More on Loving "Work"


I am reading a book by a Cornell class-mate of mine called Steve Shapiro. The book is called “Goal-Free Living.”

The book is quite good, and he has developed what sounds (up until page 62 at least) to be a distinct way of looking at how to think about planning the things that we want to achieve.

While reading, I came across the following quote from Buckminster Fuller:

The things to do are: the things that need doing: that you see need to be done, and no one else seems to see the need to be done. Then you will conceive your own way of doing that which needs to be done — that no one else has told you to do or how to do it. This will bring out the real you that often gets buried inside a character that has acquired a superficial array of behaviors induced or imposed by others on the individual.

This quote perfectly captures some of the experiences I have had in my own life, when I have felt the pull of a commitment that I could not quite explain, but felt very real nontheless. At those moments, I wondered why no-one else can see or hear the things that I did. I wondered if I were the only one.

Until reading this quote, I did not appreciate that what I see so clearly is only what I see, and only what I am able to see — to the exclusion of every other human being.

I find this to the force behind a great deal of what I do professionaly, and why I love to write, and specifically to blog. When not writing, I find myself mulling over points of view or insights that I badly want to express in the world, and while I am writing them I cannot shake the feeling that this stuff is all very obvious, and that everyone must already know this.

This quote helped me to understand that this is not the case, and my recent return to Jamaica has been a tremendous and powerful opportunity to see my country differently. This has been one of the gifts that I received from living and working for 20+ years abroad.

In this sense, “Work” is not a burden or a drudgery. After all, no-one starts a new job saying that they intend it to be dull and uninspiring.

Instead, when there is a belief that the work we are doing is specifically designed for US, and that we are the only ones who could do it — well, that is different. When we are alive to life, and to what is around us in our work, then we can see what no-one else can, and therefore do what no-one else can.

This makes for a life worth living, right down to the minute by minute experience. It also makes for a life that is full, which has more to do with a life in which every aspect is engaged fully (rather than merely full of too much stuff).

In this way, it is easy to see how my own uniqueness allows for each and every part of my life to be a different one. It makes me want to commit — to not having a single corner of my life be ordinary by my terms. I also see how I can bring something unique to each aspect of my life, if I am only willing to first believe that I can, and then to wait until it reveals itself.

After all, if we all possess a divine origin, how could it be any different?