I have just finished a regular meeting of the online salon that I have been running for almost a year. Many things didn't go as planned, but looking back, I learned a lot, and I'm thankful that I could continue for almost a year.
The people who stayed until the end were students, and the university students seemed anxious to find a job. As someone who didn't study for exams or look for a job at all but who thought that I had lived my life doing only what I liked in general, I talked a bit about the Ikigai Framework at the end.
Ikigai framework defines purpose as doing what you are good at, what you love, what the world needs, and what you can earn money. A purpose in life translates directly into a "reason to live". And while it's not easy to say that these four things overlap, there is a certain truth to be found here.
When I think back, I didn't always do what I liked. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a film director; I wanted to be an artist. But I realised that I wouldn't be able to live with this, so I went in a different direction. I still love art, and these days I'm pretty obsessed with it, especially croquis. And even when I was at Oxford when I couldn't go to the beach, I still thought about surfing every day. I get in a bad mood if I can't go surfing for a couple of days now. But I've never thought about making a living out of surfing. In other words, I haven't always made a living doing what I love.
But that's not to say that I don't care about environmental issues and science. I took four undergraduate degrees in biology, economics, statistics, and oceanography simultaneously, so it's normal for me to be interested in several things simultaneously. It just so happened that I chose science instead of surfing or art.
And maybe I was better at thinking scientifically than I was at art or surfing, and at the same time, it was a skill that the world needed when I started working, and it was an activity that could make money.
I happen to be a person who likes many things, but if you don't, why not start with something you don't hate and can do? Try it and see if it's something you really like and if it's something you can earn a living doing.
I actually worked in musical theatre when I decided to make a living from art. It's a lot of physical work, and we'd be clearing out until midnight. But the amount of money I got for a day's work was less than a tenth of what I got after I did my PhD in the environment at Oxford University. The biogas and climate change projects I'm working on are also needed from an environmental and social point of view. In that sense, I'm glad I didn't try to make a living out of art or surfing.
I consider myself quite flexible, and without realising it, I moved into a profession where I could earn a decent living, and I was good at, but not just purely what I loved. I think there are activities that you think you like, but you realise that they're not so fun when you tried them. So if you can't take the first step, why not start with something you don't mind trying and you can do, and don't focus too much on the feelings you love?
This also connects to the "Do What You Love and Love What You Do" and Planned Happenstance Theory that I wrote before.