The Power of Your True Interests When Searching for a Job

Kerr LetterNow that I am changing my career based on my Know Thyself Guide® findings, I wonder what my career path would have been like if I truly understood and pursued my real passions from the very beginning.

Basic research has always been an interest to me. I was a math major in college, focusing on some very esoteric areas of real and complex analysis. It was my intent to get my Ph. D. and enter academia, primarily so that I could continue research in this area. I shelved this idea following my masters because the market was glutted at the time with Ph. D. mathematicians. Imagine that now!

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Understanding Your Interests -vs- Your Strengths

After our Camino walk, seven of us peeled off from the others and drove seven hours to the Basque Country. Our goal was to visit the relatively new Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. One of my fellow pilgrims is an artist in her own right, meaning she can and does actually make visuphoto (2)al arts her vocation as well as her avocation. As both a student and professor of modern and post modern art, she has interests and talents in teaching as well as making visual arts.

Here was a marriage of interests that really worked on this day. I reviewed my own Know Thyself Guide® and here is what I read:

  • You have a significant level of interest in the theory underlying the way things work.  (In other words, I ask why a lot.)
  • You have an above average interest in the way things look.  (So not surprising I am in an art museum.)
  • You have an above average interest in what is heard. . . How things sound.  (The reason this is important became apparent later.)

Unlike my fellow pilgrim, I do not have any real strengths as an artist, and I fail to like or even appreciate much of what I saw this day. There was one piece of “art” that I swear was exactly like the plastic awning under which I sat for lunch. I did not get it. So I kept asking my artist pilgrim, “why?” Why did the artist do this? The teaching professor in her patiently explained how to view these pieces and the why’s and why not’s. It was a perfect match of interests–my desire to understand and her interest in teaching.

So the plastic piece still looks like an awning to me. I don’t really like it, but I appreciate it more.  There were two other pieces that made a significant impact on me and all because of my third interest–how things sound. There was a large room filled with steel structures that you wondered through.  My pilgrim buddies loved it. I could not wait to get out. Why? The sound. I could not take the noise. Conversely, there was a video exhibit that had deconstructed an Abba song. Each piece was a lovely sound and you could almost hear the whole piece the whole time you were concentrating on one component. That I really enjoyed.

This experience was a great lesson for me in the power of interests, as per the Know Thyself Guides®. Interests are those things which you would enjoy if pay or prestige were equal and it does not necessarily have anything to do with talents.

Understanding your interests -vs- your strengths is important when finding a job you’ll love.



The Importance of Your “Essence”


 noun ˈe-sən(t)s

: the basic nature of a thing : the quality or qualities that make a thing what it is

: a substance that contains in very strong form the special qualities (such as the taste and smell) of the thing from which it is taken


There was a smell along the Camino that would waft in and out of our awareness. It was a rather strange aroma and quite unique, a combination of semi-fermented apples, manure, and freshly cut hay. It was at times pleasant to me and at other times unpleasant, depending on which elements were prevailing and, frankly, whether there was a lot of moisture in the air. In the morning when it was damp and foggy and mist was in the air, I found the aroma a bit offensive.  On the other hand, I found it very agreeable in the afternoons when the air was drier. My companions had different reactions to this mysterious aroma. Some enjoyed the smell, particularly when the apple aroma dominated while others abhorred it regardless. But it was at all times unmistakable. We dubbed it the “Essence of Galicia.”

The double meaning of the word “essence” did not strike me until later. That aroma, or “essence,” came from the essential part, or “essence” of the area through which we were walking.  The Camino took us through some absolutely beautiful rural areas. We walked right through farms. The cows used the same paths as did we. Fields were being harvested, and the hay was being stored right beside our trail. There were lots of orchards, and the farmers were picking the ripe apples. In acts of incredible generosity, these farmers offered the freshly picked apples to the pilgrims who walked 3

That got me to thinking about what my “essence” is and how that impacts others. My unique interests and strengths define my essence, and this combination will have differing effects on various individuals, often depending on their own unique needs. It will be agreeable to some others all the time; disagreeable to some all of the time; but agreeable or disagreeable to most depending on the circumstances. And that is OK.  By really Knowing Myself, I will learn to distinguish those circumstances where my unique interests and strengths are likely to be of most service to the most people. I can learn to identify others who might enjoy what I have to give.  I can thus improve the “essence” others experience from my “essence.”

– Enjoy the Journey!


Happy, Successful, Understood Icons


Ready for your own 21-day journey?

How to be Happy, Successful, and Understood Through Journaling in 21 Days from Know Thyself Guides® can help you gain the empowering self-knowledge you need to remake your life into one of fulfillment and satisfaction.

Following the basic outline of the Know Thyself Process®, the journal uses your own thoughts and reactions to key questions to help you gain valuable insight. In just 21 days of journaling, you will:

  • Define your own perceptions of what it means to be happy, successful and understood.
  • Test your perceptions with a trusted companion.
  • Identify opportunities to act on your new knowledge.

Your journey toward greater happiness and success is only a click away.