How to be of value part 1

Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value. – Albert Einstein, LIFE magazine, 1955

Albert Einstein was interviewed by LIFE magazine in 1955 at his home a few months prior to his death. The interviewer was named William Miller; his son Pat Miller and Professor William Hermanns of San Jose State in California were also present. The quote was given in response to Pat’s desire for guidance.

A natural follow-up question would have been, “how to be of value?” A question that needs answering. Especially in today’s world where yesterday’s life trajectories no longer guarantee a roof over your head. I will answer this question through a series of blog posts over time.

Today’s focus lies with how to be of value even when you’re in between jobs or can’t work a normal job. Lots of men struggle to find their worth in the absence of a job or career trajectory that sets them up for success; for some that means not ‘playing the game’ at all, because the ‘game’ feels rigged, but I digress.

I think every human being wants to feel valued. If only because without it it’s hard to feel like living is worthwhile. A lot of us get caught up in the idea that we’re only of value when we have a job that pays; worse, we conflate our job title with who we are. That’s a recipe for disaster in a world where automation is going to eat our jobs.

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. Never lose a holy curiosity. Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value. He is considered successful in our day who gets more out of life than he puts in. But a man of value will give more than he receives. – Albert Einstein, LIFE magazine, 1955

Note that Einstein didn’t mention having a job; not even in the full quote, as you can see. We should be rethinking the way we attach ourselves to whatever we do that brings money in. I believe that Universal Basic Income is inevitable, and we must prepare ourselves accordingly. We should shift our attention to whatever our community needs and let go of the labels we attach ourselves to.

The easiest way to add value to your community is to focus on unburdening its members. The family unit is part of that community, I would start there. Cooking, cleaning, managing household affairs, are all jobs you can do that provide tremendous value to the household you’re likely sharing. Jobs that we in the past associated with women staying home while the husband worked for a paycheck.

Cooking dinner is a job that requires focused attention, effort, and skill. Nothing about that is either masculine or feminine. If you’re finding yourself without a job and feeling low, look towards unburdening your friends and family, and ask to be thanked for it from time to time. Being appreciated for what we do is of paramount importance. Shift your focus, give it time, and notice what changes.

Created on July 23, 2021
Published on July 23, 2021