The "right thing" for creative fulfillment is a false choice

posted by Jeff | Sunday, August 22, 2021, 9:34 PM | comments: 0

Adam Savage, of Mythbusters fame, recently talked about how his hobby as work exercised the creative muscles that satisfied him personally and in his career. That led to something of an epiphany for me.

I have long admired the folks that work in theater or film, for the satisfaction that they have that their work has led to deeply satisfying results for the people that they serve. We were watching the latest episode of Ted Lasso this weekend, for example, and I though, what a gift to be a part of something like that. It's why I buy video equipment and hate myself for not writing something that would result in filmmaking.

But I'm starting to realize that the absence of my participation in such endeavors does not mean that I'm failing. I'm coming off of a particularly difficult week at work, where some things went down that were less than ideal. But the thing that I overlook in this case is that I'm still part of a larger team that enables some pretty amazing results in a growing business that benefits millions of people. It's not the same as being a part of an Emmy-nominated TV show, but that doesn't mean that it isn't important.

The reality is that the thing that I do get to do doesn't mean that I have somehow failed for not being able to do the thing that I recreationally dream about doing. This is the false choice often forced by the "pursuit of happiness" that we're supposed to chase. I could still do the thing that I believe will give me a higher level of satisfaction in life, but it doesn't mean that the thing I'm already doing isn't already pretty awesome.

There is definitely a separate issue of where things rank when the years have gone by and you're taking inventory. For me, some jobs were more meaningful than others, and certainly some things even from my spare time will mean more than others. I'm still not sure anything other than parenting itself will outrank coaching for me. But as far as our contentment goes in daily life, there is certainly a continuum, and I'm starting to see that the status quo is already pretty good even if it isn't the thing you might dream of. It's not a compromise to believe that, it's just the truth.


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