Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dreaming of Living to Work

I often hear people ask another in casual conversation “what is it you do for a living?” I think while this question encompasses the common mentality that we work to live; it fails to reflect the way things should be of living to work. This statement may create many to think why in the world would I want to live for my job? Work is often seen as something we want to be liberated from. Many of us trudge along in our jobs working for money. We go to college, not to understand the world better, but to become trained in a skill or a trade that will lead to gainful employment. Then we become employed and cannot wait to get home after work or have our weekend of freedom. Work then becomes a manner of necessity to acquire the freedom to do what we really want to do with our time.


However, what if we looked at it another way, the way artisans look at their life. Artists whether musicians, writers, painters, sculptors, etc. seek to make manifest their desire to create. Some succeed and bring in money to live by that allows them to continue to do what they love.


I think we can find that thing that we would most enjoy to do with our life by asking ourselves, what is it we would do if money and time were not a problem? If we had all the time in the world and money couldn’t hold us back what would we give our time to doing? To put it another way, what is it we dream of doing with our life?


Once we know what that is, and I would wager that many have known for years but haven’t thought its attainment possible, we can look at how we can achieve that end. Obviously we need money to live in this world so that which we do would most likely need to provide an income to support ourselves or our families. If we look at that thing we desire to do as possible to attain we may be able to see how it could be manifested.


For me, that thing is writing. I love to write. I could write hours upon hours each day. Writing though is something I could get paid for if I did freelance journalism or some other manner of employment. So I could use what I most desire to do to bring in an income to sustain its reality. This would be an example of living for work instead of working to live.


I think many of us would be much happier in life following that deep dream of ours then working because it’s a responsibility we must bear for whatever reason. Now of course there is nothing wrong with hard work and supporting one’s family. What I am discussing doesn’t negate that, I am just redirecting that to join it with doing what we desire to do and accomplishing both ends.


I wonder often how many attorneys practice law because they love justice versus it being a lucrative career. How many in the medical profession serve because they love to help people rather than needing a good job? How many people working in customer service jobs actually like people versus needing to make some money? I am sure some do. I have met attorneys who love justice and want to help those in need of legal services and do their job because they love it. I have met nurses and doctors who truly care for their patients. I have met those in customer service that love people and are happy serving the needs of others. But there are many more that can’t wait to escape the working world to something else. What if it didn’t have to be that way? What if we could work at what we love? What if we could follow our dreams and have the time and money necessary to see them come true? I think we can. I think our dreams are there to be followed.


I recall a scene in the Adam Sadler movie Mr. Deeds. Deeds is speaking at an assembly of board members and stock holders of his deceased uncles company. He is seeking to remind these people all consumed with the bottom dollar what is important in life. He asks them what they wanted to be when they grew up. People began to answer him, first tentatively and then jubilantly. One said, a fireman, another said a veterinarian and others chimed in with their childhood dreams. The scene captured that desire in us to follow our dreams and their realization that they were on a different path than that which would fulfill them.


One last thing, I think some people are in their dream job and have forgotten that with the day to day drudgery of work. What was once a goal in college to be such and such and do a particular thing became forgotten when it became a responsibility one was tied to instead of a dream one was living. If that’s you take time to remember why you embarked on this career path to start with and see if it is still true for you today. If it isn’t, is that because your dream has changed, or your realization that you’re living it has been lost and needs to be regained?


We can all find that dream of our hearts and it is never too late to enter into it. Lost time can be quickly restored once we step into that dream bringing the desire of our hearts into a reality we can live. No dream is too big. If you dreamed it and it has been in your heart just waiting to come to fruition it can be made manifest. Consider your dream. Pull it down off the shelf, dust it off, and dream about it. You might be surprised what you can come up with to start living it.

24 comments:

CyberKitten said...

So.... What you seem to be saying is that we'd have happier (and probably more productive) lives if we enjoyed our jobs because they fulfilled our needs rather than merely put food on our tables and a roof over our heads?

That's pretty obvious I think.

