PDF The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do

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This means if we want true satisfaction, we have to rise above the pettiness of our own desires and do what is required of us. A calling comes when we embrace the pain, not avoid it. In fact, epiphany is an evolutionary process; it happens in stages. It may sound different to each person, but it comes to us all.

Mere words will not suffice—you must act. This is a time of wandering in the wilderness, when you feel alone and misunderstood.

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In spite of what we say, we don't want happiness. It's simply not enough to satisfy our deepest longings. We are looking for something more, something transcendent—a reason to be happy. As part of his life-saving therapy with suicidal patients and his own experience in a Nazi concentration camp, Frankl learned there are three things that give meaning to life: first, a project; second, a significant relationship; and third, a redemptive view of suffering.

He realized that if people, even in the bleakest of circumstances, have a job to do, something to return to tomorrow, then they have a reason to live another day. For Frankl, the book manuscript he had been working on before entering the camp and the hope of seeing his wife were what kept him alive. And in time, he was able to see the purpose in his pain. Because he had work to do, someone whom he believed was waiting for him, and a certain attitude toward suffering, he survived it when others did not.

Maxime Chambreuil » The Art of Work, A proven path to discovering wat you were meant to do

And his memoir, Man's Search for Meaning, became one of the most popular books of the twentieth century, affecting millions of lives. What we often don't realize is that making our story about us, even about our pain, is the wrong approach. Dwelling on the past or fixating on the future won't help you find fulfillment.

The way you beat a feeling of purposelessness, according to Frankl, isn't to focus on the problem. It's to find a better distraction. Which is a roundabout way of saying you have to stop trying to be happy. But doesn't everyone want to be happy? Maybe not. Life is too short to do what doesn't matter, to waste your time on things that don't amount to much. What we all want is to know our time on earth has meant something. We can distract ourselves with pleasure for only so long before beginning to wonder what the point is.

This means if we want true satisfaction, we have to rise above the pettiness of our own desires and do what is required of us. A calling comes when we embrace the pain, not avoid it. Tragedies, unfortunately, are inevitable. Bad things happen to good people, whether we want them to or not. What determines our destiny, though, is not how successful we are at dodging hardship but what we do when it comes.

Pain and suffering, though intimidating obstacles, are not strong enough to keep us from our purpose. In fact, they can sometimes be the very catalysts for such discoveries. That's the lesson Jody Noland learned from her friend Larry and what she almost forgot when her own husband was on his deathbed. Fear is a powerful deterrent, but it can also be an effective motivator. The fear of failure or rejection can be unhealthy and irrational, but fear of not telling your loved ones how much you care is important. So not all fear is bad. Some people, though, let fear run their lives. They avoid risk, hoping to minimize the chances of failure, and in effect move in the opposite direction of a calling.

The trick is to know when to listen to your fear and when to not. In , Mike Noland, Jody's husband, was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer. Jody started searching the Internet for what she could learn about his prognosis. Realizing he had little time left to live, she began to prepare for the inevitable. Mike, however, had other ideas. His way of coping was to deny the imminence of death. In Jody's words, he "hunkered down" and refused to acknowledge reality.

He didn't read about his condition, didn't ask the doctors any questions, and continued with life as usual—except, of course, for the regular chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Doing that meant he was accepting his certain death sentence. The day the agreement was executed, his mind began to fog. Listening to Jody relate the story over the phone years after the fact, I could still hear the pain in her voice. I could feel the urgency. She pleaded with Mike to write letters to his children, a gesture she had seen make a dramatic impact in Larry's family.

In fact, so moved by her friend's gesture, she had begun helping others do the same by teaching a letter-writing workshop that empowered people to share words of affirmation with their loved ones. She wanted her family to receive that same comfort she had provided for strangers. But her husband resisted. He didn't believe the cancer was that serious.


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And after weeks of trying to persuade him, even resorting to writing the letters for him, Jody finally gave up, deciding to comfort her husband with whatever time they had left. The cancer killed Mike quickly. Within three months of the diagnosis, he was gone, never having started a single letter. After the funeral, his daughter Nancy asked Jody if he had written any letters like the ones her stepmom had helped others write. Jody was devastated.

She felt like a failure.

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In spite of her encouragement and occasional nagging, none of it had worked. She knew the power of letter writing, the impact a few words of encouragement could make. But there were no letters for Nancy, no words of affirmation from her now deceased father, and there never would be. After Mike's death, Jody wondered whether or not she should continue the letter-writing workshops. Jody gave away the workbooks she had made, keeping only one as a keepsake, and she let the grieving begin.

A year later, a man called her, looking for a copy of the workbooks she used to have.


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  4. His wife's best friend was dying of breast cancer and wanted to write a letter to her two daughters. She was desperate but didn't know where to begin or what to say. Jody explained she wasn't doing the workshops anymore but sent the woman her one remaining workbook. Several weeks later, Jody received a thank-you note. Allow me to explain that.

    Does it have to be just one thing? Do I have to have just one passion? The answers to that is, no, no. If you want to see really the breadth of the cause or skill, you need to look at his body of work. You need to see what he did in his blue period, and when he got into [Qbiz ]. I mean you need to see the whole breadth of what to understand his skill. They will be doing a bunch of different things.

    If you want to stay competitive, you need to have a diverse portfolio that is not only the work you do, but the life that you live.

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    My challenge to you, and I saw this again and again and again in the lives of successful entrepreneurs, people who [inaudible ] work, and were doing really interesting things. Then he realized what I really want to do is I want to entertain, and so I want to create a park. Throughout his career there are all these little pit wits that allowed him to create this really meaningful master work or portfolio that certainly left a legacy.

    The challenge is to find a few skills, not a hundred, a few skills that you can master, and combine them. These things actually work together well in a way that makes me, like my speaking makes me a better writer, my writer makes me a better speaker. I suggest … I believe that you have the same portfolio available to you.

    Are you realizing it? Are you giving yourself permission doing more than just one thing without doing everything? Am I going to bring others along on the journey, or am I going to miss these moments. I remember coming home one day feeling pretty good about myself having in the day that my first book published feeling great. Then, all this back stuff happened like the book is out of stock; there were always problems with the publisher. I walk into the door, and I step into a house full of people. My wife had thrown me a surprise party.

    The art of work : a proven path to discovering what you were meant to do

    I realized this, that every story of success is really a story of community. Succeeding at the right things, and those right things depend on your values, your beliefs etcetera, but my caution to you the lesson that I learned through this process, and experience of go into myself, but also interviewing many, many people who had done the same, done so many more significant things is that, in order to truly succeed and lead a satisfied meaningful life, you have to include other people in the process.

    You need to realize that your life and your work are connected. You can find out more about it at artofworkbook.