Doing What You Love - Making a Living and a Life
In the structured society we live in, with a consensual political, economic and social environment, we spend long years of our life in preparing for jobs and employment. To do something well you have to like it, but doing what you love is complicated, or is it?
We are educated for the market and our skills are employed in productive activities. We are rewarded with salaries which help us sustain ourselves and our families. We thus make a living but with rather narrow goals in view. Wherever we go, we take these narrow goals with us. We are, most of us, familiar with the world of making a living through services rendered to an organisation or society. Some of us however, draw up goals with a far larger reach in mind.
As we evolve as human beings, we begin to discover that what we have to really do is to make a life. The things we do, however small, are invested with a meaning. We contribute to the dialogue of life, ask pertinent questions, frame worthwhile goals and answers and try to create harmony and accord through the contributions we make to life and the environment.
Don't let time or habit to allow you to let opportunities slip through your fingers. In making a life, you create your own responses and shape society in a way that is different. Rote learning has little to do with this. We may begin with rules and regulations, but we then have to move on to the more intricate complexion of life where boundaries are more fluid. A young artist would for instance, begin with small and simple sketches and pictures governed by the rules of art. Once the artist discovers self and is able to express and create original works in a way born of interior motivation rather than only by relying and adapting to the outside framework, she has begun the most important phase of her life journey.
How do we make a life? We begin with creative education which enables us not just to respond to the market and changing situations in life, but which helps us find a path through the nettled hedgerow, to walk on paths not yet trod on and to expand the universe of our discourse to include all.
Under this model of learning, a teacher would not merely cover the curriculum, but give her students values for life. She would create an ethos of compassion and understanding. She would create the kind of memories that last. She would in turn make a life for her students, by passing on this inheritance to them.
We cannot make lives by adopting high-handedness. Leaders who do so are missing the point. In making a life, there is mutual give and take. Interaction is important and help given is self-effacing. Those encouraged to responsible and responsive discourse will become movers and shakers in the world.
What is that elusive something that makes some a cut above others? Freedom combined with responsive authority will steer them past obstacles and make them reach out to those they work with or interact with in a familiar but new way.
Most people are doomed in childhood by accepting the axiom that work = pain. Those who escape this are nearly all lured onto the rocks by prestige or money. How many even discover something they love to work on? A few hundred thousand, perhaps, out of billions.
It's hard to find work you love; it must be, if so few do. So don't underestimate this task. And don't feel bad if you haven't succeeded yet. In fact, if you admit to yourself that you're discontented, you're a step ahead of most people, who are still in denial. If you're surrounded by colleagues who claim to enjoy work that you find contemptible, odds are they're lying to themselves. Not necessarily, but probably.
When the time comes to sum up our lives and all that we have achieved and done we will find that what was most important was how we affected the lives of others for good and not so much the balance sheet we helped maintain.
Making a living is essential. However, remember that making a life is important, too.