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greg dahlen

Alumnus, academy of achievement

TEDCRED 50+

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Do you like your job? What do you like or dislike about it?

Maria was cutting my hair, and I asked if she liked her job. She said very much, quite exciting to cut hair. Asked what she liked about it, she said she enjoys working with the different textures of hair, fine, medium, and thick. Unexpected and interesting answer.

I hope she was being straight with me, if she actually dislikes cutting hair possibly she would not want to say it to someone whose hair she is now cutting?

Also interested in how you feel about jobs you've had in the past.

If you don't like your job, is there anything you could do to make it better?

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    Dec 17 2013: JOB? ... do you like your JOB? ... the word alone in this question brings out a feeling of something I hate. A JOB is something one HAS to do but dislikes doing. Yes, that is a personal opinion and you are free to feel otherwise. I have not had a job for near twenty years, my income, however, has risen and may continue to well past the assumed norm of retirement age. I love the old saying, "it's only WORK (or a JOB) if you would rather be doing something else."

    I am happy to say that I do something I love and apparently others love what I do. Perfect symbiosis! I cannot suggest too strongly to ask yourself this question: "what, if I could chose, would I be doing right now"? ... think carefully and answer honestly ... then figure out how to make a living doing it ... that opens a door for many good and bad jokes ... take the closest off ramp from that road and get serious ... do what you love, love what you do and others will feel the passion and support it in ways you cannot imagine!

    My path is creating art ... choose yours ... love life!
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      Dec 18 2013: that's excellent, David, I hope it will encourage any who might read you. Why is it that we have to say what you are saying, this strategy of asking yourself what you would do if you could choose, shouldn't it be easily evident to everybody? Prior to 20 years ago, were you less happy? How did you change, or what prompted the change?

      Apparently you love copper? What is it about the material? You must love pennies?

      What are some of aspects of being a professional artist that people who have never been one might not know about?
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        Dec 18 2013: I was not doing things prior to 20 years ago that I hated, but they did not sustain my creative curiosity like my copper work has done for me. Funny, is it not, I have returned nearly to the Bronze Age and feel right at home. Of course I have the option to dip toes into the 21st Century at will ... best of all worlds!

        Yes I love pennies, real ones that is. Have a stash but doubt it is a wise way to hold value. Periodically they are shifted to other metals ... too weighty, matey.

        As a professional artist (can hardly believe that title is applied to me) is the greatest thing I can imagine. I work at home (often do not leave the property for days) do something I love and people give me money. Can you find a problem here? I love where I live, how I live, who I live with (one great wife and one fine dog) and accolades are adequate to massage my ego regularly.

        You have to have a controlled ego to do this. Meaning this; if you don't have some level of egoistic thinking, you probably won't be comfortable taking your work to town, shows, clients, etc. If you apply too much ego inappropriately, you will be sorely disappointed. The beauty of art is that we do not agree on what art pleased our own sensibilities. I cannot, therefore, expect everybody to love my work. It is up to me to find those who do ... The best part is that I get to do what I love and fortunately, many, or at least enough, also like what I do. Good questions and I hope to encourage others to consider this life path. Find what you love, live where you love, love who you are with and life is very, very sweet!

        Don't do it because it is easy, it is not easy, just fun and fulfilling. Thanks for the questions.
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          Dec 19 2013: Your work is beautiful.
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          Dec 19 2013: you're a good writer, David. Do you keep any journal of your experiences, perhaps you could write a book, or published essays, or a newspaper column?

          Those are good facets I hadn't thought of, a lot of artists probably do work at home. I wonder why some jobs require that you go to a central location to work, for example, if you made clothing you might go in most cases to a factory to make it, but in theory you could have the equipment at home to make it? Maybe it just takes too much equipment and most can't afford to buy the equipment?

          Yes, you would have to have belief in your work to sell it. Can you say how an artist looks at his or her work and judges it worthy, that's kind of hard to put into words, isn't it? It's a beauty of form, or a novelty in the idea? You do both originals and commissioneds? Can you say where you get the ideas for originals?

          If it's not easy, what would you say are the difficulties?
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          Dec 19 2013: David,
          I share your sentiments regarding "job", and I call my life adventures "work/play". I do what I love and/or love what I'm doing. I have, for 60+ years, figured out how to make a living by genuinely having a life and loving it all.

          In my humble perception and experience, there is ALWAYS something interesting, intriguing, beautiful, enjoyable, etc., about an action/interaction, and there is certainly ALWAYS the opportunity to learn something new:>)

          I agree with Fritzie.....your work is very lovely:>)
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        Dec 19 2013: You pose intriguing questions and they are fun to "TRY" to answer. Any artist who believes he or she HAS the answer may not be completely in touch with my reality. I cannot condemn others sense of reality - I cannot know what that is. I can tell you that copper has a level of permanence which appeals to my intention to "leave something good when you go" - something which will last. An epiphany moment in Rome many years ago, sitting in front of the Pantheon one beautiful evening, I noted that the durability of that amazing building ... over 2,000 years old. My carpentry expertise back in California at that moment will not be discoverable in a few hundred years, perhaps a lot less.

        Walkng the streets of Rome the next day, passing buildings with copper features of many types, it was clear that most were old to ancient. It was a feeling I could not shake ... that's the short version ... the rest may come out in that book you suggest.

        I would love to write and many have suggested it. I believe that there is a vast difference between a decent blog posting, a witty email and writing a book. The same level of passion I put into my copper is required to do justice in a book project. It is a heavy project and it would compete with copper. So far, copper is winning.

        Inspiration comes from every source imaginable. From walking down the street to catching a glimpse of something on the Telly. One of my firm beliefs is that the main difference between the artist and everybody else is that the artist sees things differently. Could expand, but my word allotment is waning.

        I never "KNOW" what others will like and as arrogant as it may sound, I don't care. I have to create for me, then find those who see it similarly. At first going to shows was like standing in a crowd having left your clothing at home. Not everyone will like what they see. Some did ... Whew!!!

        Getting exposure is the hard part. Passion breeds luck. Luck favors the prepared. Follow ur heart!
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          Dec 20 2013: Is it fair to say that the reason copper will last is because it is "hard," David? But is there something alienating about hardness and metal materials, as a general rule we don't like hard and cold, we like soft and warm, don't we? But I may be misperceiving?
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      Dec 19 2013: You might like the acronym I've heard:
      JOB - Just Over Broke.
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        Dec 19 2013: hahahaha.... interesting wisecrack!
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        Dec 19 2013: seems a little bitter, Arkady, I want to get rich, not just over broke.
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          Dec 19 2013: The acronym comes from people like David who believe that one can never get rich working for others.

          By the way, why would you want to get rich? What's in it? There is a multitude of conversations on TED talking about how "rich" have to "pay their share", social justice, equality, etc. Do you want to be despised, frowned upon, taxed, and feel guilty that you are "more fortunate" than others? (Just kidding.)

          But seriously, just getting rich does not sound like a worthy goal. I think, one has better chances getting rich pursuing other goals like David.
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        Dec 20 2013: I suppose when someone is rich, it means they are doing whatever they are doing with excellence. So I want to do excellently? But I don't think you can put out high quality if you don't have high quality coming in, or am I wrong?

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