Friday Picks

Published by Lori Pickert on February 11, 2014 at 03:45 PM

If you read my post about job crafting on Tuesday, you may remember that the Harvard business school class of ’63 had a lot of advice about choosing work that aligns with your passions.

This week I read 30 Lessons for Living (a book of wisdom gathered from 1,000 “life experts” over the age of 65) and found similar advice:

“You know those nightmares where you are shouting a warning but no sound comes out? Well, that’s the intensity with which the experts wanted to tell younger people that spending years in a job you dislike is a recipe for regret and a tragic mistake. There was no issue about which the experts were more adamant and forceful. Over and over they prefaced their comments with, ‘If there’s one thing I want your readers to know it’s…’ From the vantage point of looking back over long experience, wasting around two thousand hours of irretrievable lifetime each year is pure idiocy.”

“After listening to a thousand of America’s elders give advice about fulfillment at work, nothing makes me cringe more than when I hear a young person describe his or her primary goal in life as ‘making a lot of money.’ … The experts have a real problem with this scenario. The view from the end of the life span is straightforward: time well and enjoyably spent trumps money anytime.”

“[Psychologists] use the word ‘eudaimonia’ (from the Greek) to describe happiness derived from activities that are rewarding in and of themselves. This is contrasted with ‘hedonia’ — as in hedonism. People with hedonic motivations look at work primarily as a way to acquire material possessions. In contrast, eudaimonic individuals who are motivated by goals that emphasize personal growth, contributing to the community, and meaningful relationships are typically much happier at work.”

What is the biggest regret people have at the end of life?

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” — Live without regrets — What are the top five career regrets?

Over and over again I hear adults making dour statements about how kids need to learn to buckle down and do hard and unpleasant things so they can prepare themselves for life and work in the future. What a depressing message: get used to dull, meaningless tasks because your life will be full of them.

If you don’t know that kids will work hard at something they really care about, then please give yourself and your kids the opportunity to discover that it’s true. Help them dig deeply into something they care about. Help them discover meaningful work now so they can keep finding it for the rest of their lives. They need to know what’s possible — and they need to know how to make it happen for themselves.

“Ask people what they want in a job, and meaningfulness looms large. For decades, Americans have ranked purpose as their top priority — above promotions, income, job security, and hours.” — The #1 Feature of a Meaningless Job

Does your child have the opportunity to work on self-directed projects that are meaningful, purposeful, and have a real impact on other people?

• • •

I shared this on Facebook:

A learner is entirely different from someone who is the subject of disciplinary action. They are someone who wants to learn. And the most powerful teachers for our children are [their] parents.

If I’m to set myself up as my child’s teacher, I must first have learned how to be self-disciplined. I must have addressed, and continue to address, my own emotional immaturity. I do this by becoming an authentic person, true to myself. In this way, my child learns from me to also be true to themselves — true to their heart’s deepest desires.

This is fundamentally different from hyper-focusing on our children’s behavior and constantly ‘disciplining’ — controlling — them to get them to conform to our wishes.” — Why Everything We Know About Discipline Is Wrong

How do we raise kids who are self-disciplined? First, by modeling. Then, by mentoring.

• • •

Another share from Facebook — I love this and I absolutely find it to be true in my own life:

“Your sense of time is actually answered by a simple question: how much are you learning?

“Monotony collapses time. Novelty unfolds it.”

[T]here’s the old adage about cherishing time, ‘The days are long, but the years are short,’ but, actually, it seems when you do things right, it’s the opposite: ‘the days are short, but the years are long’.” — How to Slow Down Time

Anecdotally among my friends on Twitter, it seems that when you are immersed in work that really engages you, time flies. And if you make the most of the time you have, you can find at least 10 minutes a day to work on what you care about — and in a year, it really adds up.

• • •

Over at Brain Child Magazine, they asked Should You Let Your Child Quit? I wrote a long comment in response:

“There are a few misconceptions here:

        - You have to do something you don’t want to do to learn how to work hard.

        - You have to do something you don’t want to do to do difficult things.

        - You have to do something you don’t want to do to learn how to persevere.

All of these are false.

It’s when you work on something you really care about — something that genuinely interests you, a goal that you really want to achieve — that you work your hardest. You learn what you are capable of. And children doing this work are most likely to work at their challenge point — the front edge of their abilities.” — read the rest here

You also might want to check out my checklist for good quitting in Perseverance and Grit vs. Knowing When to Quit.



“If we could be as efficient in supporting a child’s eagerness to learn as we have been in stifling this eagerness, this would revolutionize life as we know it.” — William Coperthwaite, A Handmade Life


Comment by chelle on February 14, 2014 at 11:26 AM

See I get it then my brain kinda spurts because well there are a lot of aspects of my job (staying at home with the kids, homemaker, life manager) that I have to do, not because I love that aspect but because I love the whole experience. There are going to be parts of the whole that children, adults will have to endure to live out their dream, so I think perseverance and doing something really well even if it isn't your passion has some merit. I hope that makes sense.

Comment by Lori Pickert on February 14, 2014 at 07:22 PM


There are going to be parts of the whole that children, adults will have to endure to live out their dream, so I think perseverance and doing something really well even if it isn't your passion has some merit.

there WILL be parts of the whole that are hard work, difficult, challenging, boring, etc.

the question is, where do children learn to tackle those difficult tasks? in the context of doing meaningful work that they care deeply about accomplishing? or in the context of work that is meaningless and has no personal relevance? in my own life, it’s definitely been the former.

Comment by treen on February 18, 2014 at 09:30 AM

This post and the last are reminding me of a conversation I had shortly after I graduated from college. I had a job in my chosen field but it was a sort of seasonal thing and I needed to find something else in the interim. I wanted the interim job to also be in my field. While I was looking for job 2, the guy I was dating at the time was rather derisive about my job search. Why didn't I just get any job? So-and-so had a degree in accounting but was working at an eye doctor - nothing wrong with that. No, but I hadn't just spent a lot of time and a lot of money getting a degree just to do nothing with it. I didn't want a job just to have a job. I was trying to build a career and even with having multiple individual jobs, I wanted them to be related and build on each other. (Needless to say, this relationship ended soon after.)

Comment by Lori Pickert on February 18, 2014 at 09:43 AM


i read an article recently that talked about how people either see their work as a job, a career, or a calling — and people with callings are more likely to raise children with callings. it was all very interesting to me, although i took it with a grain of salt — i am a calling person but was definitely not raised by the same!

i think all people hanker after meaning and purpose — and having work experiences that connect with your learning experiences and what you care about just makes sense to me. but there are those who just see a paycheck and that’s it. interesting.

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