How to turn lemons into lemonade, part III

July 19, 2011 by Joshua
in Awareness, Blog, Tips

Here’s a view I find helpful, relevant to how Johnny Depp made useful something others would lament. Whether Depp used it or not, I don’t know.

I don’t view things in life — jobs like telemarketing; tangible things like dogs, cats, and trees; intangible things like ideas; … whatever — as good, bad, positive, or negative. They just are what they are — jobs, dogs, cats, etc.

Any value they have comes from how they affect your life. If they don’t affect your life at all, they have no value. If they change your life significantly, they have significant value. Even significance only determines the quantity of the value, not its quality.

If something changes your life it changes your motivations — meaning it affects your emotions. The emotions something evokes — or to put it more actively and less reactively, the emotions you create in response to something — determine its value. If you feel calmness in relation to something, it’s a calm part of your life. It it makes you angry, it has a value of anger.

If you pass a dog on the street without noticing it, it has little or no value. If it bites you and causes pain, that dog is a painful part of your life. If it’s stray, you adopt it, and you love it, dog becomes a loving part of your life, perhaps of great magnitude.

You could say if something affects your life negatively, it has a negative value and if it affects your life positively it has a positive value. As I wrote last week, I find calling emotions positive or negative counterproductive. The same follows for the things that cause the emotions. If Depp called telemarketing bad or negative, no matter how much he disliked selling pens over the phone, he would not likely have made the job his first acting gig.

Instead of calling things or the emotions you connect with them good, bad, positive, or negative, I figure out if they’re helpful or not and, if not, how I can make them helpful or useful. Determining helpfulness or utility implies a goal. In my case, my ultimate goal is always improving my life — mainly bringing about the emotions I want that I know are based in common human interests we all share.

I suspect Johnny Depp looked at telemarketing without evaluation — not whether it was good or bad per se, but how he could use the experience to further his goals. He likely asked himself what skills he was learning and how he could combine them with his passions — performing on stage.

I bet he didn’t find telemarketing good or bad so much as he found it useful.

More tomorrow…

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