Saturday, August 26, 2006

Are you making a living or designing a life?

"Designing a Livelihood: Do What You Love & Love What You Do" is an article from the November 2002 issue of Natural Life Magazine that talks about the signfigance of one's work. It mentions being passionate about what you do, and touches on Thomas Moore’s idea of soul-making. The article suggests,
Conscious design of your livelihood doesn't necessarily mean forgoing financial security or even wealth. A study of business school graduates tracked the careers of 1,500 people from 1960 to 1980. From the beginning, the graduates were grouped into two categories. Category A consisted of people who said they wanted to make money first so that they could do what they really wanted to do later — after they had taken care of their financial concerns. Those in category B pursued their true interests first, sure that money eventually would follow. Of the 1,500 graduates in the survey, 83 percent (1,245 people) were in category A. The category B risk takers made up 17 percent, or 255 graduates. After twenty years there were 101 millionaires in the group. One came from category A, 100 from category B.

The study's author, Srully Blotnick, concluded that "the overwhelming majority of people who have become wealthy have become so thanks to work they found profoundly absorbing...Their 'luck' arose from the accidental dedication they had to an area they enjoyed."

Another ancient spiritual concept, 'soul-making' is making a comeback in both spiritual and psychological circles. Thomas Moore, author of the popular book Care of the Soul, suggests that the spiritual and psychological belong together, that an inquiry into each is a part of soul-making. If the soul lies at the intersection of our spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social and physical selves, then soul-making is about becoming all of who we are. Since for most of us, our work is an important part of who we are, soul-making requires us to look at the people we are at work, at the communities we form there, and at the nature of our work itself.
At the end of the article is a list of books and organizations for further exploration.