Working For The Man or Mankind
I heard it again. I used to hear it all the time growing up around Detroit. The phrase drives me crazy. “Working for the Man”. I heard it almost every day in the blue collar world of my past. It’s often said with a sad sense of resignation or frustration. This is why it drives me crazy. It reeks of apathy and lack of control. Every time I hear it I want to grab the guy by the shoulders and shake him out of his stupor. “You are not a victim! You are in control of your destiny!”
Are we just putting in our time? Are we ploddingly working for the Man? If we are, we are wasting our life and no one to blame but ourselves. We are the captain of our souls. We decide our future. This is not a cry for the masses to leave the oppression of working for the Man. I’m asking us to understand that whatever we do for a living can be noble. We are in control.
While this attitude of self direction is important to your employer (because you’ll be significantly more productive), you gain through a greater sense of satisfaction with your job. You will be more fulfilled. Being happy or fulfilled seemed like a alternate universe to the one I grew up in. My blue collar world was a gray, grinding endure to the death universe. Martin Seligman had not yet begun the Positive Psychology movement. We didn’t understand what makes the happy outliers happy. Now we do. Now we can use our self direction to step into this alternative universe of personal happiness and fulfillment.
Happiness Here I Come!
In this Happy Universe, our goals are intrinsic. We don’t chase extrinsic motivators like status symbols or more money. We reach inward to build three elements in our lives: Personal Growth, Relationships with Others, and Connection to Something Big.
Personal growth is easier than ever in this open source world. The world’s top universities and best professors are giving away top tier education through sites like Coursera. Youtube has recordings college courses for anything you might want to learn. Podcasts by the millions are available for our edification. Everyone in America can work on their personal growth. even if you want to just build your vocabulary, websites like FreeRice.com are at our fingertips.
Relationships with others… Happiness is also built on our being connected in meaningful ways to others. Fix your family feuds. Build your relationship with your spouse. Deepen your relationship with your neighbors and coworkers.
Connecting to something big is the third major element of happiness. Helping the world. Stepping outside ourselves. Being the Good Samaritan. Fit some time in your schedule to do something meaningful for someone else.
Those three elements are each important… but combining them is even more powerful. FreeRice.com combines fighting global hunger with personal growth. While you build your vocabulary, you are feeding the hungry. They give people happiness.
Here’s a challenge for you and I. Let’s build a personal mission like FreeRice.com. Help others build their personal growth. Help others deepen their relationships. Help others connect to something big. Let’s help others work for Mankind, not for The Man.