I'm lucky in that I enjoy my job much more than I don't enjoy it (it has its bad moments). I work with a great bunch of people and see the fruit of my labour pretty much on a weekly basis. I derive a great deal of personal satisfaction from it. I know other people for whom their day to day job is just that - a job. A simple means of earning enough money to live and live it up a little. Some people have crap jobs and will always have crap jobs. Unfortunately we don't live in a time when we can all follow our dreams. It's just not practical unless we substantially change the society we live in - which even with the best will in the world will take generations. Sometimes we just have to live with the hand we've been dealt and... 'deal' with it.

Karla said...

I'm saying we have a dream resonant within us and when we step into that reality we are more fulfilled. Many of us may find contentment in our job, but I think it possible to have both worlds. I think we can earn a living by working at what we dream to do with our lives.

Yes, our economic society is not set up to facilitate this idea. But I think we could change it in time.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I'm saying we have a dream resonant within us and when we step into that reality we are more fulfilled.

Yes, but following our dreams is often not practical and more often not realisable - because our dreams are often outside of our capabilities. You see this on the so-called TV talent shows. People who dream of being a singer simply cannot sing. No amount of time or training will change that for some people. They can dream all they like but they'll never be achieved.

karla said: I think we can earn a living by working at what we dream to do with our lives.

Unfortunately life just isn't like that. You might want to make a living writing books or acting in movies or a million other things. Firstly you need talent. More importantly there needs to be some kind of demand for you dream job so you can actually earn enough money from it to live. If 50% of the population wanted to be sports stars then who would pick up our garbage and wait at our tables? Do you think many people *dream* of being waiters or toilet cleaners? I think not.

karla said: Yes, our economic society is not set up to facilitate this idea. But I think we could change it in time.

I agree - but it wouldn't be anything like *this* society. It would be *vastly* different!

cl said...

Karla, cool post. Judging from this post and past posts you've written, I think you'd equally appreciate this and this, as well. I'd also be curious to hear a believer's reaction to this if you find yourself with extra time.

Cyber said, "Unfortunately we don't live in a time when we can all follow our dreams." I disagree on the grounds that no adverse condition can eliminate our ability to express attitudes of gratitude, hope, or optimism.

Now on the other hand, I wholeheartedly agree with you that not everyone is cut out to be singer, but to me that's actually one of Karla's points - we all have some internal pulling towards an optimal existence. In all fairness, some people think Britney Spears is the worst singer in the world. Who's the arbiter?

When Karla said, "I think we can earn a living by working at what we dream to do with our lives," you said, "Unfortunately life just isn't like that. You might want to make a living writing books or acting in movies or a million other things."

I submit that you speak for yourself, and that my life is like that, quite literally. I'm a published author with a handful of books out, and also a WGA-employed screenwriter (but I haven't done anything you'd know of in the past couple years to be honest). With TV money I started my own publishing company a few years back and now have the privilege of publishing other writers.

A few weeks ago you and I had a sustained discussion about reasons to believe. I didn't think that discussion satisfied either one of us, but I further submit that part of the reason my life is like this is because of my belief that God made each one of us with unique talents and dreams for a reason. If I didn't believe that, I almost certainly would have wound up an electrician, not that that's bad.

I won't be surprised if you view my small amounts of success as self-fulfilling prophecy, mere accomplishments of the human will effected by nothing more than persuasive religious motivations. In fact that's what I'd expect any skeptic to think.

Karla said...

Cyber, do you like seeing the glass half empty? I think we can raise the bar in our optimism.

Sometimes people strive for a corrupted version of their dream because the full picture isn't yet actualized to them. People may be on American Idol or some other talent show because they have a dream to sing, and maybe they need some training first, or maybe it isn't really about singing, and they find that out when they try it and they then realize their dream was similar but not quiet that.

People could be connecting with their desire to do something great and so getting on national television through a talent show might awaken that desire of something more. But that particular talent, might not be what it is about for them.

The rise of these talent shows seems to me to be a sign of our desire for meaning and greatness. Our desire to be somebody.

Even if our dream doesn't bring in money on it's own, we can find a way to make money on the side if necessary. I work in an office all day and I get plenty of free time to write as I desire.

Have you ever seen the movie A Knights Tale? I think we can change the stars. We can change our situation to accomplish our dream and moreover I think when we accomplish it we are in a better place to help others reach their dreams too.

