The Most Important Question in Life

Bill Abbate

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How do you see your job or the work you do? Considering most of us will spend a third of our lives working, it is a serious question to consider. If you are serious about life, that is.

Let's look at some perspectives people hold about the work they do. Do you see your job/work as:

  • A way to earn a paycheck
  • A way to get by
  • Benefits (health insurance, 401k, etc.)
  • A pain
  • Something you must do/an obligation
  • Demanding
  • Boring
  • Exciting
  • Fulfilling
  • Providing opportunities to get ahead

If none of those quite fit, how do you see your work?

Taking a different perspective

What if you took on an entirely different view of working. A view in which it is not about what you do, what you get, or what you give. This view is none of those things. It is about something far more important.

What if you shifted your perspective to one of seeing your job in an entirely different way. What if you looked at your choices and how they are making you who you are? Another way to say this is to ask yourself, "Who am I becoming?"

What and who you become is far more important than any job. It is far more important for the other two-thirds of your life, isn't it? It is about who you are and how you interact with others in life-giving relationships. That is far more important than any paycheck, don't you think?

In the end, it will be who you were and who you became that matters most. Your job does not make you who you are. No, you make yourself by your choices. Each choice is part of your process of becoming whatever and whomever you will be.

Look at it this way, no one owns you; no one can demand you do anything you do not wish to do. Yes, you read that right. Even if someone were to threaten your life at gunpoint, it is still your choice to do or not do whatever they demand. Why would you allow your job or someone on your job to "make" you do anything? Similarly, why would you allow anything or anyone else on earth to "make" you do anything you did not want to do? It is you, and you alone, who can make the choice to do whatever you decide to do.

You have all of the power in you that you will ever need to make any choice you so decide.

"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving." Oliver Wendell Holmes

Final words

The most important question you can ask yourself in this life is:

Who am I becoming?

Is that not more important than money or getting ahead? After all, you are your life, and your life is you. Your life is not a job, and it is not money. It is not the corner office or the title behind your name. One day all of those will be gone. What will remain is not who you were but who you became.

I leave you with the words of a renowned American economist, journalist, and college professor from early in the last century. His words are about work but apply more broadly to life as well. Think about them and make the choices that matter most for who you are becoming.

"The man who works for the gold in the job rather than for the money in the pay envelope, is the fellow who gets on." Joseph French Johnson

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA
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