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How Could a Working Life Be Meaningful?

https://www.theschooloflife.com/thebookoflife/how-could-a-working-life-be-meaningful/

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How Could a Working Life Be Meaningful?
How Could a Working Life Be Meaningful? - The Book of Life is the 'brain' of The School of Life, a gathering of the best ideas around wisdom and emotional intelligence.

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Work: An inevitable Curse

Work: An inevitable Curse

Working, in broad terms has always been a curse, especially in ancient times for a majority of people. Work is to be done for providing basic food and shelter, and in most cases, it does not provide any stimulation or reward.

In the 18th century, most of the working populations used to work on pipe-organ making, lathe and turning, baking, sugar refining, paper-making and bookbinding, soapmaking, mining and pottery, among other kinds of mostly unpleasant work.

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The Purpose Of Work

Work is the effort we make to get what nature did not provide us automatically, or what is not in abundance. We need food, water, shelter, clothes, and basic necessities that make our lives easier. We invent tools to help ourselves where nature didn’t help us.

Example: We couldn’t carry too much water in our cupped hands, so we worked and made a bucket to carry it.

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The Tools We Use To Work

Apart from simple mechanical objects that define what tools are, like a hammer or a bucket, tools can also have broader meanings like:

  • A book is a tool to preserve our ideas and memory.
  • A painting can be a tool to preserve the beauty of what we see or imagine.
  • Religion can be a tool to drill into our minds the ideas of morality and consolation that we otherwise will not want to think about.

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Working With A Tool

As we started using tools, we realized that work, when it feels less arduous or even pleasurable, can be stimulating, rewarding and something we would love to do.

Normal work makes us put aside our creativity, sensitivity, and other qualities to be productive, but a tool, if it is a delight to use, can become our insight into happiness.

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What We Love To Do

It’s not easy for most to find out what they love and to do that for the rest of their lives. Our education system is not of much help to us in terms of how our life should be.

If we are somehow able to find what we love to do, what pays well, and what we are good at doing, we can find meaning in work, live a fulfilling life and not toil like our ancestors.

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Spontaneity could explain low-level sadness

Spontaneity could explain low-level sadness

An often overlooked but essential ingredient in a good life is spontaneity. Without it, we may suffer from an excess of orderliness, caution and rigidity. We haven't danced in ...

We are rigid, because we are afraid

We stay fixed in our familiar spot because any movement out of the known and calculated is experienced as intensely dangerous. We ruminate too much because we are trying to exert control. We seldom act, out of fear of making a huge mistake.

Spontaneity is a potential within all of us. It is almost always something we have lost because circumstances have stripped it away from our characters.

Becoming spontaneous again

We’ll continue not to be spontaneous until we can understand how and why being spontaneous once felt so dangerous.

We should recognise that many of our inhibitions are no longer necessary - that we can relax from whatever fear we felt as children. We can prepare areas of great order and logic but then allow for moments when we relax, feeling safe in the knowledge that not everything is at stake. We can try to dance a little or take off without too much of a plan.

The start of diplomacy

The start of diplomacy

Diplomacy evolved initially to deal with problems in the relationships between countries.

Instead of leaders infuriating each other and making decisions in the heat of the moment, they ...

Diplomacy is an art

Diplomacy is the art of promoting an idea or cause without unnecessarily inflaming passions.

It involves an understanding of the many parts of human nature that can lead to strife and a commitment to handle these with foresight and grace.

Direct confrontation

Within a negotiation with someone, there is often a request that they change in some way.

A diplomat knows that it is futile to state the call to change too directly as many insist on having their way. Behind the arguing may lie a need for appreciation and esteem.

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Talking horizontally and encouraging honesty

Talking horizontally and encouraging honesty

Sigmund Freud discovered that there is a remarkable difference between what people will tell you when they are sitting up and looking at you in the eye, and what they will say to you when they ...

When we feel discouraged to speak

We perhaps don't realise that seeing another person's face can discourage us from speaking the truth. We may hold back and edit our presentation in the light of their reactions.

With Sigmund Freud's example in mind, we should find our own forms of horizontal conversation. After dinner, we might suggest that we all go and lie down somewhere and become newly conscious of voices and nuances when we don't have to look at others' expressions.