Last month’s article “Lessons From The Animals” drew the most
feedback to date. Clearly, you liked it and I am glad. It was on
the long side, but I thought it merited it in order to tell the
whole story. The happy news is that, after nine days with me, I
was able to release the young bird into Nature, and he flew away.
I am told by someone who knows about these things that there is a
good chance I might see him/her again. They never forget their
One question people e-mail me about quite often is career change.
Given that I once had more jobs than there were years to fit them
in, I suppose I qualify as an advisor of sorts on this subject!
Anyway, the second article deals with this topic of dropping the
job you hate for something more worthy of you.
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What is reality? Each of us has our personal read on it. Yet, nobody knows for certain. Each of us is locked into our own paradigm, and can only see things that way. The same world in which we all live, is actually totally different, depending upon who is viewing it. It is perhaps for this reason, more than any other, that the world abounds with conflict. As an example, take the different worldviews possessed by myself and my cat Hermes. Each of us lives in the same world. We see almost exactly the same things. However, our interpretations could not be more different. I watch the TV and watch politicians discussing the latest world crisis. My cat views the same pictures and sees something different. He probably does recognize the figures as people. Nevertheless, the noises they are making, and the things they are doing, have no importance to him. In fact, in his world, there is NO world crisis. When we both look out of the window and see a cat, the significance we each infer is totally different again. The roles are now reversed. To me, it is a cat and nothing more. To Hermes, there is a tremendous significance in its actions that I cannot fathom. There are levels of meaning present that I am blind to. He watches intently and his body becomes tense. In my world, there is nothing much going on, but in his there is. People can be like this too. A person born a Muslim, a Jew, a Christian or a Hindu experiences a totally different world to the others. Even in mundane secular affairs, the same applies. One person’s fundamental assumptions often do not permit them to see things that are clearly present to another. This point was very plain during my former career in Investment Banking. During this period, I functioned as a Technical Analyst: a market forecaster who uses price charts of past market action to predict the future market direction. Clearly, I had spent many years involved deeply in this subject, and had developed an expertise for it. Moreover, many unbiased people found that my work was effective. However, throughout my career, I always found myself in conflict with the economists. These people function as the “establishment” within the banking industry, and like to think of themselves as the intelligentsia. In their world, the markets are random, and have been proven so by “infallible” mathematical procedures decades ago. The argument is closed. Consequently, anything I was doing that assumed price relationships between one day and the next was utter nonsense; to be completely frowned at. The fact I was doing it marked me as a person of clearly inferior intelligence, and not to be taken seriously. In one instance, I even tried to demonstrate some of my methods to one self-pronounced Finance professor. Amazingly, he literally could not see what I was showing him on screen. To me, a bond or stock price chart is a meaningful connected entity, whose past relates to its future. There is a continuity present between the dots. To him, all he saw was a series of daily points, with no connection whatsoever. Hence, he could not comprehend what I was trying to explain. As a result of different presuppositions to mine, he lived in a totally different world. Not only did he not believe in the possibility of what I was doing, in HIS world, it literally IS impossible! Especially in the matter of human affairs, reality is a relative matter; relative to the individual mind viewing it. You would do well to always remember this whenever you are in conflict with another, or when you see the terrible conflicts taking place in the world. For example, what is a definition of sanity? If there is one, it is determined by the habitual behavior of the majority of the population. Certainly, the insane do not regard themselves as such. The very definition of sanity depends upon the prevailing culture. The Biblical prophets, with their ranting visions of doom, might be locked in an asylum today. Yet, in their time, their words were preserved and regarded as holy scripture. Even good or evil cannot be absolutely defined. It is necessary to make final reference to a deity who is beyond question; in truth, a sort of philosophical “cop-out”. Of course, the only question that then remains is whether that deity exists at all! That question alone, and the specific nature of the deity and its pronouncements, is itself a source of massive world conflict and yet another source of “reality relativity”. At present, the political powers of the West would like to picture the present world conflict as a battle between Good and Evil; themselves being “good” of course. Only the extremely naive would ever take such claims seriously, especially when the “good” forces engage in destructive actions every bit as deplorable as those who oppose them. Human motivation is far more complex to ever be reconciled into such simplistic dualistic formulas as Good and Evil. In every conflict that ever existed, the “evil” ones also considered themselves to be the force of Good, waged against the force of Evil. Each side is trapped in its own paradigm, its own “rightness”, incapable of true mutual understanding. Each is bent upon the destruction of the other, thereby proving that whilst our toys have become much more sophisticated, our minds clearly have