The outcome of Reason # 2 is that you become your own worst enemy. That, in turn, leads on to Reason # 3 where
You place more value on doing than being
If you are at war with yourself, chances are you don't like yourself very much. How many other people who call you to account, who expect more of you than what you achieve are on your best friends list? That fact is as true in your relationship with yourself as it is in your relationships with other people.
The trouble is, you can distance yourself from others; you have to live with yourself. So, one of the ways to come to terms with that reality is to minimise the focus on who you are (which we have determined you don't really like) and increase the focus on what you do.
After all, you can't do much about who you are (or at least so you think) but you can choose what it is you want to do with your life.
There are lots of people who are playing the same game. How often after being introduced to someone does the conversation get around to what you do for a living. In answer to that question, depending on the situation, I often answer “breathe".
I get some very strange looks at times! I might then follow that up with a comment about who I am and how my understanding of myself finds expression in the type of work I do. If I meet with a glazed expression from the other person, (which happens much of the time) invariably the conversation moves back into ‘safe’ territory until he (it's most often men who have that response) can find an reason to excuse himself and move to someone less challenging.
Ever so occasionally If find someone who responds positively to my little joke and I have developed long and respected friendships with many of those people.
What happens when someone asks you about your work situation is they are looking for where to place you in their hierarchical structure. And chances are, if you are not where you would like to be in the world of “doing" you will make your employment out to be more than it really is.
For example you might say " I work in the movie industry" when you serve behind the counter at the local video hire store.
On the other hand you'll find people who will say " I'm just a …. . " usually followed by ‘housewife’ or ‘mother’ or some equally significant role that forms the very backbone of our social fabric. Have you noticed though, that many women are now ‘playing the game’ and rather than a ‘housewife and mother’ they have become the ‘manager of domestic affairs for a small business’.
Then, if you are retired, chances, are you are not just retired, but a “retired accountant" or “bank manager" or whatever it was you did before you to the point where you were told you were too old to work
And that, of course, is a large part of the problem. When your worth is related to what you do, rather than who you are, it follows that when you no longer do anything (at least anything considered productive) it follows you are no longer worth anything.
For someone who achieves their sense of self worth from doing, retirement or retrenchment is a devastating blow. Yet no one, at least to my knowledge, in the wisdom that comes when dying has ever said “I wish I spent more time at the office".
Isn't it interesting that those who are faced with a shortening of life, function from a totally different perspective from the rest of us. For those people, it is in ‘being’ that they find the meaning to life. It is relationships they treasure the most.
Perhaps the saddest thing of all is that it often takes something life a life shortening illness for people to find true perspective and genuine purpose in life.
Graham Hunt is the founder of Prentis Carpenter Center, an organisation established to resource an environment where those people who chose to do so could discover and work towards their potential. One way in which Graham is doing that is through his website http://www.higher-self-esteem-site.com/ Drop by anytime.