Only our second Circle in Berlin an already we were completely booked. It seems that the topic drew quite an audience, since there were even a few people on the waiting list.
This time hosted in the unique surroundings of the Baumhaus another soon-to be opened visionary co-working space in Berlin, we set about exploring whether it really is the holy grail of our lives, to be earning our living by doing what we love.
Right off the bat, we were able to gain some insights into the nationality of people and the (sometimes) difference between what each of us loves doing and what we actually earn a living with. A question that emerged from the first contributions was: Is it maybe meant to be that we first have to struggle through a certain ‘type’ of job that will later allow us, be it through experience or financial returns, to ‘finally’ do what we love?
The predominant flow of thought seemed to go into the direction of how to make it by doing what we love, not necessarily ‘if’. The feeling was that it is always preferable to love what you are doing to earn a living with. Whether that implies the reverse, that we can earn a living doing 100% what we love, remained unclear.
We talked about what it takes to earn a living doing what we love, namely believing in our goals, believing that they will be achieved, remaining positive and trusting in ourselves.
When the conversation touched upon the issue of opportunities, it was mentioned that such a thing as ‘luck“ doesn’t exist, that it is actually us who turn situations into opportunities. Seneca said: Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity. Does this mean we should be constantly developing ourselves so when that we can seize the opportunities when they arrive?
The question came up as to what keeps so many people from making the shift out of an apparently unsatisfying job; or only after having endured 25 years of misery in such a job. Some said that it was about courage, about being brave enough to take the jump.
And aren’t there many different ways to jump? Maybe it’s not the all-or-nothing free fall that some opt for; maybe there is a version where we jump with a parachute?
If and how we earn a living seems to be less about society or what is expected of us, and rather more about the power of making our own choices.
What about those of us who say: I love my shitty job. It pays the bills or I don’t define myself through my work? As long as they are happy, who are we to judge? Is not the diversity of paradigms, wants and needs exactly what makes this adventure so appealing?
An interesting aspect was voiced by another participant: “I don’t want to earn money; but I have to“ Indeed, when we ask children about what they want to do when they grow up, few will probably say: “make as much money as possible“. Later this year, we will also host another circle focussing on our financial blueprints and how malleable it might or might not be.
When another Expander asked for help as to how to earn a living doing what he loved, namely being a philosopher, the advice was: get started, start blogging, find a sponsor, maybe start crowdfunding.
It was then that the following thought emerged: if we do what we love 24/7, if that becomes the center of our lives, will we still love it? There will probably be parts that I don’t necessarily love doing, such as accounting and marketing, but that need to be done in order to earn a living off the ‘core love’.
And when we look at Maslows’ hierarchy of needs, he places self-actualization at the very top, claiming that unless the basic needs are met, the higher ones are unlikely to be addressed. So maybe we actually need a job that pays the bills in order to give us the peace of mind that allows us to explore what we love?
We briefly touched upon the topic of happiness. What is happiness? some asked. Is the aim to always be happy? Or is it maybe too much to ask for, even unrealistic? If life is a mixture of emotions, sadness and joy are both part of the experience.
Out of the many personal stories that were shared, one of the Expanders distilled three reasons why people don’t do what they love:
- A lack of financial means, either actual or incumbent if the current career is abandoned
- Not knowing what they truly like doing
- A fear of losing a certain reputation (what do people expect me to be?)
If we don’t try, we’ll never know. Without exploring possibilities and experiencing what they bring us, finding what we love doing seems impossible.
Thanks again to all the Expanders that made this evening the deep experience it turned out to be.