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Being Yourself

Working on living your life your way.

I use the term “work”, because it’s more understood, but really it’s “me time” — doing what I love. Writing, learning, improving, and creating. Whether it’s creating music, websites, books, or companies, it’s all just creating.

The word “workaholic” would apply, except it’s play, not work. It’s completely intrinsic — just following my own interests. I’ve found what I love, and do it as much as possible.

Derek Sivers

I’ve said before that The Future of Work goes beyond just working and integrates both learning and playing into it as well. And furthermore, that the outcome of this integrative process, the transformative effect of it, is that we are finally able to just be ourselves (tying into my mantra of Be Real Creative).

With this in mind, it’s evident that The Future of Work as a descriptor for this change and transformation is an inadequate one. Calling it The Future of Living would probably be closer to the mark, as it incorporates playing, learning, and working as a collective, cyclic process of life.

Yet even The Future of Living seems inadequate to me, as it implies something not here yet, even though this new way of living is emerging right now and being practiced by many people on the edges of our society as we speak.

For some reason I’m reminded of my previous site subtitle of Life in Design. It was supposed to be a play on words, relating to my graphic and web design work in the past but it seems to have taken on a life of its own, representing now how I’m striving to design my own authentic life. Yet not design in the conventional sense, where you plan it all out ahead of time, but rather design in a natural sense (similar to permaculture) whereby your life’s design unfolds on its own by observing its patterns and seeing where it wants to naturally grow and go.

It’s funny when I think about this all. I’ve continually been shifting the articulation of my identity over the years (ie systems > identity > social innovation > creativity > play) to try to better encapsulate and “package” who I am. Yet I realize now I’ve done this continual shifting because I’ve been focusing on the wrong thing. I’ve been focusing on the how of my work rather than the why of it all.

In effect, the why of my life’s work is striving to help myself and others to just be themselves within a world that wants and even expects them to be someone else. Systems, identity, social innovation, creativity, and play are all just the ongoing methods and means I’m continually learning of how we can create environments that allow us to just be ourselves.

Again I laugh at the absurdity of the statement that my life’s work is just striving to be myself. And yet it seems almost poignant when one questions what “life’s work” means? I initially thought it was something that took you your entire life to achieve but perhaps it goes beyond this. What if your life’s work is the work of living an authentic life in itself?

Again to many, this might sound stupidly simple to achieve…until they realize how much of their life and identity is defined by others rather than themselves. Therefore being “nobody-but-yourself” is actually quite epically challenging, requiring a lot of courageous leadership and creative willpower to “follow yourself” and just be your authentic self.

To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.

E.E. Cummings

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