Believe in nothing, no matter who says it, even if I say it, if it does not agree with your own experience and your own common sense ~ Buddha

Check out this "Bliss Compass" at oneletterwords.com/bliss

Too often the advice you hear is trite: Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

I don’t know about you, but my love is a fickle thing. How do you figure out what your “bliss” is?

The standard advice is to imagine you had unlimited funds, unlimited time, and unlimited potential. How would you spend your time? It’s a form of self-hypnosis to relax, unwind, and let you mind roam to where you want it to.

But when I actually spend time doing this, I find my mind just gravitates to what is most lacking in my life right now; I wish I could read more, and garden more. Is this how I would spend my life if I won the lottery? Very doubtful. I like goal-setting, and accomplishment. To aimlessly wander through life would get old very quickly. All this technique has taught me is that my work-life balance is heavily weighted towards work, and that I need more time to unwind. Like, duh.

How about this one? Consider your life without different components.

My life without writing would have considerable more time…but no passion. In fact, writing is the only thing that forces me to reflect on myself, my surroundings, and the world at large. Without feedthespark, my journaling, or my other writing, I would be a virtual automaton.

So is writing my bliss? But I can’t do it all day, every day. Maybe it’s more like a treat, sort of like truffles with coffee. I can’t make a diet out of it.

You know what else I like to do? Give orders. I like to run things, the more efficiently the better. I have a command personality, I make decisions swiftly and with gut logic and run with them. I dominate the people around me. When my life runs like a well-oiled machine, I am at peace with myself and the world.

My life without giving orders? Well, let’s just say I’d be the last person on the planet. For as long as there are people who don’t know what the best thing to be doing is, I’ll be there to fill the gap. I’m SUCH a humanitarian.

But managing isn’t what I want to do with my life. The stress of being on top of everything, all the time, would sour all too quickly.

This is why I hate books like “What Color is Your Parachute?”, and “Who Moved My Cheese?” Nothing they said seemed to apply.

When your only criterion is that you never get bored, what are you supposed to do?

Somewhere I read that when time stops as you do a certain activity, you’ve found your bliss. If you light up when you talk about it, you’re getting close. So, after much ado, I’ve discovered my personal bliss is learning, and possibly teaching. I love to research. I like wandering through libraries and Wikipedia, I love to share what I’ve learned. I love to integrate it, especially through problem solving. If there’s a problem in a certain area, and I can offer a solution that worked in a different industry or field, I am ecstatic.

Now if I had had this answer when I graduated high school, what exactly would have changed? I did go to school and take a wide variety of classes. I did apply myself in areas other than academia. I did discover that no job that wasn’t self-directed would fulfill me. By gum! I’m already on the right path and didn’t even know it!

Now, if only I had more time to read.

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Comments on: "On finding your bliss:" (5)

  1. Honestly, I wasted so much time when I was younger laboring under the idea of finding my “bliss” or my “calling” (though I never actually thought of it in those specific terms), and I wish someone had set me straight on it: life itself is ebb and flow, constant flux, and even the things you love the most will get old if you do them too much, or without rotating them with other things or activities.

    I kept expecting that I’d consider some career or course of action, and suddenly I’d hear the angelic chorus and have a shaft of white light beam down on me, and I’d know beyond all doubt that this was what I was “meant” to do. I kept wondering what was wrong with me, since nothing seemed to just scream out for my attention, when really, it seems like the whole tendentious idea of being “meant” to do anything in the first place is the problem. That, and the idea that you should take something you love and make it the absolute centerpiece of your life — I’ve had tons of people reflexively tell me that I should try to find a career centered on writing or music since I love those things, but I always counter that one of the things essential to loving them is having the freedom to do them whenever I want. If I had to do either one as a routine job, I’d quickly get tired of them.

    I love love love reading, but when I try to make myself read, such as when I feel like I’m falling behind and the books are starting to stack up, I quickly get irritated and don’t want to do it. I go through long periods of not wanting to hear certain music that I absolutely love, because I just need a break from it to truly appreciate it again. I’m happy when I write, but luckily, I’ve never tried to force myself to post something just to do it, because I know I’ll just be that much more disappointed for writing something subpar. If it takes a few weeks to find something that really feels like it needs to be written, so be it.

    So it seems to me like the trick is to have a wide variety of things you love doing, and to keep juggling and varying them to keep things fresh, without trying to over-idealize any particular one of them.

    (I’m not taking issue with anything you’ve said here, I’m just riffing on the whole idea of trying to find a passion, which is ephemeral by definition, that will somehow burn with the same intensity for years or decades.)

    “If humans differ from other animals, it is partly in the conflicts of their interests. They crave security, but they are easily bored; they are peace-loving animals, but they have an itch for violence; they are drawn to thinking, but at the same time they hate and fear the unsettlement thinking brings. There is no way of life in which all these needs can be satisfied. Luckily, as the history of philosophy testifies, humans have a gift for self-deception, and thrive in ignorance of their natures.”

    John Gray

  2. Excellent quote. Your mind is like a tar pit for interesting quotes and notations.

    Well, I’m certainly glad to hear about your technique–it’s the same as mine. I thought I was the only one. The only beef I have with it is that when you’re easily bored and set things aside like that, you loose a lot of ground. That’s not to say that you might not lose something anyway, if you keep at it, but there’s a lot to be said for the benefits of continual, focussed attention to a goal or pursuit.

    That’s what this blog is, incidentally. Rather than set it aside when I’m doing something important or involving (like renovating) I’m here writing, every day, something worth reading. I want to see what happens if I can stick with something.

    So far, absolutely no progress on the novel. Maybe I’ll send you the first few chapters to see if the technology in it can be modernized enough to be saved.

    • It’s a pit of something, to be sure, but you’re the first person to suggest tar. But I like that! I’m going to start telling people that my mind is where big, stupid, clumsy thoughts and ideas go to die. Maybe that should even be a subheading on my blog…

      Oh, you mean I’ve been behaving in hopes of getting a novel to read? I thought it was a few short stories. Well, like I said, I’ll read whatever you feel like sharing, if anything.

      • I was actually thinking that quotes and ideas fly in and stick like flypaper, but I wasn’t very articulate last night! NOT where clumsy old ideas go to die, more like an idea archive, where old ideas might be dredged up to wave in the faces of those who ought to know better.

  3. Ah, so my mind is where annoying, disease-carrying thoughts and ideas go to die then!

    (Just teasing, m’dear, I knew what you meant. Inarticulate is one of the very last words anyone would use to describe you.)

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