Cyber "I agree - but it wouldn't be anything like *this* society. It would be *vastly* different!"

True, but we can envision it, can we not? We can envision a creative diversity of dreams being reached that work together in a unity that harmonizes our society.

Karla said...

Cl, I checked out your link and commented there. I agree with your article. We each have a place in this world where we belong and can thrive as well as a thing to do with our time that is a reflection of all that we are in our individuality while at the same time it provides a unity with each other as we each fit into our particular places.

Ali P said...

I’m sorry, but you seem to be glossing over some huge cracks. Who is going to clean the toilets, take away the rubbish and fulfill the endless other inane menial jobs? We can’t all have our dream job.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: I disagree on the grounds that no adverse condition can eliminate our ability to express attitudes of gratitude, hope, or optimism.

That's not the point I was trying to make. We all have dreams but some of them, by their very nature, unachievable. For example, as a teenager I wanted to walk on the Moon and help in the colonisation of Mars. It might *just* be achievable to do the Moon walk but I doubt very much if the Mars thing can be done - no matter how hard I wish for it and no matter what I do to make it happen. That's just the way things are.

cl said: In all fairness, some people think Britney Spears is the worst singer in the world. Who's the arbiter?

Public opinion - clearly.

cl said: I submit that you speak for yourself, and that my life is like that, quite literally.

I'm sure that there are many individual cases of dreams achieved but, I submit, there are many more where they are not. Our societies are not structured in such a way to actualise everyone's dreams, don't you think? Personally I would love to spend the rest of my life in University studying. Unfortunately this is not really practical - not if I want to eat regularly anyway! What I have done is compromise by returning to Uni part time and am in the final stages of completing my 2nd Masters degree in the last 5 years. My dreams met reality and we have come to an arrangement.

cl said: I won't be surprised if you view my small amounts of success as self-fulfilling prophecy, mere accomplishments of the human will effected by nothing more than persuasive religious motivations. In fact that's what I'd expect any skeptic to think.

Yup. It's all your *own* doing. You should be proud.

karla said: Cyber, do you like seeing the glass half empty?

I am an optimist by nature but a pessimist by experience.

karla said: I think we can raise the bar in our optimism.

We can be as optimistic as we like but that doesn't actually change reality very much.

karla said: Sometimes people strive for a corrupted version of their dream because the full picture isn't yet actualized to them.

...and how exactly do you tell if your dream is 'corrupted'?

karla said: The rise of these talent shows seems to me to be a sign of our desire for meaning and greatness. Our desire to be somebody.

Many people have a desire to be noticed and may feel undervalued where they are. This is a natural by-product of the way our society is structured. It's called alienation. In one sense we value individuality and encourage people to value their lives highly - then leave them to sink or swim in a world that is largely indifferent to them. No wonder some people crave *any* kind of attention.

karla said: Have you ever seen the movie A Knights Tale?

Yes, I've blogged about it as one of my favourite movies.

karla said: We can change our situation to accomplish our dream and moreover I think when we accomplish it we are in a better place to help others reach their dreams too.

Only to an extent and also depending on what personal dream we are chasing.

karla said: True, but we can envision it, can we not?

...and *many* people have. The genre is called Utopian. Many books have been written covering the foundation of perfect (or even near-perfect) societies. We are, unfortunately, a long way from any of them being made reality though.

karla said: We can envision a creative diversity of dreams being reached that work together in a unity that harmonizes our society.

The vision thing is all very fine. The important question though is how do we get there from here?

karla said: We each have a place in this world where we belong and can thrive as well as a thing to do with our time that is a reflection of all that we are in our individuality while at the same time it provides a unity with each other as we each fit into our particular places.

As I said... Utopia... or at least *your* version of same... Rather inevitably different people have very different ideas on how to improve things.

Karla said...

Ali, I know people that get great joy from serving others including janitorial duties.

Cyber, good thoughts. I know it's not cut and dry or black and white. I do think though that we know the world could be better and that knowledge I think gives us a basis for the idea that maybe the world is not as it ought to be. Maybe there is something more ideal and maybe we are growing towards it.

I understand it is not always tenable to have what we desire, but I think we are working towards that satisfaction of our desires. I think we have to use wisdom in coming into that reality. I also think that gaining that desire at the expense of others would not be a good way to go about it either.

