In Seth Godin’s book, The Practice, he talks about shipping creative work.
“Shipping, because it doesn’t count if you don’t share it.”
“Creative, because you’re not a cog in the system. You’re a creator, a problem solver, a generous leader who is making things better by producing a new way forward.”
“Work, because it’s not a hobby. You might not get paid for it, not today, but you approach it as a professional. The muse is not the point, excuses are avoided, and the work is why you are here.” (The Practice, pg 3)
That is the premise of the whole book. And he goes into explaining in creative detail why each of those principles matter.
Well, that’s all this blog has been, a place to practice. Of course, I haven’t been consistent. And that’s what I lack. But I have produced quite a bit, if you look over a long time period. So, here it is. This is my creative work.
Every human being alive deserves to spend every moment in a state of constant awe.
If you don’t, if you don’t find everything, *everything* fascinating, I’d like to suggest one possible reason.
Modern life revolves around the job. Modern science provides plenty of evidence why that’s not necessarily your best option for a fulfilling life.
Here are some quotes from my newest book, You Don’t Want a Job. Since I’m not a scientist, and possibly not even modern, they’re from a couple chaps you may have heard of. Just in case you’re not familiar, I’ll introduce them both. (Emphasis in the quotes is mine.)
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Flow
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is noted for his work in the study of happiness and creativity. He is best known as the architect of the concept of flow, the altered state of consciousness we sometimes find ourselves in when totally engaged with a challenging task. Martin Seligman, former president of the American Psychological Association, described Csikszentmihalyi as the world’s leading researcher on positive psychology.
Csikszentmihalyi on why it matters what we do for a living, and whose job it is:
“Because for most of us a job is such a central part of life, it is essential that this activity be as enjoyable and rewarding as possible. Yet many people feel that as long as they get decent pay and some security, it does not matter how boring or alienating their job is. Such an attitude, however, amounts to throwing away almost 40 percent of one’s waking life. And since no one else is going to take the trouble of making sure that we enjoy our work, it makes sense for each of us to take on this responsibility.” — Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, p. 101-2.
Abraham Maslow and What We Need
Our second expert is Abraham Maslow, whose name is forever tied to his theory of self-actualization as illustrated in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
From Maslow we learn that personal growth, not complacency, is the path to happiness.
“All people in our society (with a few pathologic exceptions) have a need or desire for a stable, firmly based, usually high evaluation of themselves, for self-respect, or self-esteem, and for the esteem of others. These needs may therefore be classified into two subsidiary sets. These are, first, the desire for strength, for achievement, for adequacy, for mastery and competence, for confidence in the face of the world, and for independence and freedom. …More and more today . . . there is appearing widespread appreciation of their central importance, among psychoanalysts as well as among clinical psychologists.
“Satisfaction of the self-esteem need leads to feelings of self-confidence, worth, strength, capability, and adequacy, of being useful and necessary in the world. But thwarting of these needs produces feelings of inferiority, of weakness, and of helplessness.” — Motivation and Personality by Abraham H. Maslow, p 45
Jobs and Happiness
It took me 25 years to learn the lesson that working for an unpleasant person, doing a pointless job for too little money will suck the fascination right out of you.
If you love your job you are in a tiny minority. According to Forbes, 87% of Americans don’t like their jobs.
Even if you do love your job, I’d like you to consider how your life might be more interesting if you had autonomy over what author Dan Pink calls “the 4Ts” in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us:
Autonomy and the 4 Ts (and Why It All Matters to You)
If you have a job, you can be called on any moment to surrender control over what you do, how you do it, when you do it, and who you do it with.
Entrepreneurs must find a balance; you can’t have total autonomy over all four without isolation and overwhelm.
But when you’re holding the reins, you have autonomy over your levels of autonomy!
What If You Like Your Job?
I personally believe that everyone should be self-employed, whether an entrepreneur or a freelancer, a person who sells their skills to other entrepreneurs (but still doesn’t have just a single job.)
You may like your job. You may feel safe and secure. You may enjoy the simplicity of letting someone else make the tough decisions and take the risks.
But the age of the job is ending. Very few people will live out their working life at the job they have now.
I hope you’ll pause to consider how self-employment would not only increase the rewards Csikszentmihalyi and Maslow describe, but reduce the risks of leaving your fianancial future in someone else’s hands.
Bio:About the author: He may have taken a knock to the noggin in his leap off the hedonic treadmill, but Joel D Canfield still manages to string sentences together most days. Though he pays the bills as a web developer (self-employed, of course) he’s managed to write and self-publish his 10th book, released this month. Its cheeky title is You Don’t Want a Job and he believes every word of it.