In this issue ~~
One of the biggest career dilemmas today is whether to do what seems practical -- to pursue what you're good at and make as much money as you can -- or, as Joseph Campbell said, to follow your bliss. Sometimes we're fortunate enough that the two overlap, but that's not always the case. And to complicate matters, creative people tend to have a myriad of interests and talents to choose from.
When you're young, you may find yourself facing thousands of dollars in school loans, rent to pay or perhaps a family to support, and you do what's expedient to make money. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
But later in life, you may come to a point where you've become an expert at your job -- you can do it in your sleep and you've got a great income . . . and you're bored or stressed out. And there's this thing lurking in the background that you've always wanted to do -- to write; to act; to close up the big house, move to the country and live a simpler life doing crafts. But there's that great income and professional status that's so hard to give up.
Or you're on the verge of choosing a career, trying to decide between a big-money job and one that makes your heart sing, but that will probably mean living on a budget for some time to come.
How do you choose?
While I can't tell you unequivocally that you should do one thing or the other -- that's a complex personal decision -- I can offer you some questions to contemplate:
While we all want to live prosperous lives, not pursuing something you love can have its consequences. Back in the 1950s, psychologist Abraham Maslow stated that when our basic survival needs are met, it's imperative that we move to our higher, or meta-needs, to "self-actualize." He warned about what could happen when we ignore these needs: "If the essential core of the person is denied or suppressed, he gets sick sometimes in obvious ways, sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes immediately, sometimes later." We see this all around us in the form of depression or stress-related illness.
How you choose to structure your life to include your talents and passions will vary according to your distinct needs and desires. But when you make your choices, be sure to measure both the inner and outer demands. Be honest with yourself, and be imaginative in working out ways to have what you want. There's no better place to use your creativity than in crafting your own life!
Maslow's List of Meta-Needs
If there's something you love doing but can't find the time for, start doing it 10 or 20 minutes a day, or an hour on the weekend. Once you begin and become absorbed in the activity, you'll find the allotted time expanding effortlessly.
"Let the beauty of what you love be what you do."
"To find in ourselves what makes life worth living is risky business, for it means that once we know we must seek it. It also means that without it, life will be valueless."
"The best career advice given to the young is 'Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.'"
(click on the book graphic to see a description at Amazon.com)
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