Thursday, February 14, 2008

What To Do? What To Do?

According to some studies, approximately 70% of the working population employed in traditional jobs do not like their jobs, intensely dislike their jobs and hate their jobs. Now, considering that I noted in an earlier posting that most people HAVE to work to keep the wolves away from their doors and probably most people working dedicate about 50% of their waking hours, maybe more, to working, it doesn't sound like a very fulfilling and satisfying life. Yesterday, I related, through a segment from my Kiwi buddy's newsletter, about a fellow who learned how to turn his love of wildlife and photography into a life where he is living free and working free doing the things he's passionate about. So, what's stopping everyone from doing that?

First of all, I don't think most of us give ourselves a chance. We are conditioned, from our earliest stages of life, that we need a “job” to be a responsible member of society and provide for a roof over our heads, clothes, food, transportation and the necessities. I believe it is still rare to find parents, teachers, clergy, friends, family, etc. who really encourage young people to explore their dreams, find out what they really love, seek out those passions and find a way to live the dreams and create a way to generate the income they NEED to enjoy living the life they love. We call this job “security.” There is much to say about being secure, but there are also a lot of ways to address security.

All to often I hear people talking about or telling young people to work for this kind of business or in this industry or that because you'll have a secure job, a secure future. Sure, there are a few jobs that may appear to offer that “security” people talk about, but there are just no guarantees in life. I was very fortunate. While my father was completely tied to his “secure” job during his short lifetime, I believe he was a closet dreamer, visionary and entrepreneur. I have copies of the three patents taken out in my father's name that made the modern (and now, getting obsolete) facsimile (or fax) machine a part of our daily business and, even, personal lives. Unfortunately, he was in a secure job working for a company that developed electronic systems on contract for the U.S. Government. He was paid $1.00 each for those patents. I have copies of the receipts he signed. But, while he wouldn't take the chance himself, he began fostering in me, at a very early age, an entrepreneurial spirit and a quest for personal freedom. He helped me along. He supported my ideas. He was right there all the way. I guess my first real venture was the good old newspaper route.

Over the years, I've done so many things that it's hard to really count them anymore. Some of them didn't turn out very well. Some of them I really didn't like at all, after I started them – they actually became like jobs. As a matter of fact, in my quest for whatever I was looking for in my early years, I actually created my own jobs and enslaved myself. Neat trick, huh? It's almost like nailing your foot to the floor and then shooting yourself in the foot. Now, that I look back at it, it was pretty dumb. But, I've also done a lot of things that have proven very positive and enjoyable and, frankly, that I get passionate about. One of the most important things I've learned over the years, and I wish I had stuck to my guns when I first realized it, is that I don't enjoy managing a business and I especially don't like managing other people. I'm very content working as a freelance person. I enjoy being part of a team of other independent freelance people where we each contribute our talents and abilities to a project. But, I do not enjoy sitting at a desk, day in and day out. So, now I'm focusing my energy on eliminating doing all (well most) of the things and activities I don't enjoy. There are always a few things we have to do that we may not enjoy, like paying bills and such. At the same time, I'm focusing energy on identifying and doing the things to generate income that I truly love doing and I'm passionate about. All of a sudden, it's not work anymore. My work and my lifestyle merge and I look forward to each day.

Can you do this? Well, some people reading this blog may already be doing it and may even be further along the path then I am. Some of the readers have been thinking about it, but may be afraid to let go of that security blanket. Some may be forced to make a change and some difficult career/life decisions due to layoffs, down sizing, forced early retirement and such. Finding another job that comes close to what you may have had or the pay and benefits you were receiving may be nearly impossible in the 21st Century job market. Some have retired because they planned to or wanted to retire early or completed a military career or similar and they are looking for something to keep themselves busy and engaged in something financially productive. And finally, there are those who may stumble upon this blog and just don't have a clue and think that everything I'm saying is just so much voodoo and snake oil. Like the old saying goes about the state lotteries, “You have to play to win!” I don't, by the way. I don't really even find it entertaining. If I'm going to gamble, I'm going to take a gamble on ME! I like the odds a lot better. The mind is like a parachute, it only works when it's open.

I believe that there is no such thing as “job security.” I believe unions, in negotiating for job security in new union contracts are selling their members snake oil. One of the reasons our industries are in such turmoil and being walked all over by foreign nations is due to all this snake oil and unrealistic demands placed on U.S. industry. We'll talk about that in a later posting. I don't want to get into a rant now. I completely believe that I – me – the person writing this blog – is the only security I have. I like this cutesy little statement made up completely of two letter words, “If it is to be, it is up to me!” I think in those ten words and 20 letters is the basis for succeeding in life.

Every person I know (except those who were unfortunately born with significant physical or mental disabilities and challenges) is endowed with certain abilities, talents, aptitudes, interests, passions and dreams. Based on that statement, everyone has everything they need to live free and work free. The ONLY thing stopping anyone is about six inches. You'll find that is the approximate distance between your ears and it's what occupies that six inches that controls your life. It's in the Bible, for those so inclined to use it as a handbook on life. James Allen wrote a little book in the late 1800's titled, As A Man Thinketh, and in the foreword for that book, he wrote, “They themselves are makers of themselves by virtue of the thoughts which they choose and encourage; that mind is the master-weaver, both of the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstance, and that, as they may have hitherto woven in ignorance and pain they may now weave in enlightenment and happiness.”

Life is not “stuff” and “things” and living is not about acquiring the most “stuff” and “things.” Life is about living everyday to the fullest potential of whatever your dreams may be. Sure, there are some people whose dreams are about accumulating massive amounts of money and acquiring far more stuff and things then they can ever use realistically. They get it, not because they need it, but because they can. I suggest to you, that far too many of the people with this mindset never truly realize and enjoy happiness, contentment, fulfillment and the fullness and richness of life since their values are based on the external, material world. But, those who follow the ideas that I spoke of from the books Working Free and Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow, I believe will ultimately realize greater rewards in life then they can ever create by just focusing on money and material possessions.

That's enough for today. I am growing to love this opportunity to write these thoughts – it doesn't matter how many people read them. If one person reads something and it makes their life just a little better, then I have received my reward. Now, I have to move on to some other projects, some of which, I still do, but don't enjoy them. I'm not totally free, yet, either.



No comments: