Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Creating a New Way to Live

One of my friends-- and fellow HSPs-- once coined the phrase "Creative Slacker." I have adopted that term as a description of myself, because it seems extremely appropriate.

In her book "Making Work Work for the Highly Sensitive Person," HSP author Barrie Jaeger suggests that HSPs most often find the way to their true calling in life through some form of self-employment.

As part of my own ongoing life changes, I continue to explore ways that allow me to stay true to myself and what I believe in, without needing to "sell out," in the service of financial needs or "societal peer pressure."

I realize that I have never had much ambition or desire to strive for "success" in the sense greater society defines it. For many years, I pursued a carreer in sales, marketing and advertising-related fields, because I operated under the impression that I "should" do something like that, to "get ahead" in life. All the while, I felt like a horrible misfit in my surroundings. From speaking to many HSPs about their work, I get the sense that we HSPs often wrestle with the issue of "finding meaning" at work. And meaning is not the same thing as money.

The challenge for me, these days, is laying out a path that allows me to earn a basic living from things that really matter to me:
  • Writing
  • Helping people feel better about themselves
  • Being in nature, often with a camera
  • Collecting stamps
  • Walking on the beach

I think a lot of people go about the process of deciding on their work "backwards." They start at "will this make money" and then ask the question "do I like it?"

I once came across an exercise in a book, which asked readers to make a list of everything, ever, that made them feel pure joy, happiness and contentment. It could be sleeping, it could be petting a kitten, it could be winning at cribbage. The purpose was not to discover a career, but to discover "patterns" in what creates happiness. And from that pattern, we can discover ways of earning an income.

It's all a matter of creativity.

If all you feel you are good at is SLEEPING, you can always look for a job as a mattress tester, or working in a dream research lab.

It's all a matter of creativity.

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