Hullo & Happy New Year 2020! I only just realized this is my first blog since Christmas Eve. So here are my official greetings for the new decade filled with infinite opportunities for growth, wisdom, joy, peace, love and abundance in different ways.
I recently came across another blog that reminded me of a video message I saw recently as I scrolled my social media feeds. It said (to paraphrase), we tend to gravitate to people and places that inspire us or enhance our ideas and need for creative expression.
One message came from a North American blogger, and the other – a budding musician with a repertoire of poems and songs. Both pieces shared a common thread – to paraphrase – when we attempt to commercialize or monetize anything (including our creativity, our thoughts and ideas etc) we end up operating almost in a pressure chamber where our life purpose becomes diluted just to meet the demands of the day.
One would argue that such is life in the real world right?
If you ever worked in an uber creative environment such as the copywriting department of an ad agency, or the newsroom of a media house (TV/radio or press) you’d understand this all too well.
The mental pressure of strict demands/deadlines to create a masterpiece for a finicky client or meticulous audience that pays your salary and the rent at your building is what affords staff (and by extension you) the lifestyle they/you enjoy.
After a while, you may feel at times that you can no longer produce that type of high quality work.
The starkest comparison I can think of are those sperm donors that feel pressured to fill a cup at whim and blood donors that nurses and lab techs have a hard time locating the vein. And if you didn’t catch those two parallels, try this one on for size: A sex worker forced to ‘put out’ for random men she has no chemistry with or emotional/mental attraction to – just for the money or lack of opportunities.
Let’s face it: We all have to work for that coloured paper (money) to pay our way in life – bills, decent housing, transportation and its proper maintenance (lighting, heating, an adequate supply of drinking water and water for the basics of life – dishes, bathing, cars, pets, plants etc). Some try to deny our need to make more and more of it (money) to live a better life and not just settle for the bare basics of living, but we can’t (honestly) admit this with a straight face can we?
Simplicity is preferred by some, but c’mon – what is life and work for, if not to enjoy our toil in the sun? And even if you slave your entire life for someone else to enjoy a better life (your boss, your kids, your spouse or other family members) wouldn’t you want to enjoy your retirement or twilight years in grand style or enjoy a passion project you wanted to do all along if you didn’t have to pay bills with a more practical paying job?
The truth is, not many of us can afford to not have our minds and bodies exploited in some way as part of daily living – even if we were born with a silver spoon in our mouths, or opt to be a stay-at-home (soccer) mom. So the lyrics of that Beatles song still rings true to this day: “It’s been a hard days night and I’ve been working like a dog!”
Even if you own a craft business or large corporation (one day), the first few years or decades in some cases could be a real struggle to even pay your overheads without living out of your car, eating tuna fish or cheese sandwiches 5 out of 7 days a week and not having much of a social life. I give props to people who do not have to work day and night (at least initially) to be a jack-of-all-trades in order to deliver quality products and services to their customers and receive repeat business or referrals.
This money of course has to be fueled back into raw materials, overheads or tools/technology to create more saleable stuff. If you’re ‘lucky’ to have any left over to pay (or treat) yourself from the first few sales, then you’re quite unique. The next step is actually saving some of that dough for the slow periods, or when you’re in a lull and can’t produce at your optimum levels or quality for whatever reasons.
In any event, there’s this saying in American culture (which I somehow adopted simply by the virtue of all the television, movies & music I consumed growing up) that says, ‘pick your poisons’. (Meaning liquor. Actually it’s a question – usually at bars, ‘What’s your poison?‘).
Not to be taken literally as poison, but I take it to mean: You have to decide what inconvenience you are willing to suffer through. It may be an inconvenience for one person, but a dream or challenge to master for someone else (kinda like me and spreadsheet formulas, video or website editing. Eventually I got the hang of it, but do I love it enough to do it full-time for money? Nope! I was born to write and innovate with my creative flair and all the work-life experiences I’ve acquired thus far).
You can probably better relate to this example I use at some of my workshops: Would you take a job across town paying a lot of money doing the stuff you love, if you didn’t like the environment too much and had to pass a bar where homeless people sometimes hang out and a huge dumpster to get to and from your car and office?
Or would you give up that extra pay and benefits (like travel and training opportunities) to stay at your family business you’ve worked at since school, or you current job that you have now outgrown and haven’t received a pay raise in 10+ years?
Seven years ago when I moved to a new space that was totally serene and free from most distractions, I ended my blogs with a moral. I could still visualize myself there in my mind’s eye with my glass of wine at 2 in the morning — my favourite radio station (at the time) playing in the background while watching old re-runs of Sex in the City. So here’s one for old times!
Moral: I always say I was lucky to have worked in so many different industries and sectors. I regretted losses and disappointments in my early years, but now I resolve that everything happened so that a lesson can be learnt.
Possibly things couldn’t progress faster at certain times because the parties involved were not prepared to accept the lessons because it was comfortable to stay in a familiar, but stagnant position.
Having interacted with enough people and read enough articles from various cultures, I am convinced that the entire education system has to be restructured so the minds of the new generation and that of their parents can be rewired to make better career choices to fit their kids’ personalities, talents and academic abilities.
Parents nowadays (generally) push their children to be well-rounded since the older generations did not get to enjoy the music, drama and ballet classes in addition to what their school’s district could have allowed or afforded at that time – especially in the lesser developed parts of the world.
I’d have to say few young people really know what they want to be way into the future as adults, even if surrounded by strong role models, or think they’ve seen what they want to be when they grow up on television. If parents are mentally prepared (even prior to having kids), then they’d adopt certain behaviours, so by the time children get into the picture they’d be able to mirror their parents way of thinking, fortitude and confidence to go after what their hearts beat for – which is not to stand at the back of the line.
Neither is it to push their way to the front; but rather seek out, embrace and readily identify the roles and opportunities that best suit them at various points in their development – at school, at play, at work and more. The sky is the limit!
Here’s wishing you more dreams and passions fulfilled this new decade 2020!