I have just returned from northern Iraq, where I have been training Iraqi psychologists working with survivors of ISIS. It was a profoundly moving and humbling experience.
And it wasn’t easy. The students are wonderful but teaching is hard, and obviously the things we are talking about are deeply traumatic - beyond what any human being should ever have to go through.
But I wouldn’t have missed a second of it.
Because all the time I was there I was so conscious that doing this work is totally in line with my values - helping survivors, teaching good psychology, trying to work towards a better society. I found my why - the why I get up, the why I work longer hours to create good teaching, the why I write about psychology here.
I could do another more ‘fun’ job (although no one is offering so just as well I like the one I have). But I know I won’t. Because for all the horror there is true connection with another human being. For me that’s the most important thing in life.
And when you find your why, you feel it. You feel it in your body. You know you’ve hit that sweet spot when what you are doing what matters even when there’s no joy or fun it. Doing the stuff that matters isn’t always brimming with pleasure but it’s deeply important to help us find out what really matters to us.
Imagine what it’s like to really know what matters to you and the sense of direction and meaning it can give to your life. As Mastercard so aptly says ‘it’s priceless’. Though I think they are getting you to spend money, not follow your values. Just a thought.
So next time you you are doing something and you find yourself saying ‘This feels really right’, then pay close attention because you are doing what really matters to you in life.
You’ve found your why.