I just finished reading ‘The War of Art’, a book about facing resistance as we go about leading a life of authenticity and creativity.
Talk about a wakeup call! The author really snapped me to reality with one simple statement:
“To labor for any reason other than love is prostitution!”
This is not the revelation that I was hoping for. Far from it. The idea that I have spent that last 15+ years working for money is a harsh pill to swallow. But it is the truth. It is not a truth that is convenient. In fact, it’s borderline depressing. But it is a truth based on the actions of my past beliefs.
And it is also the truth that keeps me moving forward in pursuit of something better. Something more meaningful. Something that will give me the freedom and creativity that I truly desire.
I came to identify with this truth after taking a good look at why I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing. It became evident rather quickly that I’ve worked at my past jobs primarily for money. Pure and simple as that. And I don’t see it as right or wrong in any way. It’s just a fact.
We all need money to live our lives, put food on the table and put a roof over our heads. And if we’re lucky, we get to enjoy a few extras in life because we have a job that pays us well for what we do. But for me, getting to the raw truth of why I do the work I do, has helped me to clarify my vision for creating something more fulfilling. I choose to pursue something that will provide both meaning and money.
I challenge you to take a close look at your own situation. If you are working at a job, engaged in a career, or doing anything for any reason other than love, then you are selling out. You are selling your Soul. You are playing into the design of a culture built on the idea that we must trade our time and life for dollars in the hope that these dollars are going to make us happier somewhere down the line.
Our schools, media and culture do everything to try and conform us into what they want us to be. I realize that we all have free will and choice, but be honest with yourself. Do you work at your job so that you can live in a certain house, in a certain neighborhood, in a certain city, so that you can feel good about your life? So that you can be comfortable?
I’m guessing for most of us the answer would be ‘yes’.
And you know what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Let me re-emphasize that this is not a right or wrong thing.
My point is that if you don’t enjoy and love your work, you are denying yourself the possibility of doing something greater…of being something more. And you are also denying the rest of humanity the gifts, talents and desires that you were given to share.
It is my belief that we all come into this world with a unique personality and a specific destiny. Think about it. How many babies are born as a blank slate? No! They are all born with a personality and a predisposition to BE a certain way. That’s why we all have different desires, talents and gifts.
I’ve spent the last several years working at jobs for the money. I really enjoyed my most recent job and I had a great relationship with my boss and most of my co-workers. I got paid really well for my efforts but I also knew that it was not my greatest calling in life.
Is it time for you to wake up?
I believe that we all have a specific job to do, a calling to enact, a self to realize. We are who we are and we can either fully embrace it or go through life pretending to be happy.
Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine, but to find out who we already are and become it.
If we were born to write, then it’s our job to become a writer.
If we were born to raise children, then it’s our job to become a mother or a father.
If we were born to teach yoga, then it’s our job to be the best fucking yoga teacher that we can possibly become.
If you were born to travel, then figure out how you are going to get started traveling and do it.
If we were born to start new companies, then it’s your job to start the most amazing companies in the world and get down to business.
Okay, this is where I throw in a little disclaimer. I am not saying that you should go and quit your job next week if you are not 100% happy. I am a big believer in making intelligent decisions that will allow you to move toward your goals and dreams in a way that is sustainable and smart.
But the first thing you must do is to wake up and come to grips with that fact that you were born to do something great and meaningful. It’s time to get in touch with that and start moving in that direction.
Play it safe or go for it?
I have recently been coaching a few people on how to do two things:
- Get completely clear about what your Unique Genius is (i.e. discover your unique combination of skills, talents, passions, and life experience)
- Turn your Unique Genius into your first profitable idea and test it in the marketplace.
One pattern that I have observed with these clients is that they try to play it safe and not really go for it. I think that our greatest fear is discovering that we are more than we think we are. We fear that we actually possess the talent to bring our deepest desires to life. We fear that we can plant our flag and be successful and reach our promised land. And this scares the living hell out of us.
If we really go after what we want, we are afraid that we might end up alone. That we will lose our friends. Or that we will be poor and destitute.
The truth is that we probably will lose some friends along the way. I know I have. But we find new friends in places that we would have never thought to look. And they’re better and truer friends. We make our way and we are better for it. By far.
My challenge for you this week is to ask yourself the following question and answer it honestly:
What keeps you from doing work that you absolutely love?
I would love to hear your honest comments below!