Today’s THINK ABOUT IT comes from a passage I read yesterday from Happy for No Reason, by Marci Shimoff. As I’ve mentioned in the past, this book though similar to a lot of positive psychology research I’ve read, but does have home runs as well.
From reading comments, emails, and Dream Reporter submissions, I know MML has a huge following of people who are itching to follow their purpose or passion but are at the moment still at “desk jobs” doing something that seems uninspiring in comparison to their vision for their life as a shop owner, yoga instructor, designer, or life coach. But what Marci points out in this passage below, is that the job you have now can bring happiness or sadness, depending only on your personal perspective.
One day an old woman walked up to a dusty building site where three, strong, young men were working hard laying bricks. She walked up to the first man and asked him what he was doing. He replied rather rudely, “Can’t you see? I’m laying bricks. This is all I do all day– I just lay bricks.” She then asked the second man what he was doing. He replied, “I’m a bricklayer and I’m doing my work. I take pride in my craft, and I’m happy that what I do here feeds my family.” As she walked up to the third man, she could see that his eyes were full of joy and his face was as bright as the day. When she posed the same question to him, he replied with great enthusiasm, “Oh, I’m building the most beautiful cathedral in the whole world.”
– Happy for No Reason, pg. 218
Her point about choosing to have a good attitude about whatever it is you happen to be doing reminded me of another example I read in the book, Women, Food, and God, by Geneen Roth. Geneen speaks about how a woman she knows was disappointed by the mundane tasks she was assigned her first year out of law school at her first law firm. The woman’s purpose and excitement for law was shattered as she did “grunt work” day in and day out.
In the evenings, this woman began to eat food to escape the feelings of disappointment concerning her career and purpose. Since the woman was married and her husband couldn’t leave his job, she felt stuck where she was doing something that made her unhappy. Over time, the emotional eating caused a significant weight gain. At that point she redirected her energy on losing the weight and successfully gave herself something else to monitor and control: her eating. She wanted to escape the pain she felt from her career and replaced it with a decoy: weight loss.
But Geneen points out in the book that the woman’s problem with her weight, it was her unhappiness in that position. She even went further to say that the woman had three choices:
- Continue to stay unhappily in her job and in a cycle of emotional eating, focusing on the weight problem instead of the source of her unease.
- Find a way to make peace with her position and be completely present and focused throughout the day, recognizing the purpose of this phase of her life. And to choose to find happiness and acceptance within herself.
- Or to leave the position entirely and find a new job.
Neither the second or third choices she laid out are better than the other, both allow her to make peace with what she was resisting previously resisting: her job.
Though not everyone working in a non-passion career is unhappy, it is worth contemplating how we can make peace with where we are and find the service that lies within this point in our lives.
I personally want to be eventually living and working 100% spreading the message of MML – making that my vocation and career. But I recognize that Jess LC is still a very important part of my path towards that goal right now. And I find the more I pursue both the message and the jewelry with meaning, the more successful and happier I am.
I think that’s something we all can work on, wherever we are in this moment: