Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Lies People Tell

It seems to me that people tell lies in order to make someone else feel better about themself.

"No honey those jeans do not make you look fat"

"It's ok, it happens to everyone"

"Nothing's wrong"

"Sorry I missed your call"

"This tastes delicious"

Why do we tell those lies? Is it ok to lie sometimes? I think so. It's called being polite.

As you've read (HERE and HERE) Saturday night I attended the Departures VIP Gala. During the Q&A the guys were asked if they still love doing the show as much as they did in season one. Their answer caught me off guard a little bit. They said "no". They said it gets harder to do the show as time goes on.

It becomes more like work.

"How do you make the Gobi Desert look different from the Sahara?" It's true. Countries in the same geographic area are likely very similar, and it might be hard to make them seem like different places.

But they are travelling the world and calling it "work"... how can they not love it?

Have you ever heard someone say "Find something you love to do, get paid for it, and you'll never work a day in your life." It's a lie. (Sorry to be Debbie Downer.)

It might start out great, but over time it's a challenge to not let the "business" overtake the pleasure. At some point you start to focus on the budget, on making it more appealing for the majority of people, you start to feel like you have to do it, instead of wanting to do it.

Depending on what you're doing it could start out great, but the time comes where it's no longer like it once was. That time may be different depending on what you're doing, but it always comes. I think once money is involved, you can't stop it.

I read a book recently that reiterated that point. The author has a friend who is a famous photographer. This famous photographer doesn't make much money shooting indie, artsy photos. He makes his money shooting standard photos for magazines and catalogues. Actors take big budget roles to pay the bills, and then take on some more fun and challenging roles in indie films that very few people will go see.

So what's the solution? I think you have to find a job that allows you to do the things you love to do outside of work. You work your 9-5, which pays the bills, then you go do what you love.

Am I wrong? Anyone have a job they absolutely love 100% of the time? A job that never feels like work?


  1. I disagree.

    Not with everything - your solution sounds good (finding a job that lets you do the things you love to do.) And the quote about never working a day if you do what you love sounds optimistic - optimistic that is, if we don't want to work.

    But, for myself, if my job didn't sometimes feel like work, I would probably like it less...

    The part of your post I disagree with has nothing to do with work, really, but the idea that you can love something once and then less later - that (as you put it) "it could start out great, but the time comes where it's no longer like it once was"... that this time "always comes" and that this is especially inevitable when money is involved.

    I think that part is more a matter of perspective ( a matter of losing perspective ). I think the idea that love and work must be separate is false - that when people think their love is gone because they have to work at it, that they are missing the whole point of everything. When there is love, you want to work at it - even when it seems like the most natural thing in the world and the easiest, and even when it doesn't. There is a challenge - to find new ways to express it and progress it - but it's a good challenge, and potentially the most exhilarating of all. You want to work to work it out, as is said.

    ... but a job cannot love a person back, and money, like bread on it's own, is ultimately unsatisfying. So your solution is good: find a job that meets the needs, and do what you love outside work - more importantly, know what it is that you do love.

    ...I just had to disagree with the idea that any kind of love would necessarily fade, or that love wouldn't involve work, or that if anything feels like work sometimes that somehow you'd necessarily like it less - that's actually a good opportunity to show that you value it. That's my perspective.

  2. Within a day of my last comment, I randomly heard someone say something very much like one of the things in your article. I was traveling, and in the seats on the plane behind me, one person advised the other that if they do the thing they love to do for their job, that it won't be long before they no longer enjoy it so much.

    I thought it was remarkable to hear the same idea expressed in such short time - who knows, maybe the random person behind me reads your blog! =) (I didn't ask, but it sounded like they were actually speaking reflectively on their own experience.)

    I still don't believe it's true (not necessarily, anyway), but I'd rather be conversational than disagreeable (my earlier comment starting with "I disagree" notwithstanding!)

    Maybe it's more of a matter that we (people) don't always know why we enjoy the things that we do. If we enjoy an activity because it is an escape from the routine, then it's not likely to be enjoyed as much as a job, when the key element that made it enjoyable is gone.

    If we enjoy solving new and interesting problems that challenge our thinking, we might lose interest in solving the same problems over and over again when the challenge and newness is gone. If we enjoy something because of freedom and creativity, it might not be the same when it has to be done to someone else's schedule or specifications.

    I have thought about how sometimes people do, or don't, change over time. If you knew someone whose distinguishing attributes were noted by change - always wearing the latest fashion, having different hairstyles, and listening to the latest music, or using the latest technological gizmos, and speaking about the latest anything... - if you met them years later and they seemed just the same as they had the last time you saw them, even still talking about the same things... you wouldn't be able to say "you haven't changed a bit" ... because the lack of change would be the most dramatic change of all.

    Similarly, in many of the activities we enjoy, it's something deeper than the activity itself that makes it fun or meaningful or even distinctively itself. I believe if we can capture the heart of that deeper element and sustain that, then these things can always be enjoyable, especially when we know what it is we're actually enjoying.

    I believe attitude and choice can play a huge role, too. My job between 1st and 2nd year University was at Tim Hortons. A lot of people complain about jobs like that. I had looked for a job more related to my field and interest and training, but nothing was coming up, so I chose to work at Timmies in the interim. When I made the choice, I told myself I couldn't ever complain about it either, because I had chosen this as what I wanted to do. As it turned out, I had a great time and I enjoyed it quite a lot.

    Maybe it isn't so much a matter of finding what you love to do as it is finding something *in* what you do - whatever it may be, and nourishing that.


    In other matters, with regard to the opening thought about lying and being polite. I ... try to keep myself stubbornly idealistic. I believe it's important to be polite, but I also believe we're responsible for the truth of what we say - that it is better not to lie, while still being gracious. If you say "this tastes delicious" someone will provide that meal again, expecting and hoping to see you happy with it... if your words weren't true, you've also taken away the value from when you say it and do mean it. I haven't got a perfect answer for all cases in your examples, but I do know that when something is true - when anything is truly true, it is important to be able to say it and to have it mean something real. I wouldn't want to lose that.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post; it's a pretty interesting discussion.