The Enjoyable Approach Rather Than The Exploited Approach

There are many ways to live life. Some people aim to follow the enjoyable approach. They are wary of being exploited by forces that may want to take away people’s joy.

Such individuals aim to encourage others to enjoy life. They also recognise that some people and institutions may try to control them, fill their heads with worry or make them feel powerless.

Different people follow this approach in different ways. Let’s explore how they may aim do this in their lives or work.

The Enjoyable Approach

Some people may have been encouraged to follow this approach early in their lives. They may have had parents, teachers or other key people who gave them the following messages.

“You can aim to do things you enjoy and encourage other people to do what they enjoy. It is important to do this in ways that help people rather than hurt people.

“You can follow this approach when learning. You can focus on the topics you find interesting and that give you positive energy. You can keep exploring these and add to your knowledge.

“You can, when appropriate, translate these into doing specific projects. You can set specific goals, apply yourself and do good work. You can then do your best to achieve positive results.”

Some people follow the enjoyable approach in their working lives. They also develop the savvy to get paid for doing what they love. They build on their strengths and do superb work that helps other people to achieve success.

Such individuals may also believe in the ethic of excellence. They may study what works and do things that are effective. They may then aim to keep developing and do their best to deliver excellence.

They may meet challenges on the journey. Providing they are doing what they believe in, however, they often develop the expertise to find solutions to challenges.

People who follow the enjoyable approach may experience both pluses and minuses on the route. These can include the following.

The Potential Pluses

They are doing what they enjoy. They get positive energy and feel alive and alert. They often have a positive attitude. They may spread this and encourage other people. They can feel enriched and appreciate life.

They build on their strengths and do satisfying work. They can develop the savvy to earn money doing what they love. They develop the inner strength to manage challenges. They may experience a sense of peace.

The Potential Minuses

They may need support to deal with systems – such as schools and work places – that treat people like numbers. They may need help to find ways to make a living doing work they love. They may not always gain riches.

The Exploited Approach

Some people may encounter individuals, institutions and forces in society that aim to exploit people. The exploited approach can take many forms.

Some schools, for example, do not encourage young people to build on their strengths. They instead train them to be economic units and compete against each other in league tables.

Some people move into jobs that are boring. Many do this out of necessity to get the basic materials for life. Some may stay in such jobs. Some may find a way to do more rewarding work and enjoy a good quality of life.

Some individuals aim to get jobs that pay the highest salary rather than the chance to do satisfying work. Sometimes this is out of necessity. Sometimes it is a conscious choice that also involves aiming to climb the corporate ladder.

Some do get promotions and do satisfying work. They may reach a point, however, where they feel stale. Whilst they may seem to be successful, they may reach an impasse. One person expressed this in the following way.

“I have what could be called a First World problem. Even though I am well paid I no longer look forward to going to work. This is affecting my health and has spilled over into my family life.

“I would like to leave but am locked in by my share options. These can be paid out in three years. I am not looking for sympathy, because in many ways I am fortunate. But I often feel numb inside.”

Some people may be exploited in another way. They may be addicted to the philosophy of ‘no pain no gain’. Sometimes this takes the form of a Faustian pact.

They may work long hours in a well-paid soul-destroying jobs in a toxic culture. They hope that one day they will be rich enough to retire and regain their soul.

An intimidating leader may exploit people by having a business model that aims to micromanage, criticise and humiliate them. They may control people but ultimately may trap themselves by shrivelling their soul.

Some people may allow authoritarian leaders to exploit them. They may listen to toxic messages given by such leaders who aim to poison people’s lives.

Some individuals may get to a point, however, where they recognise the old rule that ‘what we focus on we become’. They may then aim to do what they enjoy and help other people to live enjoyable lives. They refuse to allow others to exploit them.

Let’s return to your own life and work. Looking ahead, can you think of  specific situation where you may want to follow elements of the enjoyable approach? How can you do this in your own way?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to complete the following sentences.

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