15 Aug Our Journey Toward Career Happiness
I help creative professionals seeking career happiness amid technological disruption. I’m one of those professionals, so we’re on this journey together. And it’s a collaborative journey aided by the cultivation of an elusive superpower: clarity.
In general, I’m fascinated by the potential, cumulative impact we can make for ourselves and the world, by gaining more clarity through mindful living, learning agility, making technology work for us (instead of against us), and making choices that can harness climate change before it’s too late.
I sift through these fascinations every day, one layer at a time, in this quest for clarity and increased career happiness, against a global tide of information overload and unprecedented change.
2019 has been a big year for me, with lots of personal and professional changes. These changes haven’t been easy, but I’m significantly clearer and happier than I was a year ago–and that must count for something.
One particular change is a shift in my writing and the core audience I’m trying to reach. The key elements of this shift are captured by the first two paragraphs of this blog. I’ve become clearer on who I want to serve and why, after journaling my responses to two key questions:
1. What interests me?
2. What are people with similar interests most concerned about?
I think any creative person in any field should consider grappling with these questions. If our work doesn’t flow out of our core interests, it’s always going to feel a bit forced, unnatural, and more difficult than it needs to be. When strong interests align with smart work, excellence happens. Career happiness happens. And what better core audience to serve, than others who have similar interests and needs and want to experience excellence?
I’m most interested in the four buckets of “fascination” I articulated in the second paragraph above, and I’ll elaborate on what they mean to me and how clearly I think they interrelate:
Mindfulness is “paying attention on purpose,” as we breathe, eat, walk, perform our work, interact with others…and everything else. Through mindful living, one moment and choice at a time, we manifest our truest nature and the four interdependent attributes of an enlightened person: loving kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.
Mindful decisions are healthy decisions. I believe there’s a symbiotic, complex relationship between what we eat and drink and how much we rest; the information we consume, the knowledge we seek, and the ignorance we’re willing to admit and address; the helpful or harmful ways in which we recognize and deal with our emotions, and how this impacts us and others; and the world view we have about mystical matters that we often make too concrete or categorically reject.
This symbiosis is revealed in the best and worst of human decisions. It shows up when we reach out to help others who are dealing with personal tragedies, and it shows up when someone opens gunfire on a crowd of other human beings. It shows up when we resolve conflict in ways that strengthen relationships and work products, and it shows up when we find ourselves addicted to painkillers or alcohol. It shows up when we demonstrate compassion and interest to those who are different from us, and it shows up when we push away people who are different from us.
Mindful people are more curious in general, and curiosity fuels learning agility–which might be the only sustainable antidote to ignorance. Learning agility is the willingness and increasing ability to embrace new situations, reflect on them, accept feedback, and apply fresh insights going forward. I’m intrigued by the world and its differences and similarities. When you have learning agility, you quickly see the possibilities inherent in change and adjust to maximize them.
Making Technology Work For Us
Mindful, agile learners are constantly reinventing how they approach their lifestyle and their work. They don’t have to surrender to the distractions and fears that seem to attack us from every angle, amid technological disruption that’s made terms such as “algorithms,” “artificial intelligence,” and “biotechnology” into household words. How do I continue to express my values, love my family and friends, protect myself, and find meaningful work in this congested era of unprecedented technological, scientific, and medical advancements? We have more options than we realize, and I plan to write about these..
Choices That Harness Climate Change
Finally, our degrees of mindfulness, learning agility, and technological savvy are implicit in the choices we make that accelerate or harness climate change. Climate change is so much more than an “environmental issue.” The disruption of our planet’s ecological balance shows up in “natural” disasters and proliferating diseases that destroy health, economies, jobs, and shelter. We cannot keep climate change in its own little box and expect to thrive as a global community. The weakest among us will suffer the most from climate change, but ultimately we shall all suffer if we don’t make better choices. It’s crucial that we get clear on how we can personally make an impact.
In my subsequent writing, I intend to go deeper into layers of these four dovetailing “fascinations.” I hope you find value in this writing, and that it helps you just enough to make clearer choices that increase your happiness and contribute to making things better for others.