I've been hearing the story of the Scottish woman, Susan, is it? Who is now past her prime due to taking care of her elderly folks, and yet now her dream to sing has been actualized and the world is taking note of her talent.

My husband and I like to help people dream and find what it is they were born to do and be. There are foundational truths that I think are true for who each person is born to be, but then their is that particular that is creatively individual and yet works well in the community to better others lives.

I don't think our dream is for us alone, but it is for the community and when we step into it we enhance the community.

Let me clarify to say that I don't think the one who loves doing janitorial work is any less important to the community as the one who is the top executive of a leading business or the celebrity or politician.

I don't think we should see one as greater than another, for we all need each other. We need the professors and we need the students, we need the scientists, the astronauts, the civic leaders, the artisans, the sailors, the fishermen, the farmers, the musicians, and the toilet cleaners, and hamburger flippers.

Ali P said...

“Ali, I know people that get great joy from serving others including janitorial duties. “

And I know many more that don’t.

“Let me clarify to say that I don't think the one who loves doing janitorial work is any less important to the community as the one who is the top executive of a leading business or the celebrity or politician.

I don't think we should see one as greater than another, for we all need each other. We need the professors and we need the students, we need the scientists, the astronauts, the civic leaders, the artisans, the sailors, the fishermen, the farmers, the musicians, and the toilet cleaners, and hamburger flippers.”

It think it’s the case that we require more of the menial jobs for society to function, the problem is, most people don’t want them.

Karla said...

I think more people would be willing to help with such things when they are simultaneously working at what they love.

Also how many of the menial jobs of our economy are necessary? Do we really need 100+ fast food establishments in one city? Do we really need a 7-Eleven on every corner? I think we would need to reevaluate what is important. Right now in our society having such places creates jobs for those that need those kinds of jobs, so I wouldn't want to take that away from people. But if we could envision a community that worked differently and the people who need to work at 7-Eleven to provide for their family could be doing something more in line with their heart we could do without the 7-Eleven.

Really on the large scale this could only work if the community worked together versus a bunch of individuals step over everyone to accomplish their own dream.

Ali P said...

"Also how many of the menial jobs of our economy are necessary? Do we really need 100+ fast food establishments in one city? Do we really need a 7-Eleven on every corner? I think we would need to reevaluate what is important. Right now in our society having such places creates jobs for those that need those kinds of jobs, so I wouldn't want to take that away from people. But if we could envision a community that worked differently and the people who need to work at 7-Eleven to provide for their family could be doing something more in line with their heart we could do without the 7-Eleven."

And who will clean the toilets?

cl said...

Ali P,No cracks. I know people that are actually quite content and prefer menial tasks. The people you know that don't are the ones that need to do exactly what Karla suggests. More, not all dreams are about jobs. Lastly, why is "toilet-cleaner" even a designated position in this society? Surely we can clean our own toilets, right?

Cyber,Why couldn't you could walk on the moon? Why couldn't you help with the colonization of Mars? Why couldn't you spend the rest of your life studying in Universities?

Of course I don't think societies are structured in a way to actualize everyone's dreams. Many or most seem structured to purposely suppress everyone's dreams.

I quit listening when you started talking about compromise. Although compromise is often crucial to successful interpersonal relations, I told myself long ago that dream following was an all-or-nothing proposition that cannot admit half-measures or compromise.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: Why couldn't you could walk on the moon?

Because by the time civilians walk on the Moon I'll most likely already be dead.

cl said: Why couldn't you help with the colonization of Mars?

Because by the time civilians go to Mars I'll most likely be *long* dead.

cl said: Why couldn't you spend the rest of your life studying in Universities?

I intend you - just not full time as I simply can't afford it.

cl said: Of course I don't think societies are structured in a way to actualize everyone's dreams. Many or most seem structured to purposely suppress everyone's dreams.

Indeed. Strange that don't you think.....?

cl said: Although compromise is often crucial to successful interpersonal relations, I told myself long ago that dream following was an all-or-nothing proposition that cannot admit half-measures or compromise.

I appear to be rather more pragmatic and somewhat less driven than you are.

cl said...

