As I mentioned in my last article, lately I am a little obsessed with the late philosopher, Allan Watts.
I was listening to one of his many talks on youtube this afternoon.
The one I was listening to was about money, and what we would do with our lives if money were no object.
I believe it’s a really important question to ask ourselves.
So many of us get fooled into living a life that we really have no interest or enjoyment in living, in the desperate pursuit of money.
A lot of us settle for jobs we hate, relationships that make us miserable, and we live lives that are so far from what we truly desire.
I was so fascinated by his words, that I have written them below:
“What do you desire?
What makes you itch?
What sort of a situation would you like?
What would you like to do if money were no object?
How would you really enjoy spending your life?
Forget the money.
Because if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time.
You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing, in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing.
Which is stupid.
Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.
And after all if you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is. You can eventually become a master on it.
The only way to become a master of something is to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is.
So don’t worry too much.
Somebody is interested in everything. Anything you can be interested in, you’ll find others will.
But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like, in order to go on spending on things you don’t like, and doing things you don’t like, and to teach your children to follow on the same track.
See what we’re doing is we’re bringing up children, and educating them to live the same sort of lives we’re living. In order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children, to bring up their children, to do the same thing.
So it’s all wretch and no vomit.
It never gets there.
And therefore, it’s so important to consider this question “what do I desire?”
The love of money is the root of evil.
The difference between having a job, and having a vocation is that a job is some unpleasant work you do in order to make money, with the sole purpose of making money.
If you do a job with the sole purpose of making money, you are absurd.
Because if money becomes the goal; and it does if you work that way – you begin increasingly to confuse it with happiness. Or with pleasure.
Freedom means the freedom to make mistakes. The freedom to be a damn fool.”
I know personally, that I spent a really long time doing jobs I didn’t like.
All of my working life actually.
Half of my teens, all of my twenties, and half of my thirties.
And I worked really, really hard.
I can honestly say, that I have never enjoyed what I have done for work over those past two decades.
However, I admittedly did enjoy the money.
Money, absolutely, beyond the shadow of a doubt, became the ultimate goal.
And I most definitely confused that money with happiness, and pleasure.
Until I didn’t.
And it was then that I had a lightbulb (or hair brain) moment.
When I sat down, and asked myself the uncomfortable and somewhat confronting question – WHAT DO I DESIRE?
And the answer was that it was none of the things that I had gone about creating for myself.
Was I happy? Like, truly happy?
It’s ridiculously difficult to be completely honest with ourselves.
And it’s even harder to try to stop convincing ourselves that what we currently have, is all there is.
So, was I happy?
It is with that question, that I will now quote one of my favourite authors, Paulo Coelho:
“No one should ever ask themselves that: why am I unhappy? The question carries within it the virus that will destroy everything. If we ask that question, it means we want to find out what makes us happy. If what makes us happy is different from what we have now, then we must either change once and for all or stay as we are, feeling even more unhappy.”
In a lot of ways, that question does come with it, the virus that will destroy everything.
Because it is true.
That if you recognise that you are unhappy, then you must change once and for all.
Or stay as you are, feeling even more unhappy.
To quote the words of the character Tyler Durden, in Chuck Palahniuk’s book “Fight Club”:
“It’s only after we’ve lost everything, that we’re free to do anything”.
What are you willing to lose in order to be free to do anything?
What do you want?
Do you want freedom?
I know I do.
And I know to a lot of people, with my desire for freedom, I probably look like a “damn fool”.
But I am now free to do anything.
And that’s all that really matters.
Because I would hate to have to spend the rest of my years asking myself, “is that all there is?”