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How to Find Work That is Meaningful

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What are some tips for identifying what meaningful work would be for me? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Sparks are types of activities that light you up. They're the things that you'd often pay to do, even if it was really hard work. And, if you're fortunate enough to be sparked by the thing you get paid for, you can't believe it and relish every moment you "get" to work.

In my research, I've discovered 5 distinct Sparks:

  1. Curiosity - A Curiosity Spark is when you're fueled by a fierce desire to answer a burning question or solve a specific problem.
  2. Fascination - A Fascination Spark is when you are intrinsically called to learn about a specific topic or idea, the deeper the learning, the better.
  3. Mastery - A Mastery Spark is when you are pulled to become as good as you can possibly be as something. It often doesn't matter what it is, you just want to be amazing at it.
  4. Immersion - An Immersion Spark is when do pursue a particular activity or pursuit simply for the feeling you get while doing it. You often become absorbed and lose track of time, similar to a flow-state or what athletes call being in the zone.
  5. Service - A Service Spark is when you are called to be of service to some other being or community of beings. It could be one person, a group, or even an animal or, on a larger scale, nature.

While many of us have overlapping Sparks, I've found that the people who often feel like their doing deeply meaningful work are pulled by a "primary" Spark, then bolstered by one or two others.

For example, A scientist might be called to find a genetic mutation that can lead to the creation of a cure for a disease. It's the burning question that most fuels him, and at the same time, he is inspired by the possibility that what he will discover may be of service to many.

Finding your Sparks is not the only path to meaningful work, but it can be hugely important.

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