Cyber,

Civilians can buy trips to the moon, and didn't you choose to be a civilian? You simply said you couldn't "help with the colonization" of Mars. Can't that be helped, right here, right now? I didn't realize your actual lament was not being able to go there.

Funny thing is, I'm not that driven. Much of this sort of just fell into my lap, but I'm not saying any of it was without effort, either.

To me its not strange societies are set up the way they are. It just seems an extrapolation of whatever people refer to when they say human nature.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: Funny thing is, I'm not that driven.

Funny but "an all-or-nothing proposition that cannot admit half-measures or compromise" sounded driven to me...

cl said: To me its not strange societies are set up the way they are.

Sorry, I was being sarcastic/ironic.

cl said: It just seems an extrapolation of whatever people refer to when they say human nature.

Oh? You mean dog-eat-dog competition?

I don't think it's deliberate in the sense that people actively oppose each others dreams. It's systemic but has probably evolved that way. Probably because of power differentials in all societies. People at the top gain power over their lives by denying it the the majority of people underneath them.

cl said...

Cyber, I'm curious to know whether you feel evolution establishes an efficient explanation for morality. Many atheists tend to adopt this view, yet how does this square with the dog-eat-dog competition view?

There are most certainly people who actively oppose others' dreams. But I agree with you that those who hold the reigns are seldom willing to let go.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: Cyber, I'm curious to know whether you feel evolution establishes an efficient explanation for morality.

No. Our genes probably influence our moral behaviour (though I haven't come to a firm opinion on that yet) but I don't believe that they deterime our morality. If that was the case there would be I think a lot less variation.

cl said: Many atheists tend to adopt this view, yet how does this square with the dog-eat-dog competition view?

Do they? I am unaware of that. I didn't realise that atheism and evolutionary psychology had any particularly strong links.

As to the 'dog-eat-dog' comment I was questioning if this was your position of 'human nature'. I think its very obvious that such behaviour is rare amongst humans and that we actually co-operate with other people on a daily basis.

cl said: There are most certainly people who actively oppose others' dreams.

Indeed their are.

cl said: But I agree with you that those who hold the reigns are seldom willing to let go.

Power corrupts. It also attracts a certain kind of person who is, I think, less likely to share the advantages of power with too many people.

Karla said...

Cyber, if money, time, and practicality, were not an issue, and you can do with your life anything you want to do would walk on the moon be that thing? Or would it be the university life? Or is there something else that calls to you that you wish you could be doing?

CyberKitten said...

Karla said: Cyber, if money, time, and practicality, were not an issue...

But, apart from the super-rich, money, time, and practicality are *always* issues.

But if you want my wishful fantasy..... [grin]

I'd like to spend my time studying.... sort of full-time seeking the truth, rather than the part-time seeking I'm doing ATM. The whole Moon/Mars thing was my teenage dream. My dreams have matured somewhat over the past 30 odd years.

I think that I'm a natural (intellectual) explorer. That is my 'calling'.

Karla said...

Yes, Cyber those things are often real encumbrances to our dreams. However, thinking outside them often helps us define our dream. We often limit it by these factors, but I think we can overcome these factors.

I think that is an awesome dream. I've always wanted to study at Oxford. I've always been enamored with the scholastic academic scene. But my primary passion as far as what I want to do with my time is still writing. But writing does require knowledge or else it's meaningless to be writing about nothing. So I'm a truth seeker too--more in the philosophic and theological sense than the science field. I'm glad you have attained a part-time form of your dream. Maybe you'll see the full-time one day.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: So I'm a truth seeker too--more in the philosophic and theological sense than the science field.

Well, my continuing studies are, presently, in Philosophy rather than Science. I don't have the science background to do any kind of degree work in it. I'm thinking that I might do a History degree next time - kind of work my way through the Humanities..... [laughs]

karla said: I'm glad you have attained a part-time form of your dream. Maybe you'll see the full-time one day.

Maybe if I have a decent lottery win or after I retire.

Karla said...

I think we have a lot of the same interests even if it is from different worldviews.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I think we have a lot of the same interests even if it is from different worldviews.

Oh... I think we have *vastly* different world views!

[rotflmao]