So, inevitably you must ask, “if I am not doing what I love then do I need to change it?” Should I just accept my fate, and stoically perform my duty? The short answer is “yes and no.” Take your career for example. Sometimes you are not in a position to immediately change it, your livelihood. There are externals that you have to consider like basic income, moving, family, children in school, etc. However, if you are not in a career that is healthy, wholesome, and completely virtuous (consistent with nature), eventually you must change it so you can “do what you love.” You can make yourself accept a career that is not what you love, you can love doing it by convincing yourself it is your fate, but… Eventually, you must find a career consistent with your virtue and one that at its very heart you can say, “I am glad I am doing this.” Continue reading
We should all be so lucky to find our dream calling. That thing that we are so called to doing that we are “self-actualized” (see Maslow’s Hierarchy; also see The Problem with Maslow). I wonder if any of you have had a self-dialogue like I have had similar to the ones below:
“As soon as I find my calling, then I’ll be happy. Certainly, what I am doing now certainly is not it. I am definitely not fully satisfied doing this/being here. I need to find my dream job/life/place to live/love/home/etc., and then I will find happiness.” YOU ARE STUCK IN A TASK THAT IS NOT YOUR LOVE.
or maybe you’re here:
I recently had an opportunity to meet up with some old friends from the military at a retirement for a friend. This friend was doing what he loved, the Air Force was his dream job. I was envious. I retired from the military precisely because it was not what I loved. It was not my “dream job.” My friend will be moving on to a high-powered corporate management gig, and I started to wonder how he will do outside of his “dream job.” But then I realized something about my friend. It wasn’t that he was doing what he loved, it’s because he loves what he’s doing. My friend is going to love his new gig because he simply has a great attitude about things wherever he goes. More specifically, he loves making “good things happen to people” (his words). Fortunately for him, in management (a field used in every industry and calling) it always involves people.
This retirement event was a soul-searching one for me, Continue reading
Who am I? I have had many roles, and continue to have more…too many in fact. Here are the ones I can think of:
- Personal Trainer
- College Instructor
- Teacher (to my young children)
- Retired Officer
- Liberty Activist
But these are just roles I play. There were times in my past when I wanted some of these to define who I was. Occasionally, I still latch on to one of them and think, “that’s my calling, that’s who I am?” However, none of these roles are who I am in entirety. I am all of these and none of them all at the same time. When someone asks me, “what do you do?”, it’s a tough question. I do a lot. If someone asks me “who are you?” (which they never do), then what is the answer? It’s an even tougher question; or is it?
I am at a point in my life where I am defined by no one thing. This is a good thing, I think. I have been headed in that direction for some time now. In the past year, since I retired from military servitude, I have had much more time to explore and dive into things that I like and do things that are more productive. I don’t have goals, so much as I have themes (I stole the “themes” theme from James Altucher: see more). My themes are simple, yet my means seem to be surprisingly complicated. Every time I write down the themes I wish to pursue, they come down to these three:
- Have Fun (through interesting and meaningful pursuits)
- Help People (family, job, and community)
- Pursue Liberty (for me and others)
I will readily admit that these three themes necessitate a grasping of this world. However, I always try to remember that my participation in this world doesn’t necessitate my belief that this participation in it is permanent, or that I will make a lasting impact in much of what I do. I just am, while I try. As a philosopher, I should pursue my themes with some rational detachment. In the end, I will be gone and so will you. The goal then is to just “be,” while pulling your weight along the way. At the end as I utter my last breaths, I could ask myself:
- “Did you enjoy it along the way?”
- “Did you do your best to be a positive influence on those around you?”
However I can answer these 2 questions, then that is who I am. I hope to answer YES, to both.
PS: I just realized 2 things: 1) This post is like an open journal entry and 2) It comprises bits and pieces of the three influencing philosophies from my life raft.
Happiness is a state of mind…blah, blah, blah, blah. Great, thanks for the advice, how does that really help me? Happiness is a state of mind? Seriously how is that supposed to help me? I know that! The real question is, how do I change my mind? More precisely, how do I change my state of mind to be happy.
