Doing, Making, Working, Empowering
by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.
Along about the age of two years, you begin to learn control of yourself and environment. You learn that what you do has an impact on your environment, objects and other people. You get a growing need to feel autonomous, to do things rather than having them done for you, to make things rather than simply receive them. And later in your childhood years, you start to want to make something to give to others or do something for others. That is the natural course of human development.
If you grow up reasonably psychologically healthy, that need grows with you. It is why you need to work and you need that work to have some kind of impact, result or usefulness. It is why work plays such a large role in life for most people. And it is why work is about a great deal more than money. Work is part and parcel of leading an active life rather than a passive existence.
Moreover, work is insufficient to satisfy all your needs for power in and control of your life. You require a variety of skills and competencies to feel safe, secure, productive, able, and valuable. Including social skills.
There's a branch of psychology called evolutionary psychology that adopts the
Darwinian idea of survival of the most adaptable. Using that psychology's ideas, you might say that the drive to make and do -- to manipulate objects and people in the environment -- is part of adapting, part of your survival skills.
If you understand that surviving and thriving depends upon your acquired skills, you can consciously develop the skills best suited to your idea of how you want to live. Once you start choosing what you create (make) and do, you will begin to feel in charge of your life, empowered.
If you are employed but unsatisfied or if you are employed but feel under constant threat of losing that employment, stop accepting that "it's just the way it is." Use your resources to adapt to the workplace you would prefer to be in. And if you are in a field that is shrinking and where your kind of work is being phased out, start acting now. Do what is necessary, for example:
•Learn the necessary work skills or go back to school for a degree (or second or third degree.)
•Dare to take a backward step in job status or pay in order to switch to a field where you can make or do whatever helps you to thrive in the long run.
•Moonlight at what you really like to do until you get enough experience to get a good job in it.
•Keep your day job, but start a business in what you like to do that will eventually give you enough money to do it full time.
And, while you are working on your other making and doing skills, remember that very few people survive and thrive alone. Build your social skills and, as a result, you will enlarge your social and work-related networks. Part of your adaptation to your world is the ability to exchange help with others.
In order to be secure in your world, you must have the power to create and act (make and do.) Only you can take that power.