Tuesday, 23 October 2018

The holy grail of being "useful"

How many of us in our life goals wanted to do something useful? Not just for ego or for profit. Something that genuinely benefits others, addresses inequality in our society or specifically aims to assist the disempowered and the vulnerable? Of course, many of us working in a whole range of occupations do - human rights campaigners, environmental activists, journalists, nurses, lawyers, teachers, social workers, carers, youth workers, therapists, counsellors, charity workers, community organisers, MPs, doctors, vets and all the others I haven't mentioned.

I was recently reading a Facebook post by a very talented artist (@GillGamble), who it turns out spent a difficult year in medical school before realising that this evidently was not her vocation in life. Now as an artist and storyteller, she feels that finally she has found a role which is important and plays to her talents but which doesn't play to those conventional ideas of useful occupations.

I realised how much I had struggled with this notion of finding yourself a "useful" occupation and how, in fact, it is OK to sometimes let it go. Not because helping others isn't important. But sometimes, something you think of as "useful", an idea that you imposed on yourself at some point or was imposed upon you, isn't actually where your individual strengths lie.