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Zen and the Art of Making a Living

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Zen and the Art of Making a Living

A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

If your job is less than inspiring, look within yourself to learn how to make a change.

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The scene is repeated at 7 a.m. every morning. Millions of people roll over and hit the buttons on their alarm clocks, dreading the fact that they will soon be heading off to jobs they consider drudgery, mere vehicles for paying their bills. The lucky ones will only dislike their jobs a little bit. If they're really fortunate, they'll find work tolerable, even though it falls short of satisfying their yearnings. A handful of blessed individuals will actually feel happy as they walk into their jobs, knowing they're heading for work that brings them fulfillment. But once you've committed 40 hours a week to something, shouldn't it give you joy? In this comprehensive, revealing - though excessively long - tome, Laurence G. Boldt proposes that everyone has the power to choose a satisfying career. By taking a spiritual approach (that's the Zen message) and embarking upon real self-examination, you can discover your true interests and free yourself to pursue your passion. Boldt offers concrete suggestions for success, such as how to write a convincing resume, weigh the pros and cons of entrepreneurship, and conduct a successful interview. He provides pages of exercises, resources and questionnaires. Plenty of books provide such tips, but this may be the only one that dishes them up along with ancient Chinese proverbs and Japanese calligraphy. So getAbstract suggests that if you're just starting out or stuck in an unsatisfying job, find a comfortable chair, light a stick of incense and take a journey within yourself. You may be surprised at what you find - your life's work.


Zen Self-Examination

Even though you might think the ancient Asian philosophy of Zen would be irrelevant in the modern Western world of, Blackberries and text messaging, Zen is applicable to every aspect of your life. It can infuse spirituality into your day-to-day existence. If you are searching for meaning in your work and trying to figure out how your daily endeavors fit into your view of the universe, you will find Zen particularly helpful. If you're open to it, Zen can show you that everything is connected and that the ordinary can become the exceptional. Zen calls for waking up and becoming aware of the world around you.

If your sole reason for working is to pick up your paycheck on Friday, you are being deprived of the fundamental elements of professional fulfillment. To get anywhere, Zen teaches, you must first travel within yourself. "Individuation, the way to live as king of your own life, is the way of asking questions." So, take the Zen approach and examine yourself by asking deeper questions: How does your work affect your soul? Are you true to yourself? Are you contributing to society? Are you making the world better? Are you helping others...

About the Author

Laurence G. Boldt is a career consultant in the San Francisco area. He is the author of How to Find the Work You Love and Zen Soup. He has been featured in national publications and has given speeches and conducted workshops across the U.S.

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