Last week, I was at a concert put on by a number of community choirs for charity. Great music, great performances, and for a good cause.
As we left the concert, we were talking about how wonderful it was to spend an afternoon with people who were truly passionate about and committed to what they do. There is this awesome energy of creation, of togetherness, of being that is totally alien in most workplaces.
One of my friends said: “it is great to see people giving up their time [to do what they love]”… We knew exactly what she meant of course. But on closer inspection, there were a lot of underlying societal assumptions and beliefs behind this comment that is worth drawing out here.
Why is it what when we do what we love (usually in the guise of a hobby), or something positive on a larger scale (community/charity); we think of it as “giving up” our time? While working long hours at a job we hate is somehow more valid?
Why is doing something out of love, that uplifts us, that taps into our passions, our creative natures, that completes us; is seen as “giving up” our time?
There is this insidious belief that our time is more profitably invested in activities, based on the fear of lack that diminishes our souls. Have we become so fearful of our “lack” of money and possessions that making even more money is the only valid way to spend our time on this planet?
Some of these beliefs are listed below. How many of these do you subscribe to?
- Hobbies don’t make money.
- Big business is respectable – small businesses are nothing more than hobbies.
- Charity and community work is for bored housewives who are supported by rich husbands.
- Businesses get involved in charity work only after they have made lots of money, and then only if they get something of value back from the charity.
- If you do what you love as work, you will hate it.
- You can’t spend most of your life do what you love; that is too idealistic and irresponsible.
- Work is passionless toil.
- You are supposed to hate your work.
- Passion and love have no place in business – business is impersonal, cold and heartless.
As far as we can definitively observe, we only live one lifetime. And it is a short one at that. We live in one of the wealthiest societies in the world. Why is it that so many of us still feel that we have no choice?
Something to think about over the end-of-year holidays…