Self-help gurus would like you to believe that you have a purpose—and that purpose is work.
THANK YOU. As one of the case studies in Born For This (now I’m gonna have to go read my bit again) and staring down my 62nd birthday😳 I can honestly say I have no freaking clue what I was born for. The desires change constantly. And as I work my way out of the endless hustle, I can honestly say that it’s a relieve to be done thinking I was born for THAT.
I gave up on this narrative when I tried pursuing work that I thought I was born to do. Now I’m coasting until I can retire. Hopefully. I find it exhausting to believe there is that one thing I must do, and commit to it completely, or else.
"I imagine a future of work where I'm not doing the work I was made to do but instead doing the work that I choose to do. And what I choose is based on the needs of my community, the skills I have, and the wide open spaces that emerge when each of us is committed to our neighbors near and far."
Isn't this the promise of entrepreneurship though? I've built several businesses based on the overlap in the Venn diagram of my skillset, my interests, and what people need—that seems to be basic business sense. And while I'm sure not every business owner feels the same, it's certainly possible to feel like that overlap allows for a meaningful way to spend time on this earth while earning money to meet your basic needs.
BTW, as a speculative fiction writer, I absolutely love how you thoughtfully weave in these various authors' work into these discussions. That's the power of spec fic, to hold a mirror to our society and give ideas for how to live better, or offer warning signs about where we may be headed. Thanks!
This just came up in my Readwise snippets today, too on-the-nose not to share!
From Billion Dollar Loser (on WeWork’s rise and fall) by Reeves Wiedeman:
“In my book, there’s no reason why children in elementary schools can’t be launching their own businesses,” [Adam Neumann’s wife] Rebekah said. “Children are ready to start creating their life’s work when they’re five.” It was only a matter of time before the first WeGrow-educated entrepreneurs would need their own WeWork office.