not. The innate Buddha/Christ Consciousness that underlies our being perceives all things as they really are. That is why esoteric teachings constantly exhort us to get in touch with the only reality there is: the Reality within. However, the interaction between our senses and our intellect, create delusive layers that obscure that reality. They are delusive because they have not developed under the guidance of higher consciousness. Rather, these layers – which we call out life experience – have developed largely without discrimination as a result of cultural and environmental influences. The human brain is remarkably efficient at extrapolating meaning from a very small amount of data input. Doubtless, this was useful at a time when detecting even the slightest movement in the long grass could mean the difference between life and death. However, in the present day, this ability leads us to rapidly draw and store conclusions that are often erroneous. The intellect continually creates mental shortcuts, without truly checking out all the facts available. Even when we do, we must inevitably filter them through the framework of our previous mental constructions and prejudices. In that sense, we are all slaves to our own intellects and the forces that shaped them. We are locked into a box of our own creation. That is why esoteric teachings emphasize that Enlightenment is a process of going beyond the intellect and contacting the higher consciousness once more. One key to improving relations, both on a personal and international level, may be to go beyond mere mutual understanding. We need to realize that we cannot totally understand the other person’s world, because we have never truly experienced it. In realizing this, and in nevertheless being willing to celebrate the differences without necessarily understanding them, we can a long way to eliminating the blocks to human progress that seem so impassable. The best way to approach our personal view of reality is to consider it a useful model, and nothing more. Let us not take ourselves too seriously, or get too attached to what we regard as “facts”. When we approach another being, we are approaching a wholly different world. It may bear a resemblance to our own, depending upon the extent of common education and cultural heritage we share (or lack) in common. However, it can never ever be completely the same. “Reality” does not lend itself to revelation through intellect. After all, many of the great conflicts of history have been battles between world views. So let us be less willing to believe all the hype and simplifications that we are continually presented with, and which appeal to our intellect’s taste for simplified rules to believe. Rather , let us seek to be ever
less judgmental and more willing to work upon revealing the
ultimate Reality; that which is within.
Copyright Asoka Selvarajah 2002. All Rights Reserved.
Resources That Can Help:
“The 7 Golden Secrets To Knowing Your Higher Self” by Asoka Selvarajah
Lovers of Joseph Campbell’s teachings will be enthralled with
the “Mythos” DVD set, 10 wonderful hours of lectures delivered by
the man himself, and covering an awesome sweep of world religion
and mythology. You won’t get the frills present on “The Power Of
Myth” TV series. But you will get Campbell at his very best,
discussing subjects as varied as Buddhism and Hinduism in great
depth, as well covering Carl Jung’s philosophy and Native
Campbell is particularly lively and animated in his manner during
these lectures, and never ceases to fascinate. Each section is
preceded with explanatory narrative from actress Susan Sarandon,
who helps to unite the lectures into a cohesive whole. As
ever with this world expert in Myth, we get to explore the common
themes uniting all spiritual traditions the world over: hero
trials, life cycles of death and rebirth, enlightenment in the
ancient traditions, love, sacrifice and more.
This DVD set is 10 hours of Joseph Campbell presented on three
discs. It is highly recommended to everyone interested in Myth,
Spirituality and Religion.
Many people these days hate their jobs and wish they were doing
something else. Given that each of us has tremendous genius
potential within, why do we fritter it away on an activity that
consumes most of our life and yet brings little satisfaction? Why
do we live only for the weekend, saying “Thank God it’s Friday”?
Why is it medical fact that the highest incidence of fatal heart
attacks occur at 9:00 on Monday morning?
The answer may partly lie in the fact that we are too casual
about our initial career choices. A large number of people find
themselves at the end of the formal education process, with
little idea of what to do next. They have to make some rapid
career choices, without thinking hard enough about what the big
picture of life will be. Motivated by immediate economic
necessity, they choose careers they are unsuited for. Once the
mistake is made, it is then persisted in. Change seems
increasingly impossible to accomplish; simply too much effort or
However, the truth is that if you are in a job you dislike – even
hate – then you are selling yourself down the river. Nobody else
is doing it for you. It results in low self-esteem, high fatigue
and stress levels, chronic under-achievement of your true
potential, inexplicable illnesses, and usually a low level of
income, both financially and in terms of job satisfaction.
What is the other possibility? You find something you really love
to do and pursue it with all your heart. This is what the great
geniuses of history were basically doing. Imagine Leonardo da
Vinci thinking to himself “God! It’s Monday morning. Do I have
to?…..” and then rolling over in bed. People like this
possessed high levels of energy, and could carry on day
and night, because they were passionate about what they were
doing. Their job was their passion and their life. That is how it
is meant to be. It can be the same for you. You need to start by
believing that YOU are here for something; that there is
something that YOU can do better than anyone else.
