems.


        Working with Others

        Although logical intelligence is important, emotional intelligence plays an equally vital part in overall success. Interacting with others helps people expand beyond their own limited thinking, gain new ideas, and see things from a different perspective.

        People are challenging. Smart people often enjoy isolation because it protects them from being critical of others. However, this discomfort is necessary for truly smart people because it pushes them outside their bubble.

        When you start to believe you have all the right answers, start collaborating with others to expand perspective.

        15. Teach and Share Information with Others

        Whether this is achieved virtually or face-to-face, pursue colleagues and peers to share experience and wisdom. Fresh faces and new ideas spur inspiration and create an amplified learning environment for the brain.

        By creating a network for sharing ideas, your brain starts developing a new network for formulating and executing innovative concepts.

        16. Talk to Interesting People

        No two people share the same life experiences. Everyone interprets information uniquely, stores memories differently, and digests daily life with their own intellectual flare. This makes collaboration a necessity for brain health.

        Although we are all inclined to think our method is the best approach, gaining perspective from another person helps our brain consider new solutions and new techniques for both personal and professional issues.

        Whether the conversation is centered on religion, finances, politics, or diet trends, people should practice being a good listener. Silencing your own thoughts while the other person speaks is often challenging, but the brain needs discipline to stay sharp.

        17. Work in a Team Environment

        Collaborative environments are essential for enhancing brain activity. Some people who enjoy working independently dread the moment when they are forced to participate in a team-focused workplace. However, these independent individuals are highly intelligent and can benefit the most from a little teamwork.

        Author Steve Johnson’s book, Where Good Ideas Come From, focuses on the benefits of collaborating with peers and coworkers to develop original ideas and effective strategies for their execution. The modern workplace continues to shift towards this team-oriented approach.

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        Cultivating Physical Health

        The body feeds the brain, and keeping oneself in top physical condition is crucial to adequate fueling and operation of the brain. Lack of motivation, mental fatigue, and absence of inspiration are typically connected to poor exercise, diet, and focus.

        18. Exercise

        Studies constantly show people who exercise regularly have higher I.Q. scores.[2] In addition to maintaining a strong body, people who exercise regularly actually stimulate brain cell growth. A process called neurogenesis occurs during rigorous exercise, which increases the production of neurotransmitters. With side effects like increased dopamine, active people enjoy less stress, better concentration, and more energy.

        Dr. Michael Nilsson of Sahlgrenska Academy and Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden conducted extensive research on the topic.[3] “Being fit means that you also have a good heart and lung capacity and that your brain gets plenty of oxygen,” the doctor said. His research focused on over a million Swedish military men, and Dr. Nilsson found a direct correlation between physical fitness and high scores on I.Q. tests.

        19. Pursue Athletics

        Multiple studies have shown active children typically do better in school and have a better chance of continuing their education after high school graduation. Although athletic pursuits can feel grueling at the time, the overall benefits of intense physical activity are wise for your future.

        Whether it’s finding one thing you are good at, like basketball, running, or lifting weights, or trying something new every day, maintaining an athletic routine is important for optimal brain health.

        20. Meditate

        Controlling and calming the brain is as powerful as enhancing activity through instruments and puzzles. Doctors have been studying the effects of mediation on the brain for several years, and the results are impressive.

        In one famous study, Dr. Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin collaborated with the Dalai Lama to study what happens to the brain during meditation.[4]

        Transcendental Meditation yields impressive results for the brain. People who struggle with fear, anxiety, depression, and other mental ailments should experiment with meditation to calm themselves and develop a stronger sense of focus.

        Here’s a The 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime to help you start meditating.

        21. Maintain a Nutritious Diet

        Children and adults interested in boosting brain activity should begin by transforming their diet. Research from the University of Bristol in England points to a strong connection between unhealthy diet and low I.Q. scores in children.[5] To begin reversing unhealthy tendencies, try cutting out excess fat, sugar, and fast foods, and start adding more vegetables, fruit, and lean meats. These 12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health are good for you too.

        There are also a number of unusual drinks proven to help brain function. Matcha green tea, raw cacao hot chocolate, and ginkgo biloba tea all show benefits for the brain. Some scientist claim ginkgo biloba helps pump more blood to the brain, improving circulation.

        The Bottom Line

        Creating daily routines to promote healthy brain activity doesn’t require the advice of a neuroscientist. While plenty of studies provide convincing evidence, increasing brain activity can be accomplished with a few basic steps.

        Be intentional about your time and energy to start working towards a smarter and more fulfilling life.

        More to Boost Your Brain Power

        Featured photo credit: David Iskander via unsplash.com

        Reference

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