Making a living

One of the biggest fears about following our hearts is that one may not make enough money to live on.  Ask yourself three questions- “Do people appreciate my creativity?”  “Have I got awards or recognition for my work?”  “Can I make money following my heart?” Yes is probably the answer to first of those two questions but as for the third one, it is comes back to fear- so the answer maybe or even no, but not a resound ‘yes’.

Tao Te Ching says-

“If you have prestige and favour,

all you worry about is that it will get taken away.

And if you have a lowly place,

you are still basically afraid.

So both, at the root, make for fear.”

So regardless of whether we are successful or not, fear rules us.  I looked at various inspirations and words of wisdom about how we can survive in this highly competitive world, living and giving with our gifts.  These are three ingredients that I have come up with that are essential to making a living while following our heart-

1. Be soft– “Learn to yield and be soft, if you want to survive” (Lao Tzu)- this means being flexible and not rigid with in our goals or expectations.  It is about having gratitude for what is right now rather than looking for happiness in the future when your goals may/ may not materialise. Jack Canfield talks about our inner GPS that takes us where we want.  So we can have our goals firmly in our hearts but let go of the ways and means of how we achieve this in the same way that the river flows to the sea, taking the route of least resistance.

2. DiversifyTE Lawrence’s view was that men always seek the best means of survival the ecological and political conditions can provide.  This means not being just flexible but also being a ‘generalist’ and not a specialist as is commonly said.  ”..in changing environment it was those who were the least specialised who had the greatest chance of success” said Michael Asher, writer and adventurer, about the Arabs of the desert.  This principle applies even if we don’t live in the desert- it is about diversifying our portfolio as Charles Handy has often described in the times of scarcity.  I have heard actors moan about lack of work, artists complain about lack of success- and all their time goes in complaining.  But if we look at many great and famous people, we learn that they did what they could when times were hard, but never letting go of their dreams.  Did you know that Harrison Ford worked as a carpenter, Bryan Ferry was a teacher and George Clooney did odd jobs such as selling men’s suits and cutting tobacco before they become famous?

3. Have ‘good friends’- Nichiren says that one must treat one’s work as it were our spiritual practice.  By having this attitude, our place of work can become a place for spiritual development and our colleagues can become our ‘good friends’ who help us reach our potential.  These friends can do either negative or positive things but we need to view them as good friends- no matter what they do, our gratitude does not change.  I have had times when I have been let down by others and treated badly by colleagues.  I could spend my time complaining or slandering them.  Instead I ask, ‘What can I learn from this situation?”  And all the times, it has driven me to greater perfection and greater benefits.

 So let go of your fears and follow your heart!

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