Misguided people sometimes say of a wealthy person, “Why does
he/she keep working? After all, he/she’s made more money than
anyone could spend in a lifetime!” This betrays a basic
misunderstanding of the nature of work. The reason such a person
continues working is NOT because of sheer greed, but because it
is the work itself that matters. It is their passion and their
joy. The money is merely a means of keeping score. Such a person
would still do this work even if there was little money in it.
Change IS possible for you. If you think “I’m too old”, “I don’t
have enough experience” or whatever, the only thing holding you
back is your own mental interpretation of the situation. The
world has all the opportunities you could possibly want, no
matter what your starting point. However bad your situation might
be, someone else has had it much worse and then gone on to great
If you lack the education you need, you can get it, and you do
not need to go back to school either. There are seminars, tape
courses, and excellent books. There are trainers in almost every
subject. A huge number of training resources are now free.
The reason that all these excellent resources and opportunities
do not get used is because the mindset of the person stuck in a
work rut shuts down. It fails to see the unlimited possibilities.
Children are amazingly spontaneous and capable of seeing all the
available possibilities. However, adults have shut down this
capability to a large extent; especially if they have allowed
themselves to remain in situations they hate for extended
periods. They engage in a form of learned helplessness: “It
doesn’t matter what I do. Nothing will change. I may as well stay
here and put up with it. Better the devil you know……”
If you hate your job, why don’t you start right now to make the
change you desire? If you hate it badly enough, why not quit? The
answer is invariably…. FEAR. This word forms an acronym: F -
False E – Expectations A – Appearing R – Real. In other words,
fear is creating false dreadful visions of the future, making
them appear real in the mind, and thereby acting upon them as if
they were real and inevitable. However, with a little mental
effort, you could just as easily envisage a situation where
opportunities came to you when you take a risk and make a change.
Life is about risk. The only people not subject to risk are
already dead. Which do you think is REALLY more risky in the
long-term – staying in a job you dislike and where you are
unappreciated, or taking the time to find something more suited
to your abilities and life goals? There are no jobs for life
anymore. You can spend years in a job you hate, and one day come
in to find yourself fired. If you do not like the job, you are
unlikely to be doing your best. So, guess who is most likely to
get the chop when the time comes?…..
If your work situation is chronically bad, consider quitting
immediately and then looking for a new role. Often, the universe
needs you to create a vacuum in order to fill it. In one job I
loathed, I lingered on for over a year in an ever-worsening
situation. I did have several job interviews but nothing came of
them. The negativity of my work situation doubtless carried over
into my attitude at interviews. Finally, there was a management
change at work. I was called in 48 hours later by the new Head,
and promptly made redundant. Within a week I had interviewed with
a new firm that rapidly offered me a job. I was working within
six weeks of the redundancy on twice my former salary, with a
supportive manager and a much better future.
It really can work this way. Note how this new job appeared
immediately AFTER I hit the street. A year of more of prior job
searching took me nowhere.
If you are not ready to simply quit and look for something new,
then at least begin to prepare for the event. Begin saving money
and getting your affairs in order. There is nothing like money in
the bank – six months of salary for example – to boost your
confidence and enable you to make that needed change all the
sooner. It gives you FAR more options.
If simply quitting on a job you hate is not your style, or if
your dependents and bills prohibit it, then make the change in
gradual increments. The first step is to actually get a clear
idea of what you actually DO want to do. It may have nothing to
do with the industry you are currently in. The good news is that
in this modern age, most people can expect to have several
different careers in their lives. Hence, a complete change of
direction is no longer inconceivable. Getting clear on what you
really love to do is where it begins.
What if you have no experience for the role you want to get into?
One solution is to try a sideways move. Get into the type of
company offering the role you want, but do so by getting in
through offering the same job you are currently doing. Then
gradually make the move to the role you desire by getting the
additional training you need over time.
Of course, an excellent way to achieve work satisfaction is to
start your own business. The internet is one excellent way to do
this, and to begin it in your spare time. Create an information
product on a subject you know and love, and offer it to others
online. The entire world is now your marketplace for the cost of
a phone line and a simple website. Alternatively, find an offline
market that is clearly popular and copy those people who are
already successful in it. There is no existing product or service
that cannot be improved in some way. Do this with a
product/service that is already a hit, and YOU have a sure
In summary, the only thing holding you back is mental attitude -
resistance to change and fear of uncertainty – and a touch of
misplaced complacency. If you are willing to make some time to
think and plan your future, then there is a real chance you will
actually have one that you will be happy with. In this world of
tremendous opportunity, the only person holding you down in a
position you hate is YOU. Begin to take some time every day to
think about what you would really like to do, and make a plan to
achieve it. You are here for something to be passionate about.
The sooner you find it, the happier you will be, and the more you
can give to the rest of humanity.
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