Our Occupations Are For Service

We must find a balance between the ways in which we serve our communities and the ways in which we serve our hearts’ callings.

When people are challenged with the idea that they should do what they love, many automatically assume this necessarily refers to their occupation. This is a patently false assumption, however. Doing what we love is more of a private, personal responsibility to ourselves than it is an occupational goal per se.

Our occupations are the means by which we serve the needs of our communities in exchange for sustenance, usually in the form of money that we use to feed, house, and clothe ourselves and our families. In order for others to be willing to pay us for our skills, knowledge, or expertise, they must first need those things from us more than they need their money.

The work we are paid for revolves more around the needs of others than it does around our own personal desires. Simply put, if there is no public need for the work we do, we do not have a job. For this reason, our occupations may not in fact have anything to do with our personal happiness, fulfillment, or enjoyment.

Doing what we love, then, is a personal matter. It means that we are responsible for finding a balance between the needs of the community that pays us for our service while also serving the calling of our hearts in a way that gives our lives meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. If our service to both our communities and our heart’s calling happen to overlap, we are fortunate indeed, but, if they do not, we should not mourn.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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