How Would You Really Enjoy Spending Your Life?

Excerpt from Do You Do It, or Does It Do You? by Alan Watts:

What do you desire?

What makes you itch?

What sort of a situation would you like?

I do this often in vocational guidance of students… They come to me and say, "We’re getting out of college and we haven’t the faintest idea what we want to do.”  So I always ask the question, “What would you like to do if money were no object?”

How would you really enjoy spending your life?

Well, it’s so amazing as a result of our kind of eduational system crowds of students say well, we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers, but as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way.  Or another person says I’d like to live an out of doors life and ride horses.

When we finally got down to something, which the individual says he really wants to do I will say to him, “You do that. And forget the money.  Because, if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time.  You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing!  Which is stupid!”

Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.

And after all, if you do really like what it is you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually become a master of it.  And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is.  So don’t worry too much.  Somebody is interested in everything.  And anything you can be interested in you can find others interested in.

But it is absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like in order to go on spending your time doing things that you don’t like and to teach your children to follow in the same track!  See what we are doing, is we’re bring up children, educating them, to live the same sort of lives we are living.  In order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children, to bring up their children to do the same thing!

Therefore it is so important to consider this question, “What do I desire?”


See also: Sing and Dance While the Music Plays