Maybe I put too much stock in work as being a source of purpose and redemption

by phil on Tuesday Feb 28, 2006 7:09 PM

Every now and then someone will make an observation about you that seems light at first, but after years you find it not only accurately describes you, but also subtly urges you to take a certain remedy.

A while back Chaz laughed and suggested that, upon looking at my blog, that I was all about "the pursuit of the pursuit of passion." I was a little taken aback by that description mainly because it was true. And because it was true, I was unhappy. That my goal had always been to pursue my passions, and yet now it turns out rather than actually pursuing my passions, I've been on a meta-pursuit all this time, I found it frustrating.

The pursuit of the pursuit of something is lame. A meta-pursuit. Frankl for example emphasizes a man's natural "pursuit of meaning," as being as natural as the "pursuit for power." However, when asked what was his purpose, Frankl said it was to help other people find purpose. Great. How convenient.

I think I place too much stock on my productive-side or work-related life providing me purpose and meaning. When I talk about the "pursuit of passion" I'm more-so talking about finding work that you love, that fulfills you day-in and day-out. But in the three or so years that I've been trying to work on that concept, it hasn't really worked. I've tried getting really passionate about things, like painting, writing, and now web venture stuff, and nothing sticks. No project or task animates me day-in day-out with flow.

Most people I know aren't in love with their work either. The best I usually get is "yeah, my work's cool, good people, great benefits." or "yeah, the work's pretty interesting." But hardly like, "yeah man, this is great, I love what I do."

Perhaps it's time to look to other avenues besides work for meaning and purpose.


Julie said on March 2, 2006 8:40 PM:

Maybe you're looking for somebody, something, that will make you happy. But then, it evaporates. Pooof!!

How about looking for something inside you. Not from outside forces to give you happines.

I'm not sure if I'm explaining this right but some good reading.."4 Agreements" by Miguel Ruiz.


Steve said on April 6, 2006 11:13 PM:

Philip...sorry to come so late to the conversation, just saw the link of Bob's blog... If you haven't seen it already, you'll appreciate this article from the Financial Times ("Tribal Workers")

Philip Dhingra said on April 7, 2006 1:31 AM:

That's an interesting angle Steve, one I haven't seen before. What it suggests is that those that look to work as a source of fulfillment actually live less fulfilling lives because then they throw away other aspects of their lives.

Personal investigation shows there may be some truth to it. When I was working hard on Leetster for the past couple months, Ezra and I did not go outside. We woke up and worked until we fell asleep. It's like our entire identity rested on our work identity. We loved our jobs, and as a result, we didn't seek anything outside of work. There was another time in my life, when I had a full-time job and worked on a side project when I went home. The work good work, but I didn't live a balanced life.

Anyways, I don't know how to process the article immediately, but I'm tickled by this idea that being extremely animated by your work can be a bad thing.

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