Do not pull, do not push
And fortune will return of its own accord
And the Way will naturally come…
If you are still, you will get it,
If you are active, you will loose it.
Besides reminding me of the value of friendship, this Year of Nothing has provided me with a razor-sharp sense of self-knowledge.
Never before have I been clearer on what I want to do and what I want to be. Never before have I felt that I Get It as I do now.
While it’s true that practicing formal Taoist meditation has helped me a lot in gaining this newfound clarity of values, the process has been simpler than that.
Not having a clear objective, nothing to achieve for a while, liberated a ton of psychic energy, and refocused it inwards.
Now I know that while I’m alive and awake, I want to do something that delivers genuine value to others — not just to myself.
I want to contribute, however humbly, to change the world for the better.
An obvious question I’ve been pondering all this time is how to align my quest for meaning with the necessity of making a living out of it.
In the beginning, I was quite pessimistic about this. I was still working on the assumption that running a business was a fundamentally selfish thing.
I’ve come to the conclusion that this prejudice was in large part due to my training in Economics.
Traditional economic theory is based on the notion that people seek their narrow self interest, and that this is perfectly fine — the market’s Invisible Hand is supposed to ensure that selfish individual behavior translates into broad social gains.
But after some time I managed to break free from that prejudice.
The idea that business can be motivated by forces beyond profit is, of course, one of the hottest topics in the media today.
This Year of Nothing gave me the time to absorb the huge amounts of information available on- and offline on the subject, and to meet lots of people who have embraced the concept.
But most importantly, because I haven’t been involved with any particular business for a while, I was able to open my mind and truly ponder the validity of this idea against my previous conceptions.
The business guidelines
Here are a few rough guidelines I’ll be following for my upcoming income-generating initiatives. Of course, I’ll be updating you on their evolution through this blog:
Affiliate information products
Since I started sharing my insights and tips about creating a lifestyle based on meaning and personal development through this blog, I’ve had some tremendously encouraging feedback from readers about the value they receive from the project.
This feedback, and the steady increase in traffic that the blog has enjoyed since its launch, made me conclude that there is room for a little “store” section where readers will be able to buy information products that I endorse.
I will only endorse products that I have found to be extremely useful and empowering during this already 1-year old journey. Eventually, I will also offer information products created by yours truly.
A store section for the blog is the most obvious way I can think of for creating a small business based on meaning and real value.
Throughout this Year of Nothing I have re-connected with my passion for art.
I have had plenty of time to listen to music again. That was one of the things I missed the most in my life, and I got it back.
Through my travels, I have attended all kinds of concerts, shows and music festivals. I have been stopped in my tracks by dozens of awesome street musicians in subways and alleys, and been able to take the time to properly contemplate their performances.
I even ended up one night hanging out with Farruquito (one of Spain’s most acclaimed Flamenco dancers) and his friends at El Taxidermista bar in Barcelona until almost 6 am the next day.
I don’t know what got me more drunk: the alcohol, or the insanely powerful energy emanating from these people when they’re offstage, partying, singing and dancing for themselves.
Check out some of Farruquito’s incredible moves here:
I’ve been in many museums and exhibitions. I’ve attended cinema festivals and rented tons of old movies I hadn’t had the time to watch.
This Year of Nothing allowed me to truly appreciate art as the ultimate human activity aligned with higher purpose. Art can do so much good to the world at so many levels that it’s hard to think about a more valuable human activity.
So I have come to the conclusion that I want to launch a little project related to the art business. I still don’t have much of a clue about the form it will take, but I’ll keep you posted on its progress…
And to those of you who know about my frustrated musician background: yes, I have seriously started thinking about playing an instrument again. But that’s a bit of a longer term project — I will still probably do Nothing about it until mid next year
During this Year of Nothing I have also re-connected with Economics, and I have revived the excitement that I felt for the discipline back in college.
I definitely think I can use my skills as an economist for dedicating some of my time to contribute to projects aligned with a higher purpose.
Before this Year of Nothing, whenever I read or heard someone say that quietness, idleness and meditation can be a big emotional amplifier, I used to discard it as New Age BS.
Not anymore. Somehow, a Year of Nothing hugely expanded my sensitivity towards poverty, the environment, and the myriad sustainability problems we must all deal with. It’s like I’ve developed a visceral repulsion towards them that goes beyond the rational understanding of their causes and nature. And I’ve decided that I want to deal with them indeed.
Again, this is all work in progress… stay tuned for updates in this area too.
So what do you think? Does my plan make sense to you? What are your plans for 2010 (resolution time is approaching!) in terms of aligning your business or career with a sense of meaning and higher purpose?