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Making a living or making a life?

Americans are educated in a system that advertises the American dream, as a person working hard and making money for his family. A succesfull family is portrayed as being that of a couple working their butts off to buy what they most desire. Do you feel that in our american dream, we have been thaught to make a living more than we have been thaught to make a life? We can work long hours and make more money , but have we learned to enjoy precious moments, our family, and overall our life?

ok another scenario,What would you rather choose, if you have both love for your family, but are equally passionate for your work. It happens to very few people. The people that it does happen to though, are the people who might be passionate about a certain thing or subject doesn't necessarilly mean that their focus is only money. Besides having their families as motivation, these people also have a genuine love for the work they do, and are motivated to either make a difference in their field, and sometimes can't manage to balance both family and work. I guess that it all comes down to every individual, like you said only I can answer myself. Thanks for the answers.

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    Nov 1 2013: I totally agree with you - school encourage us to earn a living - become a wage slave. Kids are not allowed to be creative - in fact, schools usually kick it out of young kids under the pretext that they were "not doing what they were told".

    “Making money isn't hard in itself... What's hard is to earn it doing something worth devoting one's life to.”
    ― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind - This is the second time I've quoted this on TED today!
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      Nov 1 2013: Thanks! I saw that:
      “Making money isn't hard in itself... What's hard is to earn it doing something worth devoting one's life to.”
      ― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind
      Good now you gave me something to read :)
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    Nov 1 2013: Hi Giovanni,
    Whatever we have been taught, as thinking, feeling, intelligent humans, we have choices, and often the best way to achieve what we think we want, is with balance.

    You are the ONLY one who can answer your question for yourself....
    "We can work long hours and make more money, but have we learned to enjoy precious moments, our family and overall our life?"

    I know what is important to me Giovanni......have you decided what is important to you?

    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give..."
    (Winston Churchill)
  • Nov 1 2013: my two pints......

    There is no making a living
    There is no making a life
    There is only Living Life

    and it is Life that lives You, Not You living Life.
    In the end, there really IS no You....only Life....and you are THAT..

    dig deep! Live well.
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      Nov 3 2013: I really like your comment, it is completely new to me.
      do you have any book to suggest? or something?!
      • Nov 4 2013: Good morning from California Niloofar. I've thought about your question.....my only recommendation is to Equire deeply and patiently into the nature of Yourself. Move beyond the mere concepts and ideas that you have formulated by way of memories and past experiences. You will find out who you truly are and then you will realize that you are the student in life and you are the teacher in life.....as is everyone else. KNOW THYSELF
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    Oct 31 2013: The strongest influence on your values in this area probably was your family rather than the schools you attended. Only you can answer for yourself whether you were raised to focus single-mindedly on making money to buy lots of stuff. I am guessing almost none of us were raised that way.

    I think many people, regardless of where they were raised, embrace a value of working hard and providing for their families but also to love their families and to value both family and community.

    I think the caricature you propose probably describes only a very few people anywhere, but people often assume it of others. Maintaining negative caricatures of others might be a way for some people to feel better about themselves. Very competitive people and those in overtly competitive situations, like those running for office, might lean particularly toward over-simplified and not very accurate characterizations of others.

    You may take interest in Martin Seligman's talk about happiness. He presents his research as to the factors that are most closely connected to haapiness, research based on samples taken entirely in the United States, I believe. Accumulation of lots of stuff is not one of the factors that is central in people's satisfaction with their lives.
  • Nov 2 2013: Choose not to choose, do the best you can at both. Do not work all the time. Spend time with your family and friends. Enjoy both parts of life, learn from both parts of life, and balance your time such that you make room for both parts of your life. Finding your passion in life can give you confidence, a sense of purpose, and self-esteem. These attributes can help mold your personality into someone that exudes positive energy and has the potential at any time to share this positive energy with others who may be struggling. Being part of a loving and nurturing family teaches you the importance of your contribution to the success of the family, because at some point your realize that a family shares in the success and sorrows of all members, and your actions, reactions, or indifference towards other family members, all impact the whole family.

    I think the American work ethic you point out stems from the reflections of older Americans that look back on life and realize they could have done more with their life to help themselves have more influence, to help their families have a better life, or help more people improve the quality of their own lives. It helps if you think of your life as a finite amount of time, and use a quality metric the nightly answer to a few questions: Did I do all I can do to improve myself, help my family, and help other people that I could do today? Did I enjoy my life today? Did I do my best work and give my best effort today? Did I positively influence the lives of other people today? What can I do tomorrow to improve the answers to these questions?

    Getting to the end of a life an realizing you could have done more is a frustrating place to be and creates a negative synergy that can lead to a downward spiral into depression. Sadly, materialism has crept into the culture to the point where happiness is equated to possessions. That is usually a young perspective that most lose as they mature.

    Purpose, not possessions leads to happiness.
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      Nov 2 2013: Beautifully expressed Robert:>)

      As a volunteer in a terminal care facility, where I often sat with people who were dying, I observed that many times, the difficulty with death was caused from regrets regarding what they could have done....might have done....etc.

      Those who were more content with the dying process, were usually more content with the life they had lived....being aware of what they did to improve themselves, members of the family, all other people, and our world.
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    Nov 4 2013: I believe one our biggest problems is we are not taught to think for ourselves. We are taught that someone else is right, someone else is the teacher, professor, doctor, lawyer, preacher, etc. instead of learning to do those things for themselves wherever possible. Someone else to grow their food, find their energy, build their house, build their transportation, give them pills instead of medicine, give them cash instead of value, make rules and laws for them instead of figuring out the best way to treat their fellow man, pay for services with cash instead of trading services.

    The list goes on and on... we are born slaves and that's just the way they like us. Obedient slaves, work and give them back most of our money so we will work some more!

    Are you tired of being a slave? Buy some land, build a home, dig a well, put a satellite dish on top along with your solar panels. Build a solar vehicle and spend the rest of your time making love and playing with your kids and teach them to do the same.
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    Nov 3 2013: Do you feel that in our American dream, we have been taught to make a living more than we have been taught to make a life?

    Yep. We have gone way too far into individualism. This old American dream idea is 110% materialism. It's old and most people are truly "unhappy" with what the old idea calls for. It's not just the home, car, mate, and comfort that is wanted or many are satisfied with anymore. Everyone simply wants to be "wealthy" it seems. It's impossible.

    Your second paragraph is a problem many many Americans share.
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    Nov 1 2013: The whole concept of "earning a living" has been around for less than 200 years; and humans survived for millennia before then. I agree with you, this concept needs revisiting if we are to "make a life". In order to do so, I reckon we need to re-waken our sense of the sacred, identify our "points of enoughness", and develop a more co-operative (rather than ultra-competitive) sense of living together.
    {As a European, in my 3 visits to the USA over 30 years I have always got the (perhaps biased) impression that american culture is pathologically obsessed with money as the measure of all things - and now it's coming to Europe too}
  • Nov 1 2013: We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give - Winston Churchill
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    Nov 1 2013: I think first you should plan for making your life better, and then start from making a living.