Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
The narrator was Alan Watts himself. I think you're misinterpreting the advice; it's not to ignore making a living. Instead, he's saying pick a field you love, and learn to make a living in it, and you'll be happier. As is the case with your daughter.

Simply that, nothing more. One doesn't have to live in Utopia to be happy in one's work!

You and I have emailed each other about my brother, who is a successful artist. Today, his work is shown all over the US and Europe, and he is in magazines, etc. Heads up a college art program also.

But it wasn't always that way.

Before going on to an art major, my parents discouraged him, and even took him to meet with an artist they knew to tell him he'd never make it in art! After college, he moved to then-developing So-Ho, and built himself a studio in an old cheese factory that kind of stank; it didn't even have a bathroom or kitchen, so he built one himself. For a while, the toilet was in a large cardboard refrigerator box until the walls were finished. He slept on a foam pad on the floor. When I went to visit him, the taxi driver wouldn't even drive down his street! I had to get out a block away.

To make ends meet, since there was no market for his art at first, he and many other artists helped build out SoHo, learned how to do construction stuff, built cabinets, etc. He leased part of his loft out to art collectors and started an art storage business. He hung pictures for rich people who couldn't be bothered. He painted a mural in Billy Joel's bathroom.

But he was stubborn, had a goal, did what he had to do, and stuck with what he loved doing. The result is pretty rewarding, isn't it?

Not Utopian!

Bennett, you know my own story. What would have been your advice to me at nearly 40 if I told you I wanted to leave my law practice and become a composer? Or to my brother, whose artwork as a teenager was certainly not advanced, even for his age? What would he and I have missed out on if we'd listened to the doubters?

"Practical" is good. Not always the best choice, though.

Now, I will say this: you have to be somewhat of a maniac, driven, even obsessed, to succeed in some fields. So you have to know yourself. And you have to be able to weather the storms.
Well...in my case it was "Do something that is interesting and you don't hate, if at all possible". And yes, Les....if you had been my patient when you were 40, I'd have attenpted to explore the "whys" as to why you are choosing to leave your field...and after exploring all the rationales, and reasons, and inner dynamics...I'd have still said, "you're nuts, how can you leave a lucrative career in law to pursue an artistic one"??????

And of course...you'd have been correct, and I would have been entrenched in the material world that I still live in.

Yeah...I am totally OK with what I do. I've done a lot of things in my professional career and I have always managed to end up doing something that I found intrinsically interesting, rewarding, and reasonably well paying.

HOWEVER......

that being said....No matter how much I may "tolerate it"... I will hearken back to Steve (11tops') comment above...WORK is a 4-letter word, and I look forward with great enthusiasm to the day I can retire from professional practice (maybe 7 years if I'm lucky, knock on wood) and pursue my dream of "just doing where the day takes me".....enjoying my family, going on adventures with my wife...and just plain old "hanging out" which I am a total expert at (but which doesn't pay anything).

I am NOT, and NEVER WILL BE, a person who will ever enjoy "having" to be at a certain place, at a certain time, doing a certain thing. So...while I think the narrator was being overly idealistic, he does have a point somewhere in there.....in other words, if you enjoy what you do, they say you will never have to work a day in your life. However, cognitive dissonance being a very powerful element that influences our thought process, I will counter by saying...once you are doing something you love...to make a living....you begin to recognize that you "have to be at a certain place, at a certain time, doing a certain thing" to be able to earn the bucks...and that concept always serves to diminish the enjoyment associated with the task and make it more "work-like".

After all Les...as a licensed counselor at law....a doctor of jurisprudence...and a musical technician and professional sound engineer....aren't there days that you just want to relax and NOT do a day's work...even though you are ostensibly doing what you enjoy?

Kudos to your brother....question...does he still totally enjoy the process?? Or, does he sometimes experience torment and chaos? After all, I've always thought that the best artists (whatever the medium) were often prompted to perform due to their own personal demons.