Welcome to the YouTopian Journey. Each week I will be sharing unique wisdom as well as a more in-depth overview of the artwork that is featured on the Instagram @youtopianjourney. This week we discuss why you must begin your true work!
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THE TRUE WORK
“Often in actual life, and not infrequently in the myths and popular tales, we encounter the dull case of the call unanswered; for it is always possible to turn the ear to other interests. Refusal of the summons converts the adventure into its negative. Walled in boredom, hard work, or “culture,” the subject loses the power of significant affirmative action and becomes a victim to be saved.”- Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
The spark is lit.
You cannot afford to waste any more time.
You cannot afford to remain distracted.
Now is the time to answer the call and to define your path.
Perhaps you are dreaming about a creative project, something that brings meaning and joy to you. Or you have decided to break into a different industry, one that you find challenging and exciting. Perhaps you have even been fortunate to find a true mentor to help you with their knowledge and connections.
Now begins the true work!
Do not be afraid of this work. It isn’t busy work, or tedious work, or drudgery, but the true work of your being. Starting from an idea, beginning from nothing, can be daunting. But do not fear this obstacle. All that matters is that you take the very first step and that you begin as soon as possible.
Take the leap!
“Be content to progress in slow steps until you have legs to run and wings with which to fly.”-Padre Pio
Many have never experienced the concept of beautiful work. The concept may be frightening. The word itself, work, is a word that brings to mind a variety of emotions, none of them good. The small office. The demanding boss. The feeble coworkers who contribute nothing but take all the credit.
This isn’t the work I speak of. This is the work that the multitude have spent their lives doing. The career that they never wanted. The job that they hated. The tasks that bring no joy. Busy work from teachers that you learned nothing of value from. Tedious work that has resulted in nothing more than a paycheck. Work that was practical, but not meaningful. Work that sapped you of your energy and your spirit.
But the true work?
The true work is different.
It is driven by purpose and passion. It comes from within. It is the work that you truly enjoy, a refuge from the modern world. A place you can call your own with work that is truly unique to you. Although this may be difficult to understand, it never feels like work. It is a task that joyfully consumes your time and infects every part of your being, work that you were made for and that was made for you.
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”-Carl Jung
DO NOT BE FOOLED BY YOUR JOB
“I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's.”-William Blake
We have been raised to think of work is nothing more than a series of tasks to be completed within a set number of hours. As soon as the clock strikes a certain time, the work is finished for the day. Or in some cases, we are forced to stay late, continuing to partake in the drudgery. This is work that gives no reward. It provides no meaningful bliss within. We had no desire to do it, no stake in it, and received no joy from it. We were simply a tool within a larger machine, a slave to the system that was not our own.
The majority do not know otherwise. They treat all work with the same amount of disdain. Rather than attempt to create their own system or improve the system they belong to, they simply continue on. They have no grand plans and no purpose. Their only means of escape from this system of drudgery is a lottery ticket.
Most fail to realize that they are already sitting on a winning lottery ticket but out of fear or disregard, they refuse to cash it in. They ignore the power within and instead choose to give hope to the impossible. They choose not to be courageous, and instead, ignore the true work of the soul that could provide them a way out, a way to a better life of their choosing.
“Human life is truly a short affair. It is better to live doing the things that you like. It is foolish to live within this dream of a world seeing unpleasantness and doing only things that you do not like.”-Tsunetomo Yamamoto, Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
Mind-numbing, meaningless, and dreary work constricts the individual. It reduces the human being to a drone, a beast of burden. It robs us of hope, removing our power and places it in the hands of an overlord. The individual needs to have strenuous but meaningful and soul filling work that they can be responsible for, that they can oversee and ultimately benefit from. This make’s walking one’s own path more than an arduous journey, but a quest for a better life!
And what of your friends? Your circle of supporters?
You will find that they are of very little help in this matter. Consumed within the system, they yearn for vacations, brunches, and long weekends. Yet talk to them of an escape from this way of life and you will be met with blank stares and common responses such as:
“Don’t rock the boat.”
“You don’t have experience.”
“Be thankful for what you have.”
“But you worked so hard to have this position.”
And so on and so on.
Understand that life is short. Do not waste it building someone else’s empire. Do not waste your limited time and energy in expanding another’s endeavors. You have your own path and your own work to complete. You may not know what that is yet, but you will, for now you are awakened to the task at hand. You know it is possible. Come toward the light of yourself, illuminate the world with your true work!
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”-Plato
WHAT IS YOUR TELOS?
“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.”-Viktor Frankl , Man’s Search for Meaning
What is your true work?
That depends on the individual and on what Aristotle referred to as the telos.
Yes, thousands of years ago this topic was already being discussed.
But what is telos?
The telos is the ultimate aim or goal of your life.
It is the supreme end of the individual’s endeavor. It is driven by purpose.
Which begs the question:
What is your telos?
Perhaps it is writing the next great book, starting the next groundbreaking company, writing and giving a series of memorable speeches, painting a great portrait, raising your children to become the leaders that this society truly needs. The telos is different for everyone. I cannot tell you what your telos is or what you will make of it. But I can tell you that the pandemic has shown how fragile life is and how limited our time is.
You will know your telos when you find it. It is the feeling of waking up and rushing to the computer to write the next line in your novel. It is the fifteenth rewrite of a screenplay that no one believes in but you. It is the third start-up that you are raising money for, after the previous two have failed miserably. It is the job interview in a competitive and shrinking field that you keep showing up to, despite the countless denials. It is the small and minor role in a play or a film that you cannot possibly get, but you go after it anyways. It is the lyrics in your mind that needs to be played, even though you have no audience. It is the music that plays from your heart, even when no one else can hear it.
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”-Friedrich Nietzsche
You must begin now, while you still have the strength to do so! Stop thinking and begin the journey of telos!
Explore yourself. Find your interests. Seek out the power within that gives light to your existence. It has always been there. Greatness, purpose, telos, a combination that makes the true work come to life.
Once found, take action!
It is up to you.
“To make one good action succeed another, is the perfection of goodness.”-Ali ibn Abi Talib
IN OTHER NEWS
I had the pleasure of being a guest on the Code Warriors Podcast, where we discussed entrepreneurship and some lessons that can help benefit you, regardless of what your business is.
You can watch it here.
If you have podcast and want to chat, feel free to drop me a line.
ONE LAST THING
If you are enjoying this newsletter, please share it with a friend that needs to see it. Not only could it help them, but they will gain access to exclusive artwork and become part of the growing YouTopian Journey community.
There is a lot of cool stuff on the horizon. If you want to be involved and help the community grow, drop me a comment.
I’m Shaun Gold and if you are reading this, you are already on your journey. Catch you next week.