The other day I was talking to one of my coworkers about work. In particular, I asked him what he would do if he didn’t have to work.
His first response was to say that he loved his job; he likes doing it and didn’t even think of what he would do otherwise. Then he said, he like worked, because it was challenging and satisfying and a whole pile of other things.
When I pushed him a little more, “what would you do if you didn’t have to work?” He thought a while then said he didn’t know. Then he told me about how his father retired at 50. Now he spent his life in vacation mode and no longer challenging himself.
The next day, we met again and talked about some other things. Later in the conversation, I brought up the question, “what would you do?” This time he was more honest. He said, “You know, I thought about the question last night, and I couldn’t think of anything.” I tried to comfort him by saying, “You only spent a few minutes thinking about it.”
Whenever I talk about this issue with people, they talk about how good their job is or say they like their position. It is almost like talking about ‘work’ somehow always gets confused with ‘this job.’
For context, my current job is the best job I have ever had. It is very understanding of work-life balance, which is excellent when it comes to picking up my daughter. On top of that, they give more vacation time than most jobs, and the salary is ok. You could say that the work is meaningful, as the organization’s role is to educate and inform the public.
But the problem isn’t the job; the challenge is the idea of work indefinitely. Even the best job takes up most of your time and more or less determines what you can think.
But this isn’t new for jobs, most of our lives we’re told what to think and do. From when we start going to school, to the day we retire, most of our choices are confined by our circumstances. If you aren’t independently wealthy or homeless, then you pretty much have to work. We have little choice about work, yet it is a massive part of our lives.
Once again, this isn’t about a specific job; it is more about the obligations of life in general. While going to school, we taught how to think, then we go to work and we again are told how to think.
This is what it is about; it is tough for us to think on our own, or think about what we want. So much of our lives are about being told how to live and what to do. The real challenge these days would be coming up with some ideas of our own.
Even more, we should strive to figure out what we want for ourselves. We don’t have to stick to what we have been told to want.
Yesterday it was pouring, so I had no choice but to walk in the Path. The Path is an underground set of shops and pathways under the downtown of the city.
When I go down there, I feel like I am in a world of false expectations. It is a definition of success and least in the middle glass business suit way.
It feels like an ideal of the ‘right thing’ to do. It isn’t so much my definition of success, but it would be the general societal definition of success.
It is also an artificially manufactured place, rather than the nature of outside. Put another way, being outside walking, in the city along the same route feels open and free.
It is about putting things in life that are choices, rather than only living the requirements of existence. For me, that is about creating videos like this one, writing books and creating other content.
For you, it will be something different, though it could be the same. In general, we need to take the time to think and reflect on what we want in our lives. It is easy to sit on the sidelines of life and say, “I want a good job, and house, a pension… etc.”
But is that what you want? Or is that what you think you are supposed to want. By no means, am I saying those are bad things to want, security and a place to live are of supreme importance?
At the same time, if we focus too narrowly on the things we are supposed to want, we limit ourselves to finding what we want.
In some ways, that is what life is all about. Finding what we want and trying to get it. We should be careful not to get stuck in the traps and expectations set for us. Instead, we should focus on finding what we want.
But first we need to figure out what we want, and if you are anything like my coworker than that is going to take some time. But once you have an idea, the world is your oyster. From there, you can figure out how to get where you want to go.
So before you get worried about the limits of your life or the ways, you have been trained. Remember, you always have a choice.
The is especially true when it comes to thinking for yourself about what you want to do.
But then again, it seems like the real question is, what would you do?
I want to live a life where I create and live a comfortable life with the belief that I have a positive future ahead.
The second part is universal, but the first part isn’t, that part is up to you.
But first, you must realize you have a choice, then come up with an answer. If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t know how to get there.