Saturday, June 7, 2014

Love Or Money?

If I Can’t Have Both, I’ll Take Love…

I read about a study where they asked people, What percentage of your work time is filled with doing what you feel you do best? The average was pretty low. Many people reported that they never got to do what they did best at work. And there was a correlation between a higher percentage and how much people enjoyed their jobs, regardless of what the job was. Like cab drivers who were good with people and good drivers and got to do both all day long were happier than cab drivers who were really good at playing the drums and never got to do that at work. I well understand that there are economic needs and forces here, so I don't mean to put down the drummer-cab driver. He has to do what he has to do.

Very early in my life I realized a few things: 1. that I had a strong need to enjoy what I was doing in order to put much energy into anything 2. that I enjoyed things that didn't seem to make much money 3. that I had a very low ability to tough it out and override 1. and 2. just to make money, and 4. that a typical middle class life (house, kids, car, etc.) would be difficult for me to pay for given 1. and 2. So...I kept my expenses to a minimum...had a vasectomy when I was 29...and kept looking for a way to pay for that relatively modest life by doing something that I loved. I've never made much money, and I have had some real angels in my life who helped support my efforts, but I've never been late for the rent or other bills and I'm still somehow afloat. And...I get to do what I feel I do best...Teaching (T'ai-Chi) and making music...100% of my work day. But I also do without much of what my generation would consider "success".

I think a lot of people would be happier if they set their economic sites much lower...had fewer kids or waited longer to have them...drove a funkier car or better yet got a bike...jettisoned a lot of the stuff they think they "need" which they actually only need because they work so many hours at jobs they hate...and focused instead on finding the kind of work they really enjoy, regardless of what it pays, and building relationships with like-minded people. My experience is that people who are poor but enjoy what they're doing and have a solid community of friends are much happier than wealthy people who don't like their jobs and are socially isolated. And of course, if you can do both, more power to you, but I think that comes more from following "your bliss" and finding there's money in it, than it comes from following the money and finding there's bliss in it.


  1. Gene, I really like your philosophy of life. You're doing what makes you happy, and you're not conforming to the expectations of mainstream society.