Old generations value input. New generation values output. But where exactly should we place our value?
“Keep your head down, work hard,” used to be the old mantra echoed by generations past. If you were the first to show up and the last to leave, you were most likely the one tapped for the promotion.
Older generations valued how much time you put into your work, how much you sacrificed, how loyal you were.
On the flip-side, nowadays our generation values how much you’ve done with your life.
“Have you started your own company? How many books have you written? What’s your Twitter follower count?”
Produce more so we can consume more. Squeeze every ounce of free time into something productive.
Input or Output? Which generation had it right?
Crack Open the Black Box
In real life, I am a supply chain analyst. A supply chain is a series of inputs, processes, and outputs. To simplify things, we tend to call complex processes the black box.
But in this game of life we play, what’s in our black box?
Purpose. Purpose is at the center of input and output. Purpose drives our process. Without purpose, we’re just a middleman in the cog of another person’s agenda.
The value people tie to themselves by either how hard they work or how much they produce bothers me. What people fail to realize is that in their black box, between inputs and outputs, lies something even more valuable – their true purpose.
But how does one find their true purpose? We crack open the block box.
Have you ever stopped and ask yourself, “Why?”
I’m sure you did, but have you ever asked it five times over?
- Why did I start this blog? Because I love sharing my thoughts and experiences with others.
- Why? Because I hope it helps others find clarity in their struggles.
- Why? Because helping people is good.
- Why? Because people are good.
- Why? Because…
“Why” is an annoying question. It get’s under your skin. It scares you.
But asking “Why” over and over again is the key to unlocking your black box.
In our lifetime, we will most likely see the boundaries of the cubicle and the 40-hour work week dissolve into a new type of work-life balance.
As more and more professionals seek freelance or artistic work, we might not have a definition of work anymore. It may simply be: doing something I love to support my family and me.
We must be careful, however, to understand work is not life. Life creates no commodity. Life is not productive. As we place more emphasis on how much we produce or how productive we are, we will value life less and less.
That’s where understanding your black box comes into play. “Why do any of this?”
We each have our own answer. But let’s be honest, does your answer scare you?
If your “Why” doesn’t scare you, you haven’t thought hard enough. You should be so afraid of not achieving your “Why” that every day of your life is zeroed in on achieving it.
Your “Why” is your purpose. It’s the ultimate renewable energy. Ask yourself “Why,” then ask it again, and again. Ask it five times over.
Find it. Embrace it. Live it.