There is SO MUCH attention on money in the world.
And for good reason: people need money to meet their most basic needs. And competition is often high.
In just 1970, the global population was nearly half of what it is in 2020.

And yet, most of us can see that the value of money in one’s life is highly inflated by media, especially in the Western world.
We are inundated with advertisements and ideologies that convince us to buy, buy, buy.
If you live in a city, you are literally, physically surrounded by messages on billboards and screens which shout, implicitly, “Expensive things are better” “Be rich to be happy” and even “Wealth will make you beautiful”.

It’s no wonder that people work so hard for the money.

And, it’s no wonder that this pursuit has earned nicknames like “The Rat Race” or “The Grind.” Where does it get us, after all?
In our post-industrial modern era, one can work a joy for years without even understanding how it fits into a bigger picture of the world.
These Ivory Coast cacao farmers had never even tasted chocolate.

Whether as a response to poverty, or in outright excessive wealth, this aspect of the Bliss Map can be a quagmire.
Without having the other aspects of the Bliss Map in our life and work, we’re likely to feel something missing.
Just working for the money simply doesn’t cut it. You will never make enough, there is often a debt spiral, there is risk of stagnation, and you become a slave to money.

Serving Needs

Though it can be a difficult balance, there’s no argument that money is versatile and powerful. Its express purpose is to be used to trade with any other material goods.
There are many things that money can’t buy. Indeed, some of the most important aspects of life meet this criterion.
But there are some human needs that “Getting Paid for It” in our work can more directly serve.
To list a few:

to be seen
celebration of life


physical well-being

It should be noted here that someone can have $50K for a job, and not consider that enough, even if that would be more than another person could ever ask for. How much is enough on the scale of being paid is relative/personal.

This page presents some clarifying research on the myths of money as it relates to happiness.


How about when we’re paid for it and The World Needs It?
One might call that ‘Vocation’.

This element describes a job that directly serves a need in the world, and therefor has a job associated with it which one fills.
With a vocation, one may not necessarily be good at the work or in love with it, but they’re likely to be dedicated, serving a need in the world and meeting their own basic needs by getting paid for it.

Some examples may be:

  • Teaching
  • Bureaucrats
  • A ‘Job’
  • A CNA (Nurse’s Assistant)
  • Retail (currently)


When we’re paid for something, and also Good At It, (another of the 4 quadrants) we can call it a Profession.

Saying something is one’s profession says little about whether or not they enjoy it or if the world needs it. Simply “I’m good at it, and it’s my job”

Some examples may be:

  • Sales
  • Advertising
  • A ‘career’


1. “A hobby or minor occupation” – Oxford Dictionary
2. “A subordinate occupation pursued in addition to one’s vocation especially for enjoyment” – Merriam Webster

What isn’t visually explicit on the Bliss Map is the combination made by two opposite quadrants.

When we’re paid for something and We Love It, you may call it an ‘Avocation’.

This is the job you do because you love it and it doesn’t hurt to have the extra income. It could likewise be what a retired person does as a job to fill their time and enjoy more freedom after retiring. Without necessarily being Good At It or the World Needing It, this work is fun and engaging, and provides extra income.

Some examples may be:

  • Selling things on Ebay
  • Flipping houses
  • Collecting and selling antiques
  • Running a hobby shop


How about when we have all 3? We’re Paid For It, Good at It, and The World Needs It? This is when work is both our profession and our vocation.
It pays the bills. Heck, I even excel at it.

But where’s the passion?
Even with all this, we may still not be emotionally invested.
Perhaps it’s because of the nature of the work. Maybe there’s no engagement.
Despite a job serving one well, it may not be satisfying to actually do.
Especially since the industrial revolution, it’s become more common for us humans to feel like cogs in a machine when we work.
Industry and technology have blossomed on the backs of workers spending countless hours at desks and in front of screens, after all.
And today, more and more jobs are behind screens. By the end of 2020, 77 percent of all U.S. jobs will require some kind of technology skills.

Even introvert’s usually need social interaction, as noted in the fantastic book Quiet, by Susan Cain. And we have a section of this site about people and their role in creating a meaningful life.

Most likely, to be in love with one’s work, there needs to be variety. Even the most introverted people need social interaction at some level.
And some work is simply so physically grueling that it’s near-impossible to enjoy, especially if one sustains injury.

Some examples: (Everyone is different. This may or may not apply to someone)

  • Many Trade Jobs (plumber, electrician, etc)
  • Installing Solar Panels (world really needs it…might not love it)
  • Some forms of leadership, elected officials. People who lead because they must.

For a person in this situation, it may be invaluable to change up their work day.
How can you get more human interaction in your work?
Maybe you can find a similar job, but with coworkers that you enjoy being around.

Having the In Love With It aspect missing from your Bliss Map probably means you’d benefit from spending more time in enjoyable activities. Find an art-form or a discipline outside of work that gives you a sense of Flow when you do it.
Otherwise, find other sources of enjoyment and pleasure in your day-to-day life.

And don’t overwork yourself! 🙂

In Love With It Good At It Paid For It The World Needs It Passion Profession Vocation Mission Satisfaction Comfort Contentment Fulfillment Bliss Fulfillment Satisfaction Comfort Contentment

Example Profiles

The following examples are to highlight how different people, even under the same circumstances, have highly individualized profiles on the Bliss Map. There is no one way to live a good life.

People working the same job can have very different Bliss Maps.

Kaden is a doctor. He loves it. He always knew he needed to be paid well and to serve a higher purpose, and now that he’s working, he loves the job and is good at it too. He’s found his Ikigai for life, he thinks.

Wanda is also a doctor. The job meets all of the criteria of her youthful dreams. But now that she’s finally here, she doesn’t really like it. Maybe it’s the culture at her office. Maybe it’s the that she’s working in a hospital wing dealing strictly with terminal patients. Since that quadrant of her Bliss Map is usually lacking, she’s going to try changing locations, but keeping the same career.

Lillian is a doctor too. And she loves that it pays well and serves a good cause. But she happens to be disgusted by blood. Who would have thought, that after all this work, something so simple would make her loathe her job? But, as she finishes her residency at the hospital, she’ll be able to start her own personal practice. She’s holding out for that eventuality, when she can stop looking at skin and start looking at backs and joints. Then, all parts of her Bliss Map will be full often.

And people working different jobs can have similar Bliss Maps.

Mary is a computer programmer. She is paid well, and is good at what she does. But she isn’t sure why she does it. What good does it do in the world? And, as it happens, she can’t stand looking at a computer screen. On a good day, her Bliss Map is about 50% full, as she’s almost entirely missing those two quadrants.

Harry just got a job on a factory line. He’s overjoyed to pay off his debts and have regular income. And it’s definitely a job he can hold. He has a knack for the mechanical assembly of objects. But the lack of purpose nags at him, and he feels as though his hours are wasting away when he’s on the job. He is looking for a hobby to supplement for passion and mission in his life.

Dave has been wondering…why do I even bother? Sure, working at a fast food chain pays his low bills, and he’s good enough at it. But at the end of the day, he doesn’t see how this fits with his worldview. And he finds the food unappetizing. Missing the ‘In Love With It’ and ‘World Needs It’ quadrants means that he’ll likely be looking for a new job soon.