Monday, December 27, 2004

Make a life

This blog is inspired by my memories of a remarkable book by Mark Albion's book, "Making A Life, Making A Living".

I read it when it was first published in 2000 and it went on to become an bestseller on the New York Times bestseller's list. I remember it well because the year 2000 marks a major turning point of my life as well.

To the chinese, the words, "making a living" is very much well understood as it is a common saying in chinese culture. The cantonese equivalent is "wan sek" ie. a pursuit of money in order to fill one's stomach.

I felt that the main premise of the book is that one can make a life even when one is making a living. Albion simply says that it possible for you to make a life and make a living; that you can find your work to be both fun and financially rewarding. Work should be both purposeful and profitable. Our lives can be about serving others and, in so doing, serving ourselves. What the book then does is, through the stories of 12 business people, show you how people have been able to integrate making a life and making a living through the joys and challenges of life. They have all done basically two things in order to make a life and make a living.

They have established one set of values that they live by in their work, with their family, in their communities and in their personal and spiritual life. And they've demonstrated in making a life and making a living, the key is to follow the love of your life. If you do what you love and do it with people you love and who love you, you'll find that your dreams end up being bigger dreams than you imagined.

Albion seems to talk about achieving a balance between the two apparently diverse interests competing for your attention. He talks about "Reclaiming Your Purpose and Passion in Business and in Life." By using various stories of real people, Albion illustrates how we all can achieve that perfect balance of the personal and the professional, and accomplish "meaningful work."

On looking back at my life-changing experiences over the past few years, I would like to offer a slight difference of opinion with Albion in that I believe that one need not walk a tightrope of life and carefully seeking a balance where most often times it is a precarious balance.

The thing to do is simply to "Stop Making a Living and Start Making A Life". When one starts to make a life then it is wholistic and comprehensive enough to include and incorporate the making a living part. Life is much bigger and it necessarily encompasses the other.Making a living is merely an aspect of making a life.

How then does one start on the journey of "Making A Life"?


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