What is the Fuel That Makes Life Worthwhile?
“There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of a comfortable past which, in fact, never existed.”
– Robert Kennedy
In 1968, Robert F. Kennedy urged Americans to think about how we measure what makes a country great in new ways. He said the Gross National Product doesn’t measure the health of our children, the beauty of our poetry, our courage, our wisdom, or our compassion.
“It measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.
Work, for most of us, is the biggest relationship that we have. But, our obsolete past conditioned us to take a primary view of work as a source of survival and predictability. This was the promise of the industrial revolution which offered a pact. If we became a bit machine-like and found a secure job, life would be good. The contract immediately shields many of us from finding the work that makes us happy, as well as providing us with a deep sense of meaning & purpose. If any of my readers are greeting that statement with cynicism, please remember that no one can be truly happy if he or she is starving. So, from this point forward, please understand that a great relationship with our work hits all of the standards that bring happiness into our lives. This is a courageous and rigorous way to live.
Our country is in a great deal of turmoil. Fingers are being pointed at others, blame is being assigned to various tribes, a turf war grows out of the idea there “isn’t enough.” Consider the possibility that the real culprit underneath this angst stems from our unwillingness to change. Oh, everyone wants to change the world, but I am speaking of changing ourselves. We see evidence of this in the fact that 48% of Americans view themselves as underemployed. They have been kicked to the curb by . Of course, we have turmoil! So many people are living hand-to-mouth and they are frightened, indeed, about what lies ahead.
This isn’t the time to be accepting mediocrity, it is the time to raise our standards! Settling once again will sentence far too many of us to continued under-employment.
We gave our first Inspired Work Program in September 1990. Early that summer, I was trying to write my own way out of a deep-seated malaise with work. At the time, I was a young executive in the staffing industry. Looking back today, I was unhappy with my work because I couldn’t find enough meaning in it. I would later discover that I was not cut out for having a job. In that industry, I observed that most people were driven by themes of survival and predictability. Much of that began with parents, educational institutions, politicians, and even religions conditioning people to fixate on survival and predictability. I designed our first program to help people define and design the work that would make them happy and the skills that would make them successful. But, where could we begin?
Two words popped into my head: Irrevocable Happiness.
Just to be clear, I am not one of those people wearing a saffron robe floating across a meditation center to hit the gong. For me, irrevocable happiness would mean loving my work and it would also mean making a great living. As I continued to write from this new standard, my jaw would periodically drop open. For example, “I would only work with brilliant and loving people.” There was nothing in my past that indicated this was possible but that one sentence changed my life.
The journaling sped up. I realized that I wanted, more than anything else, to make a difference in people’s lives. I wanted work that was creative and continually different. I wanted my dachshunds to be with me at work. I never wanted to take another order from someone else. I would live at the beach, but not just any beach, I would live at the very beach that we live at today. In a relatively short period of time, it became apparent that what I most wanted in life was not being fulfilled because I had never clearly defined it.
That exercise became a turning point for me. And, for our participants, defining irrevocable happiness on their own terms becomes their turning point. What I am most proud of, is that our process actually helps everyone also define the unique way they are going to succeed.
The new world of work is offering us freedom from tasks. Today, it is easier than ever to change careers, to move from shrinking to growing industries, to start a business, to publish a book, or to physically work where ever we want to work.
We cannot guarantee that someone will succeed. But, we can raise the probability of our success. Defining the life and the work that will make you happy is one of the best places to begin. That definition will raise the probability of your happiness. And, given the right life skills and support, life will be new.
Where could Irrevocable Happiness take you? Take fifteen minutes to write that out.
See where it takes you.
Schedule 15-Minutes to Discuss Your Workplace or Career with David (Here)
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