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Excerpted from How to Find the Work You Love by Laurence Boldt. Copyright 1996 by Laurence Boldt. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Historically, vocational or career choice was available only to a relative few."

Laurence Boldt, How to Find the Work You Love, Part 2

The Work You Love: Your Natural Vocation

If our true nature is permitted to guide our life, we grow healthy, fruitful, and happy. - Abraham Maslow

In all likelihood, you picked up this book because you are interested in finding the work you love. Of course, in order to find anything, it helps to have a clear idea of what you are looking for. Throughout this book, we will refer to the work you love as your life's work. Your life's work is the work you were born to do--the most appropriate vehicle through which to express your unique talents and abilities. More than a job or career, it is your special gift to humanity. Traditionally, life's work was called vocation, a word which literally means "calling." The work you love--your calling, or life's work--is your unique and living answer to the question, What am I here to do on this earth?

While each of us must chart our own path on the road to life's work, we should recognize that there is much to learn from those who have traveled it before. Vocational choice is an issue that has occupied many of the world's great spiritual, artistic, and intellectual leaders. We can not read the writings of Aristotle, the sayings of Confucius, or the teachings of the Buddha, the Bible, Koran, or Bhagavad-Gita without sooner or later encountering a theory of vocational choice. The world's great spiritual and philosophical traditions have long recognized the central role that vocational choice plays in the total health and happiness of the individual and in the vitality and character of a culture.

It is not difficult to understand why. Perhaps nothing says more about us as individuals than what we do; certainly, nothing reveals as much about our character as why we do it; and taken together, our vocational choices determine the quality of life on this planet.

While vocational choice has long been recognized as a defining moment in the life of the individual and critical to the character of a culture, it has become, if anything, even more important in the modem world. Historically, vocational or career choice was available only to a relative few--the social, artistic, and intellectual elites in isolated urban, centers. The great mass of people lived traditional agrarian or nomadic lifestyles, where little changed from century to century. Even in the great cities of the ancient world, many people were slaves or limited by class or caste in the work they could do. For most people, then, vocational choice simply was not an issue; they would expect to do what their parents before them had done.

Early in the twenty-first century, for the first time in human history, most of the people on this planet will live not in traditional rural settings but, in modem urban ones, which offer at least the promise of a wide range of vocational options. Add to this the unprecedented size of the world's population, and we can quickly see that today, vocational choice is a critical global issue--if for no other reason than that it affects the daily lives of billions of human beings. Moreover, with more people making vocational choices than ever before, the social and environmental impact of these choices has increased dramatically. Unless we begin to factor into our career choices a sense of our responsibility to the environment and the human community, continued environmental degradation and social disintegration are inevitable.

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