Ist es verwerflich, den Fokus darauf zu richten, Dinge zu tun, die man liebt? Wird „die Arbeit“ dadurch entwürdigt? Diese Haltung vertritt die Autorin des polemischen Beitrags »In the Name of Love« im Online-Magazin Jacobin, Miya Tokumitsu. Sie wendet sich gegen „Do-what-you-love-Eliten“, zu denen sie Mark Zuckerberg oder den verstorbenen Apple-Chef Steve Jobs zählt. Deren „Legende“, jeder könne und solle tun, was er liebt, führe zu weiterer Diskriminierung jener, die ein schweres Schicksal haben und unangenehme Jobs verrichten müssen.
Aufmerksam gemacht hat mich auf den Aufsatz der Autor und Journalist Andreas Kluth, dessen Buch »Hannibal and Me« bereits in diesem Blog besprochen wurde. Andreas war Teilnehmer eines HuffPostLive-Talks mit weiteren Gästen, darunter Ökonomen, eine Unternehmerin und eine Berufsberaterin.
Ich habe mich einmal tiefer mit dem Gedanken von Miya befasst. Alles hängt mit allem zusammen. Dieser Satz ist ein Schlüsselsatz auf der Suche nach dem, was wirklich zählt. Und darum geht es nach meinem Verständnis auch bei dem DWYL-Ansatz. Mir war nachvollziehbar, dass vor einer oberflächlichen „Wünsch-dir-was-Mentalität“ gewarnt wird. In meinen Seminaren und Coachings geht es auch häufig um diesen scheinbaren Konflikt: Menschen, die sich mit den Big Five for Life beschäftigen, geraten früher oder später an diesen Punkt: sie fürchten, missverstanden zu werden, oder sind gar schon damit konfrontiert worden, dass man sie für naiv hält („du bist auch einer von diesen Träumern“) oder für rücksichtslos („ach, während du deinen Traum lebst, arbeiten wir dann für deine Rente“). Oder für beides.
Natürlich geht es beim Big Five for Life – Konzept nicht darum, sich selbst auf Kosten von anderen zu verwirklichen, oder die eigene Zukunft zu riskieren, nur weil man einer kurzlebigen Schnapsidee nachzulaufen glaubt.
Genau das habe ich Miya Tokumitsu geschrieben.
Gerade wenn man sich um viele Menschen sorgt, die man auf der Schattenseite des Lebens wähnt, ist es dann klug, vor einem Ansatz zu warnen, der zunächst nichts anderes tut, als dazu aufzurufen, Dinge zu tun, die man liebt.
Wenn ich einen solchen Ansatz jedoch in Frage stelle, wie es die Autorin in ihrer Polemik tut, sollte dann nicht zumindest hinterfragt werden, welche Qualität der Liebe denn überhaupt gemeint ist? Kein Wort davon. Statt dessen viel von Notwendigkeiten des Ernsts des Lebens, denen sich nur die „Eliten“ entziehen können. Ist das so?
Macht es nicht gerade Sinn, den Fokus auf das zu richten, was wirklich zählt im Leben? Also auf die Dinge, die einem am Herzen liegen? Die in einem tieferen Sinn für uns wichtig sind? Die wir lieben? Es könnte gerade deshalb Sinn machen, weil ein Bewusstsein für das, was wirklich zählt im Leben, überhaupt die Voraussetzung sein könnte, den Zugewinn an Einkommen, Kaufkraft oder Zeit sinnvoll zu nutzen, anstatt ihn sinn- und planlos zu verbraten.
Hier ist, was ich Miya Tokumitsu geschrieben habe:
thank you for your thought provoking article in the recent edition of JACOBIN.
I live in Germany and do not usually become aware of what you publish. A friend of mine pointed me to your article.
Whilst I appreciate the intent to create awareness of present day paradoxes and also to discuss social issues, I find the general tone of the article problematic.
If what you want to accomplish is what you state in the last sentence, i.e. the chance for many (as opposed for just a few privileged enough) to do what they love, why are you so critical of having „DWYL“ as a guiding principle?
It was striking for me to see no mention of the overriding question one would have to put before someone who has DWYL as his or her guideline: What is it that you love? And why do you love it?
Whilst it is a shame that so many people are poorly paid in horrible jobs, it is – to me – much more distressing that many of those would not even know what to do, even if they had the chance. This is to say, Millions are living dull lives in utter ignorance of what they really … love. If they have „dreams“ it is mostly what has been suggested from the society they live in. Few have an idea of what „success“ would be for them. On a deeper, personal level.
The consequences of this state of affairs are dramatic: suppose what you (and I) would love to see came about: better pay for „honest work“, a great many people would not know what to do with it. They would not be able to „invest“ this gain, most would just „consume“ it – and be just as miserable afterwards. The middle class in the US seems to be a case in point for this: economic growth leading to even more misery, as so many families feel under pressure to match their neighbor’s new house, new car, luxury holiday. Why? Because those who do not have it are not deemed „successful“.
