Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Great Deception

I had lunch with a friend today and we got on the topic of work and how he is not really happy or fulfilled in his current job. He began to talk about schooling and things he needed to add to himself to become something. I read on a social media website recently someone lamenting on how he is trying to become like salt of the earth. This is in reference to Jesus teaching some Jewish folks that they are the salt of the earth back in the day. Did you catch the quick switch in auxiliary verbs there? Are and be got switched a bit. Jesus doesn’t tell these Jewish folk that they should be the salt of the earth or that they need to learn to be or try to be the salt of the earth, he simply says, “You are the salt of the earth (Matt 5:13).” I read a quote from a very wise psychologist recently, “You already have everything you need to be everything that you need to be (Dr. Greg Sipes).” There is a common theme in all three story lines here. I am fascinated with multiple story lines sharing a common theme and seeing humanity united by them. My favorite movie is Crash because of this. The mutual refrain shared here is the general idea that one is created and made and exists with all he or she needs. Life is less about learning to add and more learning to subtract and accept who you are rather than try to mold yourself into something you are not.

Now, obviously, this is not to throw out education at all. Education is of utmost importance. It is just how you focus those educational ventures and changing the way you think about learning that matters most. The content of what we learn must change. I once met a very wise man who said something that several years later I am still thinking about. I hear “new” and “cutting edge” authors or speakers say things that I remember this man saying years ago. He is a small man, standing no taller than 5’ on a good day. Don’t let the size fool you though, his wisdom far exceeds his stature. He said that when Adam was in the garden (referring to the biblical account of creation) and was hiding from God because he was naked, that God never once actually inquired about his nudity, rather, he inquired as to who told him he was nude in the first place. There are a ton of implications that impact your larger perspective and theology on life that could make that little thought a series of writings, but the point I’ll focus on is that he implies that maybe he was deceived into thinking he was nude, deceived into thinking he wasn’t what he should be or even worse, he was something he wasn’t meant to be. Maybe that has been the curse form the beginning? The curse of not believing in ourselves and how we were created. I stopped myself short of turning the radio station yesterday because I was tired of hearing a familiar melody. I decided to listen to the song and see what it was about. I’ll go ahead and expect your judgment on this one, I’ll anticipate you making a funny face and thinking me to be odd. Lady Gaga’s Born This Way was the jam that enticed me. Even as crazy and strung out as she is, she may be onto the truth, affirming people for how they were created. If you can bare sticking with me after my Lady Gaga parallel please continue reading.

Glad you made it in spite of me and Gaga. We are taught things as children because our brain is developing and we must learn to harness these advances in our development. As a grown up, after all that education and learning we find ourselves in interesting positions. We continue our education into what we think we believe we should and end up taking jobs that just fit our education or experience. Years down the road we become restless and we are taught our restlessness is wrong or immature. At a certain point I would say doubt and such is unhealthy and not helpful, but until you reach a point of educating yourself on, well, yourself enough to be confident and sure then restlessness is an itch that must be scratched. I’ve had that itch lately and have scratched it. I’ve been meeting with a career counselor and uncovering what and who I am; this includes what profession I (my personality and natural abilities) best fit in. This has been groundbreaking for me, groundbreaking because it is more confirming than novel. I am learning that I am exactly who I thought I was long ago, but just never developed those strengths enough to realize it. I now have all this other baggage I’ve picked UP along the way I need to shed in order to become the lean machine I should be. Once I’ve shed all this, or unlearned these habits, I can develop the natural strength that is already there.

I give the advice to reach out to my career counselor to my friend today at lunch. I tell him he needs to get himself torn down to what he is so he can develop that. I told him his natural strengths and abilities if developed properly would set him apart from everyone and make him a unique treasure in a droid filled marketplace. We all went to college, we’ve all had jobs, we’ve all learned how to use social networking and make our resumes pretty. What sets us apart though? What sets apart is our unique individuality. We are not taught to be unique though, we are taught to conform and to fit. You see what good that has done us right? I know more people that are unhappy in their job than are satisfied. It can’t be because the companies they work for are run by the devil and they are forced to watch reruns of Glitter (that awful movie with Mariah Carey). It is because they are in the wrong place doing the wrong thing. They are filling the space of someone out there who would fit perfectly into that little job. The deception in the professional work force at the very least (maybe even in the world holistically, depending on your world view) is that you need to learn to fit into something rather than finding something you were made for. Instead of learning to mold a square into a circle just to fit through that whole we should just find a circle shaped hole that we fit in. This may take time and education and painfully restless nights, but wouldn’t it be well worth all of that to find something you at your core enjoyed?

If the professional world were filled with more people who were confident and doing what they were made to do, our businesses would be healthier, our employees would be happier, and our marketplace all together would be shining in spite of a gloomy economy.


  1. I LOVE it! I especially like the notion of how we are told, "...that you need to learn to fit into something rather than finding something you were made for." I struggled with that idea for a long time before taking a chance and breaking away from the mold.

    I can attest - once you find the thing you are made for - life just gets better. Not easier, necessarily, but way, way, WAY better.

    Starting up my own dog training business is the single best move I have done in a long time to add to my happiness. Terrifying as it is, it feels right and I feel very fortunate to have found this calling. All the "work" is fascinating and fun - doesn't feel like work at all!

    Keep up the blogging - you speak the truth.


  2. Thanks Elizabeth. I hope this is helpful to others as well. I also hope others will take chances like you and get out there break molds and find satisfaction. Cheerio!