Exploration: The Interesting Roots and Psychology Behind the KINDS of Work We Choose

I have long been interested in exploring the psychological roots of what we ”do;” of these things we call our ”work.”


Why do we do what we do? Why do we do the specific things that we do? What actually lies at the root of the choices we make in terms of what we do? What are our core motivations and interests?

I meditate on a regular basis, and it's always interesting to watch the ideas that flow by as I go into a meditative state. Most of the time, my meditations are related to my creative work — specifically, to my painted stones — but that doesn't mean that the initial quieting of the mind that I experience is related to the actual work I'm about to undertake.

One of the thoughts that came to me yesterday was this idea that most of what I have ever ”done” — or tried to do — and did somewhat well has revolved around the root principle of turning ”nothing” into ”something.”


Of course, that probably doesn't make much sense on the surface, so let us explore it on a deeper level.

Even when I was a little kid, my favorite things to do included stuff like walking in the woods and picking bunches of flowers or mushrooms and selling them to people in our neighborhood.

Later on, I spent a lot of time ”finding things”, in the sense that I would cruise junk shops and buy stamp collections and other items that seemed to have no value on the surface and consequently had been abandoned… and then I would apply some degree of determination to them, after which what previously appeared to be nothing would turn into something.


Much later in life, I actually spent several years making most of my living from being a beachcomber who walked on our local beaches and picked up random interesting objects I found, and sold them to artists and craftspeople all around the world who worked with ”found objects.”

Again, seemingly turning ”nothing” into ”something.”

During a better (financial) era of my life — when I actually had money to invest — I mostly made mine by tracking down obscure and overlooked companies that seemed to have a good and solid idea, yet had somehow slipped through the cracks. Very often, it was only a matter of time before they would suddenly be discovered, and my ”nothing” (penny stocks) what suddenly turn into ”something” (exchange listed stocks worth several dollars).


And now we have words. Words, much like abandoned junk or things you find on the beach or mushrooms in the woods, have pretty much no value unless you can find a way to turn them into "something."

Several billion Facebook users spew trillions of words every year and get compensated not a single solitary cent for them... which should be fairly solid testament as to the general perception of what words are: Nothing.

But somehow, if I play my cards right, it feels like I can turn them into something. Something that has a value greater than nothing.


Meanwhile, I think about the many things that have never worked for me.

I was never much good at interacting with people, regardless of whether I needed it to be inspiring, charming or persuasive... Never mind which one of these I turned my attention to, I was mediocre at best, and would get exhausted by the process very quickly. As such, I was pretty useless at it.

On some level I was quite good at making things, but discovered that I was much too meticulous and slow in a world all about speed and output. So whereas I was a pretty good "maker," I wasn't really a useful maker in the eyes of the world, and thus not very successful at it.

And I was definitely horrible at what me might call "performing" or "entertaining!" Same with "teaching," in one form or another. I'd much rather just write a "how to" book and let the book do the teaching!


I think it is important that we all find and pursue the types of work that fit into our natural "inclination" in life.

For me, it has become quite clear that it lies in being able to recognize the kinds of "nothing" that can be re-imagined in such a way that they become a "something" that takes on value.

I should add, that I have also never been very good at taking things that were already valuable and selling them at a profit. I'm terrified of laying out a bunch of money and risking that I'd get stuck with a substantial investment I can't get out of!

But don't take all this too seriously! It's just intended as a fun exploration and thinking exercise!

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great remainder of your week!

How about YOU? Do things you were drawn to doing as a kid point to what you enjoy as an adult? Do the jobs you have held and been good at suggest a particular way you enjoy interacting with your world or environment? Do you feel like the work you do/did reflects your essential self? Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment — share your experiences — be part of the conversation!


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Created at 20220104 23:38 PST



I love the soft lighting of these photos. Calm. Thanks for sharing.