If on the other hand you aim for „what you love“ – and this ALWAYS needs to be done by applying a control loop question of „why do I love this?“ and maybe another „and why is that?“ – you gradually develop a strong sense of „what really matters to you“. This serves as an antidote to any extrinsic pressure, such as „one’s gotta have this, and gotta do that, or else he/she is a failure“. Success – LOVE – for that matter is highly individual. DWYL therefore is not so much a mantra to deny anything from anybody. It is rather an appeal to your own personality to find out what really matters to you and aim for that.
True, your question of who would clean the shirts or sweep the yard is a valid one. The thing is: as you know that what you love is – at least slightly – different from what your neighbor loves, you’ll get an impression of how diverse the world is. This still does not make it likely for all the people in menial jobs to be lovin‘ them. Right.
Once you understand how precious your love is to you, you develop a feeling for other people’s needs. The interconnectedness of all is a principle which may seem too spiritual to you. It is however the very fabric behind the idea of solidarity. Respect and Compassion are essential traits for humane societies.
In my view, it is only if we stress the need to discovering and aiming for „what we love“ – for what success and fulfillment mean for ourselves – can we develop the consideration and respectfulness which you call for in having awareness for the needs and circumstances of those next to us.
John Strelecky has developed a concept for finding out what success is for oneself. The concept is called „The Big Five for Life“, and the Big Five for Life (an analogy to seeing the African Big Five as being the ultimate success for those who go on safari in Africa) are most probably what is behind the L ind DWYL.
I am a certified Big Five for Life coach, and as such I am aware of the fact that many people react in a way similar to your’s: Living your Big Five for Life is essentially an immoral thing to do, because it can trigger egocentric and egotistical behavior. After all, if it is my „right“ to live my Big Five for Life, nobody could take it away, deny this right.
Again, it is important in my view, for people to start listening to their heart (that’s where love lives, right?). We have been deaf on our hearts for far too long. We have been socialized by greed, by speed, and by power to such an extent that we have lost our capability to listen to the voice within. That’s what we need to rediscover. And rediscover we can not do without finding out and focussing on what we love. That is on most people’s mind when they aim for DWYL. I do believe it was on Steve Jobs’s mind also, when he started. Have you heard him speak about his love of calligraphy and design? That’s it. I am not idolizing Jobs or Apple when I suppose, none of their „success“ (and it is their definition of success, not mine) would have been possible without that discovery of Jobs.
But I agree when you say: this is not enough. The Big Five for Life/DWYL idea is much more complex to understand and embrace. It needs to be put in perspective of relationship.
The „I“ as in Individual is an important part. It is not the most important, though. It is what I call „easiest to access“. People can relate to their ego in a much easier way than to others. But in my view, it is necessary to relate to a few more levels in order to understand what it is that really matters:
Apart from the I – Level, there is the „IT„. To some, it is where we come from and where we go to. It is spiritual. But is also tangible for those of us who are agnostic or just not religious. The IT relates to the environment, to the social fabric. If I want to claim the right do what I love, I need to respect that other’s share the same right. As I would not want somebody to step on my feet (disrespect what I love), I am, of course obliged, morally and otherwise, to pay respect to others. To reconsider what what I love will mean to others. I am still free to choose, but I need to be able to assume RESPONSIBILITY. John Strelecky refers to this as the UNIVERSE.
Then there is another very important level – „WE„. That is the social aspect of life and love. Family, my colleagues, friends. They are on that level. And they are there, because I need them. Nobody can live (and love) on their own. We need help in achieving what we want. Even Steve Jobs needed somebody to clean his shirts and his bin, he needed Steve Wozniak and other programmers. No-one-can-do-it-alone! That is the WE. We are important to one another. Everyone aiming for success needs to understand that he or she needs a family, friends, colleagues or even fans to be successful!
The fourth level is that of „YOU“ – This is a level of communication, of interaction and fascination about what is possible. It is the level where you meet in awe (or just with curiosity) and see what other people do. What do YOU do? cool? so that is what YOU love. DWYL! We respect that other people love different things, some of which are cooler and fancier to us, others are just what they are. But so are the things we love to others. The YOU level is a level of appreciation, respect and communication.
Last, but not least, is the „THEY„-level. THEY are people who are there, not here. There is a distance between us. We feel better here. But THEY are important too. John Strelecky calls them Actors. The play a role in our play of live. They help us to realize that I am the director of that play. A play is something which is put on a stage for people to GET IT, to learn a lesson. Mostly, it is us who is the audience, the target group. A play is important, because we learn a lot from „realistic“ scenarios in front of our eyes. THEY are not evil, though. THEY play a role, that’s all. As WE, and I, also play roles in other plays, for other directors. It is important for DWYL, and being successful, to understand the THEY quality. It is not good/bad, black/white, shiny/bleak. Like Yin and Yan, each of us has the capacity (and sometimes the role) to act like someone on the THEY level to other people. Consequently, important capacities, such as foregiveness, letting go, detachment are all qualities associated to the THEY level.
In fact, John Strelecky, my mentor and coach, served as a THEY-person for me when he terminated our joint venture. It was hurtful at first, I was shocked. But it was necessary for me to go on and DO WHAT I LOVE.
Thank you for provoking these reflective thoughts in me about the interconnectedness of things!
Yours very cordially (Herzlichst, in German)