Well, one way is to list things you are grateful for. This morning I came up with a list of 10 things I am grateful for. When I started, I wanted it to be a “Top 10” things I am grateful for, but as I kept thinking I realized that it would be difficult to say which things would be in the “top 10.” In any case, these are the first 10 things I thought of.
- No Pain – Some people, when they open their eyes in the morning feel pain immediately. Maybe in their joints, their back, their head, stomach, etc. I am very fortunate. As I age, I think I have more and more aches and pains, but I do not have anything I would classify as chronic pain. I am very grateful that my body has yet to rebel on me.
- My Wife – I am grateful for my wife. I do not want to be too sentimental here, although I could get that way. I could write post after post of things I am grateful for about my wife. For this list, however, I will limit my gratefulness to 2 major things about my wife that I am grateful for. First, I am grateful that I managed to find someone who is comaptible enough with me that living with her is possible. I take for granted, that many end up with a mate that is so incompatible that they are doomed to difficulty or divorce from the start. Not so with my wife and I. We have our differences certainly, but these are things we tweak here and there. Next, is the fact that she gives a damn…about our relationship. My wife loves and cares for US. She makes an effort to build our relationship; when I make the effort she returns it, sometimes ten-fold. I mention this because I often take this for granted. She exerts effort to keep our relationship strong. I know that this is not always the case with others. Many people just give up on their relationships.
- Children (mine) – I have 5 children. Each of them provides me with a different perspective on life. In their own way, they each decipher the world for me through a different lens. It is very difficult to put into words how each of them brings me joy and insight. A little embarrassingly, they also make me very proud…I shouldn’t really have pride, should I?
- Food – It is not lost on me, that I have never had to worry about if I would get my next meal. Certainly, not always a feast, but I have had some of those as well.
- Shelter – I have more than enough space, conditioned air, electricity, running safe water, and all the other amenities of a standard U.S. home. I often think to myself that my residence would be considered a manor if I were to transport it back in time 100 years. Take it further back, maybe 300 years, and it would be the grandest castle in all the world. It’s amazing how lucky you can consider yourself when you think through the 4th dimension of time.
- My Mind – I am grateful that my reasoning faculties are intact. This certainly may not last forever. I have observed that my mind has indeed slowed down. I have seen grandparents devolve into dementia (although from their perspective, this may actually be a blessing), and I can see others who have lost or are just losing their mind around me.
- Ice Cream – Do I really need to explain? Sidenote: I mix in peanut butter. It’s weird and makes it even worse for me, but makes for a breathtaking occasional treat! Also, ice cream is not food like in #4…it’s a completely different category.
- Negative Examples – All around me, people are rude, proud, and lying. They are violent, they don’t listen. They judge me, in my opinion, without all the facts too soon. They are ambitious to the point of greed and sometimes to obsession. I am so grateful for this. This is an opportunity for me to see my own dark side, to see it from outside of me. When you see these things in another, you can address them in yourself…and use this as an antidote not to be like that.
- Life is a Path – I am glad that I was born basically knowing nothing. I am glad that my parents taught me their view on life. I am glad that society tried to teach me “norms.” I am glad for organized religion, too. Much of what I was taught I rejected, but I was challenged to do so on the path. I am glad I once thought one way so strongly, in order that I was forced to defend my beliefs; as a result, I realized I was wrong. So many thoughts, beliefs and philosophies I have had, all to lead to right now, which I am very grateful for. …and the journey continues.
- The Sun – I certainly take this for granted. No matter what, the food you eat, the electricity we generate, the wood and steel we use, the plants….everything…all of Gaia…originates in the energy of the sun. So perfectly placed from our planet, stable enough that it warms us and doesn’t fry us. Close enough that we don’t freeze to death…it’s existence, simply amazing!
- The Internet – I guess this one is a bonus. Used in moderation, the internet is a wonderful thing. Information, communication, love, hate, play, business, fun…it’s a virtual world. I am sure that if we never had the internet we would not miss it, but now that it is here, I really appreciate it.
So, in case you were wondering how to change your attitude and appreciate your world, there it is. Maybe you are grateful for some of the things on my list, too.